Each week WCHA.com will offer an update on the former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players playing pro hockey.
Brianna Decker has always been a prolific offensive player. Nothing has changed in the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL).
Decker, a gold medalist with Team USA at the Winter Olympics in February and a former all-American at Wisconsin in her Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) days, had a four-point weekend to lead Calgary to a pair of one-sided victories over Worcester and into a tie for first place in the CWHL. She had an assist in the Inferno's 5-0, series-opening victory and added a goal and an assist in a 9-0 triumph Sunday.
Decker, the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner as college hockey's top player in 2012, holds the Badgers' longest scoring streak at 32 games (February 11, 2011 to January 6, 2012). During the streak she had 77 points (33 goals, 44 assists). In her first year in pro hockey, Decker scored the first hat trick in the history of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) in 2015 with the Boston Pride.
Brianna is currently tied for second in scoring in the CWHL with seven points (four goals, three assists). Her Calgary teammate, Zoe Hickel, a former Minnesota Duluth standout, also has seven points (with a league-leading seven assists) and Blayre Turnbull, who had a goal in the nine-goal win which was the biggest in team history, is 10th in league scoring. The former Badger has two goals and six points.
In other CWHL play last weekend, Montréal stayed tied for the league lead with Calgary with a pair of shutout wins over Toronto – 1-0 and 7-0. Hilary Knight, Decker's former Wisconsin teammate, had two assists in the series finale.
Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays split two games with Markham, winning 3-2 behind 27 saves by former Minnesota all-American goalie Noora Räty. Ex-UMD standout Jenna McParland from the Markham Thunder played in her 75th regular season game and scored a goal. In the series finale, former Minnesota defenseman Megan Bozek assisted on the game's lone goal and the Thunder won 1-0 despite Räty's 34 stops.
The CWHL has six teams in three countries – the U.S., Canada and China – and features 21 former WCHA players.
Wisconsin has eight former players in the CWHL, while UMD has seven. Minnesota and North Dakota each have two players in the league, while Ohio State and Bemidji State have one alumna each in the league.
The CWHL standings have Calgary (5-1) and Montréal (5-1) in first place with 10 points. Markham (3-3), Toronto (3-4) and Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays (3-4) are bunched with six points and Worcester is winless and pointless in six games.
The Minnesota Whitecaps continue to be the talk of the NWHL.
The Whitecaps stayed unbeaten with a pair of one-goal victories over Buffalo before sellout crowds in St. Paul, Minn. Ex-Minnesota Duluth forward Katie McGovern had a goal and an assist in Saturday's 3-2 victory. Former Minnesota standout Kate Schipper had a goal for the streaking expansion team and former Gopher Amanda Leveille made 35 saves for the Whitecaps. Ex-Ohio State defenseman Lisa Chesson had an assist for the Beauts.
The Whitecaps ran their winning streak to six Sunday with a 2-1 decision. Former Olympian and Minnesota star Dani Cameranesi was the Buffalo player to beat Leveille, who made 34 saves. Cameranesi scored on a penalty shot, but goals by Schipper and the game-winner from Amy Menke, the ex-North Dakota forward, in the third period kept the Whitecaps in first place heading into the break for the Four Nations Tournament.
In the other NWHL game last weekend, former Minnesota and Olympic player Amanda Kessel had three assists to help the Metropolitan Riveters to a 3-2 victory over Boston. Madison Packer, another former Badger, had an assist for the Riveters. Katie Fitzgerald, a St. Cloud State alumna, made 18 saves in the winning net.
With the NWHL idle until Nov. 17, the expansion Whitecaps are in first place with a 6-0 record and 12 points; Buffalo and Boston are 2-2 with four points each, while the Riveters are 1-5 with two points and Connecticut is 0-3 and without a point.
McGovern leads the league in goals with four, ex-Gopher and Olympic star Lee Stecklein of Minnesota leads in assists with seven. Leveille is 6-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and .947 save percentage, all among the top goaltending marks.
There are 55 WCHA alumnae on the opening rosters of the two North American professional hockey leagues -- with 34 former WCHA stars in the five-team NWHL.
Minnesota has 11 former WCHA players competing in the NWHL, including six on the Whitecaps, while St. Cloud State has seven alumnae in the league and Wisconsin six, five of whom play for the Riveters. There are four former UMD players in the NWHL while North Dakota and Ohio State have two players apiece and Minnesota State one.
The Whitecaps feature 17 former WCHA players while the Riveters have eight ex-WCHA players.
There are more WCHA alumnae playing in these two pro leagues than any other season
Here are the WCHA alumni on NWHL and CWHL team rosters:
Boston (1): Gigi Marvin, Minnesota.
Buffalo (4): Jordyn Burns, Minnesota; Dani Cameranesi, Minnesota; Lisa Chesson, Ohio State; Julianna Iafallo, Ohio State.
Connecticut (4): Jordan Brickner, Wisconsin; Michelle Löwenhielm, Minnesota Duluth; Katerina Mrázová, Minnesota Duluth; Nina Rodgers, Minnesota.
Metropolitan (8): Courtney Burke, Wisconsin; Katie Fitzgerald, St. Cloud State; Amanda Kessel, Minnesota; Erika Lawler, Wisconsin; Kelly Nash, Wisconsin; Madison Packer, Wisconsin; Jenny Ryan, Wisconsin; Lexi Slattery, St. Cloud State.
Minnesota (17): Lauren Barnes, Minnesota State; Hannah Brandt, Minnesota; Winny Brodt Brown, Minnesota; Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal, Minnesota; Tanja Eischenschmid, North Dakota; Julie Friend, St. Cloud State; Kalli Funk, St. Cloud State; Amanda Leveille, Minnesota; Sadie Lundquist, Bemidji State; Lisa Martinson, St. Cloud State; Katie McGovern, Minnesota Duluth; Amy Menke, North Dakota; Meaghan Pezon, St. Cloud State; Kate Schipper, Minnesota; Haylea Schmid, St. Cloud State; Emma Stauber, Minnesota Duluth; Lee Stecklein, Minnesota.
Calgary (6): Coached by Shannon Miller (Minnesota Duluth); Brianna Decker, Wisconsin; Zoe Hickel, Minnesota Duluth; Halli Krzyzaniak, North Dakota; Brigette Lacquette, Minnesota Duluth; Alex Rigsby, Wisconsin; Blayre Turnbull, Wisconsin.
Montréal (2): Catherine Daoust, Minnesota Duluth; Hilary Knight, Wisconsin.
Markham (3): Megan Bozek, Minnesota; Jocelyne Larocque, Minnesota Duluth; Jenna McParland, Minnesota Duluth.
Shenzen (China) KRS Vanke Rays (3): Stephanie Anderson, Bemidji State; Noora Räty, Minnesota; Jessica Wong, Minnesota Duluth.
Toronto (5): Mellissa Channell, Wisconsin; Jordan Hampton, North Dakota; Sarah Nurse, Wisconsin; Carolyne Prevost, Wisconsin; Natalie Spooner, Ohio State.
Worcester (2): Jessica Convery, Minnesota Duluth; Lauren Williams, Wisconsin.