Each week WCHA.com will offer an update on the former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players playing pro hockey.
Hilary Knight was one of the stars at the Four Nations Cup in Saskatoon, Sask. earlier in the month, as she scored two goals in the gold medal game against Canada to lead the United States to a 5-2 victory and their fourth-straight tournament championship.
Knight, a dominant player in her four years at Wisconsin, built on her momentum in the international tournament last week by scoring three goals and five points in leading Les Canadiennes to a pair of big victories and a series sweep in the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL).
Knight had a pair of goals in a 5-0 victory over Worcester on Friday and added a goal and an assist to lead her Montréal-based team to a 9-0 victory that vaulted her club into a second-place tie.
Knight recorded a school-record 262 points in her four years with the Badgers, including a program-best 143 goals. She currently is among the individual scoring leaders in the CWHL with five goals – tied with ex-Badger teammate Brianna Decker of Calgary for third among league snipers.
In other CWHL play last week, the Markham Thunder played three games in Shenzhen, China and won two of three against the Rays in a rematch of last year's Clarkson Cup playoff final. The Rays took the first game of the series, 3-2 in overtime as former Minnesota Duluth star Jessica Wong scored two goals, including the game-winner. The Thunder won Friday's game by the same overtime score. Megan Bozek, the former Minnesota defenseman, had an assist on the overtime winner, while Wong had two assists and former Minnesota goalie Noora Räty had 24 saves. Markham, the Clarkson Cup champs, won the rubber match of the series, 3-1, despite 20 stops by Räty.
Calgary stayed in the hunt for first place by beating Toronto twice. Blayre Turnbull, who played at Wisconsin, had two goals, Decker added a goal and an assist and Brigette Lacquette, a former Minnesota Duluth defenseman, had two assists to lead the Inferno to a 7-4 victory in the series opener. Sarah Nurse, another former Badger, and ex-Ohio State standout Natalie Spooner each had a goal and an assist for Toronto. Calgary completed the sweep with a 3-2 victory as Turnbull, Lacquette and former North Dakota defenseman Halli Krzyzaniak each had an assist apiece. Nurse chipped in with another goal in the loss.
The CWHL has six teams in three countries – the U.S., Canada and China – and features 22 former Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) players.
Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth each have eight former players in the CWHL. Minnesota and North Dakota have two players apiece, while Ohio State and Bemidji State have one player each in the league.
The Rays (7-5-1) remain in first place in the CWHL with 15 points. Calgary (7-1) and Montreal (7-1) are second with 14 points. Markham (5-3-1) is in fourth place with 11 points, five more than Toronto (3-6). Worcester is winless and pointless in 11 games. The National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) resumed play last weekend after a two-week Four Nations Cup break.
Ex-Minnesota star Gigi Marvin had two goals to lead Boston to a 4-1 victory over Buffalo on Saturday, but the Beauts earned a series split with a 5-2 victory Sunday. Former Ohio State stars Julianna Iafallo and Lisa Chesson each had a point – Iafallo with a goal and Chesson with an assist – for Buffalo.
In the other NWHL game, former UMD teammates Katerina Mrázová and Michelle Löwenhielm combined on the Mrázová's game-winning goal as Connecticut edged the Metropolitan Riveters, 2-1. Katie Fitzgerald had 18 saves for the Riveters.
The expansion Minnesota Whitecaps are the surprise leaders in the NWHL with a 6-0 record and 12 points; Boston has a 3-2 record and is tied for second with Buffalo (3-3) with six points. The Riveters are 1-7 and tied with Connecticut (1-3) with two points.
Ex-UMD player Katie McGovern is second in the league with four goals and ex-Minnesota all-American Amanda Kessel of the Riveters is tied for second with six assists. Former Gopher Amanda Leveille of the Whitecaps is 6-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage, all among the top goaltending marks.
There are 56 WCHA alumnae on the current 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 has 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 alumnae on NWHL and CWHL team rosters as of Nov. 1:
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): Assistant coach Caroline Ouellette (Minnesota Duluth); 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 (3): Jessica Convery, Minnesota Duluth; Demi Crossman, Minnesota Duluth; Lauren Williams, Wisconsin.