Minnesota Duluth senior forward Lara Stalder has been named the inaugural Women’s Hockey Commissioners’ Association National Division I Player of the Month, earning the historic honor for January 2017 after producing an NCAA-best 2.67 points-per-game and a plus-16 rating.
Princeton freshman goaltender Steph Neatby, who led the Tigers to a 5-0-1 record last month, which included extending the program’s unbeaten streak to 11 games (9-0-2), was named the WHCA National Division 1 Rookie of the Month for January.
Stalder ranked among the WCHA and NCAA leaders in several offensive categories last month, propelling the Bulldogs to an undefeated 5-0-1 mark and No. 2 in the national polls, the program’s highest ranking since October 2010. The 5-6 winger tied for the WCHA lead with 16 points, while she was tops nationally with eight goals and averages of 1.33 goals- and 7.83 shots-per-game. The WCHA Player of the Month for January, Stalder paced the league with an average of 1.33 assists per game and two game-winning goals.
A three-time WCHA Offensive Player of the Week in January, Stalder tallied a point in all six games and factored in each of the Bulldogs’ five game-winning goals (two goals and three assists). She opened the month with a six-point series (3g, 3a) against then-No. 2 Minnesota, netting the decisive tally in the series finale to lift UMD to its first sweep of the Gophers since Oct. 29-30, 2010. Against Bemidji State on Jan. 20, she potted a natural hat trick, including the game winner, and added an assist in the Bulldogs’ 6-1 road win. The Luzern, Switzerland native closed the month with a one-goal, three-assist weekend as Minnesota Duluth swept visiting Ohio State.
Stalder, a bronze medalist at the 2014 Winter Olympics, is currently with the Swiss National Team vying for a spot on her second Olympic team. She departs tied for third in the NCAA with an average of 1.65 points-per-game, as she has tallied 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points in 26 contests this season.
Neatby finished with the best save percentage in the nation during the month of January at .969. She made a total of 154 saves on 159 shots as she was unbeaten in the Tigers’ five games.
The Toronto native recorded two shutouts, giving her a total of three on season, by blanking Dartmouth (Jan. 6) and Quinnipiac (Jan. 31) in league contests. Additionally, in logging nearly 365 minutes in net, she finished with the nation’s best goals-against average at 0.82 GAA for the month. Three of her games in net were against ranked opponents, where she rose to challenge registering a 3-0-0 mark.
Neatby has been selected the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week four times (Dec. 6, Jan. 3, 10, 17) since she began playing on Nov. 25 and league Rookie of the Week once on Dec. 13. She recently was named both the league’s Rookie and Goaltender of the Month for January. It marked the second consecutive time she claimed the top league goaltender monthly award.
During her rookie campaign, she currently boasts an overall record of 8-2-1, along with a stellar 1.33 GAA and .953 save percentage, back-boning the Tigers to a top ten national ranking.