Compiled by D3hockey.com Staff
The country's top two scorers on defense, a monumental sweep in the NESCAC, and a pivotal ECAC West series are all represented on this week's D3hockey.com Women's National Team of the Week. As a reminder, this series will continue through conference championship weekend.
Adrian's Sydney Smith racks up the frequent flier miles as the top two spots on the national blue line points list are represented this week.
How it works: Each week, Sports Information Directors from across the country submit week-long performances they've deemed worthy of being placed among the best in the nation in the week that was. For award purposes, a normal week will run from Monday to Sunday, so any games played on deadline day (deadline for nominations is 8pm Monday) are incorporated into the following week's award cycle. We also comb conference weekly releases, our own weekly recaps, and pick the brains of our staff to see who else may be a worthwhile candidate.
Once we get the school and league nominations, we select among top performances by position. It's an elite group. Three forwards, two defensemen, one goaltender. Nothing else. To get here, means you're one of best performers on the ice at your position in the week that was.
To be clear, we aren't just looking at raw numbers. We're also looking to incorporate players that contributed in the pivotal moments, season defining wins, and stunning upsets that make our brand of hockey so exciting.
Don't see a player here? Think they would have made the cut? Encourage your school's Sports Information Director to nominate deserving players each week. From now, through the week following conference championship games, SIDs can submit their nominations from 10pm each Saturday night until 8pm on Mondays utilizing their PrestoSports login at http://d3football.com/nominations/award-status. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, weekly releases from our member conferences are also accepted.
Now that we've explained the process, let's get to it. Here is your D3hockey.com National Team of the Week:
Sam Walther, Hamilton, Junior
In the past week, Walther has broken her own school record with her sixth shutout of the season, extending her school record to 14 career shutouts. On Friday, she became the first non-Plattsburgh goalie to blank Middlebury since 2012-13 NCAA final, in the process helping the Continentals to their first win ever at Middlebury on Friday. On Saturday, the Panthers came in waves, outshooting Hamilton 36-9, but Walther stopped 35 while her offense struck twice in limited opportunities as the Continentals became the first team to sweep a weekend series against Middlebury in the history of NESCAC women's hockey. Hamilton hopped into this week's D3hockey.com Women's Top 10 at No. 10.
Erin Brand, Plattsburgh, Senior
Erin Brand notched three points on two goals and one assist as top-ranked Plattsburgh State swept a two-game weekend series at SUNY Cortland. All three of Brand's points came in Friday's 7-0 win. She scored twice in a 2:13 span during the second period before providing a third-period helper. Brand also helped anchor a Cardinal blue line that allowed no goals on 25 total shots over two games.
Sydney Smith, Adrian, Senior
Smith, the NCHA Defensive Player of the Week, racked up three goals and two assists in an NCHA sweep of St. Norbert this weekend, in a reprise of the 2016 Slaats Cup Final.
Sara Lehman, Williams, Senior
Lehman, the NESCAC Player of the Week, sprayed four goals across three games in a 1-0-2 week for the Ephs. She scored the only goal of a 1-1 tie against Then-No. 10 Amherst on Friday, then aided the Eph cause as they tied their rivals again on Saturday, 4-4. Lehman scored three times in the third period including the tying goal to wipe out a 3-0 deficit in the league stalemate. Her 12 goals lead the team this season.
Elizabeth Dohner, Utica, Sophomore
Dohner scored three of Utica’s four goals as it tied and lost to nationally ranked No. 4/5 Elmira College last weekend. She had both goals on Saturday to help the Pioneers erase a 2-0 deficit to salvage the tie. It marked the first two-goal game of her career. She followed that up with Utica’s first goal on Sunday as the Pioneers fell at Elmira. Dohner has six goals and six assists on the season.
Katie Granato, Elmira, Sophomore