Each week WCHA.com will offer an update on the former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players playing pro hockey.
Jenna McParland scored 50 goals and had 116 points in her four-year career at Minnesota Duluth. She had three goals in three playoff games for Markham last spring and helped the Thunder win the Clarkson Cup championship of the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL).
So it was no surprise McParland had a four-point weekend to help propel Markham to a couple victories and within shouting distance of first place as the CWHL takes three weeks off for the holidays.
McParland had a goal, while her former UMD teammate Jocelyne Larocque had a pair of assists in the Thunder's 4-1 victory over Worcester on Friday. Jessica Convery, who also played for the Bulldogs, had 12 saves in coming off the Blades' bench and playing the third period. McParland had two goals and an assist in Markham's 6-1 victory in the series finale. She now has seven goals and 11 points on the season for the Thunder.
In the other CWHL series last weekend, league-leading Calgary split with Toronto. The Furies won the opener 4-1 as ex-Ohio State standout Natalie Spooner had a goal and an assist, and former Wisconsin star Sarah Nurse scored a goal. Calgary won the series finale 6-1 as Brianna Decker, the former Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner from Wisconsin, had a goal and an assist, and ex-UMD defenseman Brigette Lacquette added a helper.
Les Canadiennes traveled to China and won three games from the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays. Despite 23 saves by ex-Minnesota goalie Noora Räty, the Rays fell 4-1 last Wednesday. Räty had 14 saves in Montreal's 5-1 victory Friday and Les Canadiennes finished the successful trip with a 6-3 victory.
The CWHL is now idle until Jan. 5. At the Christmas break, Calgary (13-2-0-1) is atop the standings with 27 points, three more than Montréal (12-3-0-0). Markham (9-6-2-0) is in third place with 20 points, five more than the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays (7-8-1). Toronto (7-8-0) is in fifth place with 14 points, while Worcester is winless and pointless in 17 games.
Spooner is in fifth place in the CWHL scoring race with 18 points, including 10 goals (third-most in the league). Decker (8 goals, 9 assists, 17 points) is ninth in overall points, while Calgary's Zoe Hickel (UMD alumna) is tenth in the scoring derby with 15 points (four goals and 11 assists, which is fifth-best in the league).
Calgary's Alex Rigsby, a former Wisconsin star, leads CWHL goaltenders with an 8-1-0-1 record, while her 1.59 goals-against average and .935 save percentage are third-best in the league.
Last week, the CWHL announced the final rosters for the league's all-star game next month and 11 are former Western Collegiate Hockey Associations (WCHA) stars – Montréal's Hilary Knight (Wisconsin), Markham's Jocelyne Larocque (Minnesota Duluth), Calgary's Alex Rigsby (Wisconsin), Toronto's Natalie Spooner (Ohio State), Worcester's Lauren Williams (Wisconsin), Shenzhen's Jessica Wong (Minnesota Duluth) and Calgary's Blayre Turnbull (Wisconsin). The complete story on the CWHL All-Stars, many of whom are decorated Olympic athletes, is here:
The CWHL has six teams in three countries – the U.S., Canada and China – and features 22 former WCHA players.
Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth each have eight former players in the CWHL. Minnesota and North Dakota have two players each, while Ohio State and Bemidji State both have one player apiece in the league.
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 National Women's Hockey League (NWHL).
Minnesota has 11 former WCHA players competing in the NWHL, including six on the Minnesota Whitecaps, while St. Cloud State has seven alumnae in the league and Wisconsin six, five of whom play for the Metropolitan 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.
The NWHL is on break until Dec. 29. At the holiday break, the expansion Minnesota Whitecaps are co-leaders with Boston in the NWHL. Each team has a 6-2 record and 12 points, four more than Buffalo (4-3). Connecticut (2-4-0-1) has five points and the Riveters (2-8) have four points.
Boston's Gigi Marvin, a Minnesota alumna, and UMD alumna Katarina Mrázová lead the league with six goals scored, while former Gophers star Amanda Kessel is tied for the lead in assists with seven. Marvin (6-3-9) is fourth in the scoring derby.
Like the CWHL, the NWHL announced its rosters for next month's all-star game in Nashville and 11 WCHA alumnae are honorees.
Here is a story on the all-star selections: https://www.nwhl.zone/news_article/show/974266
One of the all-stars, Hannah Brandt of the Minnesota Whitecaps and a former Minnesota all-American, used part of her holiday break to skate with the Minnesota Wild last week. It was all part of the National Hockey League team's celebration of Girls Hockey Weekend, which also included current WCHA players participating in youth hockey clinics. Brandt was the second former Gophers' all-American to skate with the Wild. Last year, recent U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Natalie Darwitz also practiced with the team to commemorate Girls Hockey Weekend.
The story of Brandt's time with the Wild is here: https://www.twincities.com/2018/12/14/wild-give-hannah-brandt-chance-of-a-lifetime/
The NWHL announced that it will hold its player draft Dec. 19-20 on Twitter. The story is here: https://www.nwhl.zone/news_article/show/976732
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 as of Dec. 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): 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.
Shenzhen (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.