Brittany Francis was named the WCHA’s Offensive Player of the Week, It is Francis’ first career honor and the team’s 12th weekly award this season.
Francis, a senior right winger from Thunder Bay, Ont., had a goal and four assists last weekend as the Gophers swept Minnesota State Mankato 4-2 and 4-1.
On Friday, Francis set up teammate Emily West’s tying power-play goal at 5:34 of the second period. It made the score 2-2.
On Saturday, Francis tied a career high when she scored one goal and had three assists,. She was named the first star of the game. Francis scored a goal at 13:39 in the first period and proceeded to hold the first assist on each of the Gophers’ next three goals, including two power-play set ups and the game-winner.
Francis is third on Minnesota in scoring with 25 points (8 g, 17 a). Of her 25 points this season, 22 have come against conference opponents.
The Gophers play at No. 5 Minnesota Duluth this weekend in a pivotal conference match up. Minnesota ranks first in the conference, while second-place UMD will look to close the gap. Both games are at 7:07 p.m. at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC).
WCHA Player of the Week Honors this season earned by Gophers:
Chelsey Jones (Oct. 7 vs. Syracuse)
Sarah Erickson (Oct. 14 at Ohio State)
Sarah Erickson (Jan. 12 vs. Ohio State)
Noora Räty (Oct. 21 vs. Minnesota Duluth)
Anne Schleper (Nov. 18 at Minnesota State)
Noora Räty (Dec. 2 vs Clarkson)
Noora Räty (Dec. 9 at Harvard)
Noora Räty (Jan. 27 vs North Dakota)
Noora Räty (Oct. 28 vs. St. Cloud State)
Megan Bozek (Nov. 25 vs. Bemidji State)
Megan Bozek (Dec. 16 at North Dakota)
The other award winners this week:
Defensive Player of the Week: Tara Gray, jr., D, Minnesota Duluth
A product of Toronto, Ont., Gray scored two goals and added two assists for four points in the series against the Sioux, including the first three-point performance of her collegiate career last Sunday.
Gray dished an assist on a goal that tied the game at 2-2 in the second period in last Saturday’s 4-3 overtime comeback win for the Bulldogs. She was also a +1.
On Sunday, Gray had a hand in three of Minnesota Duluth’s last four goals in a 5-0 shutout victory over UND. She netted her first goal at 15:34 of the second period to push UMD to a 2-0 lead, before assisting on a power-play goal at 19:43 of the second period, a blast from Gray that was redirected in front of the net by teammate Laura Fridfinnson. Gray then scored a PPG of her own with less than 4:00 remaining in the third, giving her the first two-goal game of her career.
Besides her points, Gray was +3 and helped UMD grab it’s fourth shutout of the season.
Among three other nominated for this award was Gophers goalie Alyssa Grogan.
Rookie of the Week: Brianna Decker, fr., F, Wisconsin
The freshman from Dousman, Wis., had a five-point series and her first collegiate hat trick as the Badgers split at Ohio State last weekend.
Decker had a hand in both of Wisconsin’s power-play goals with a goal and an assist last Friday night in a 5-4 loss.
On Saturday, Decker scored all of Wisconsin’s goals, including two in the third period, as the Badgers skated to a 3-2 victory over the host Buckeyes to take sole possession of third place in the league standings.
Decker fired 15 shots on goal in the series, including 11 in the victory.
In 19 games played for the Badgers this season, Decker ranks second on the Wisconsin team in both points (21) and goals (12).
Among five others nominated for this award was Gophers forward Becky Kortum.