Each week WCHA.com will offer an update on the former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players playing pro hockey.
Gigi Marvin admitted she had her return to Minnesota circled on the calendar when the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) schedule came out. Things couldn't have worked out better for the Boston Pride forward from Warroad, Minn.
Marvin had a memorable homecoming over the weekend in St. Paul. She collected five points on three goals and two assists, leading the Pride to 5-1 and 7-2 victories over the previously unbeaten Minnesota Whitecaps.
Marvin, a standout at the University of Minnesota and a gold medal winner with the U.S. Olympic team last February, had a pair of goals Saturday, scored the first goal Sunday and added a pair of assists in front of a sellout crowd at TRIA Arena that included friends and family. For her efforts, Marvin was named the league's player of the week.
"That was pretty special," Marvin told the NWHL website. "I had a blast being back at home in the State of Hockey and competing in front of so many people I know so well and love. "
A complete story on Marvin's player of the week award is here: https://www.nwhl.zone/news_article/show/973611
Boston's two victories moved them into sole possession of second place in the NWHL. Minnesota, an expansion team, got goals from former Minnesota star Kate Schipper and Emma Stauber, who played at Minnesota Duluth, in the series finale, while UMD forward Kate McGovern had an assist. The Whitecaps' Amanda Leveille, a former Minnesota goalie, made 21 saves Saturday and had five stops while allowing three goals Sunday. Julie Friend, a former St. Cloud State goalie, made 13 saves for the Whitecaps in the series finale.
In the other NWHL game over the weekend, Connecticut blanked the Metropolitan Riveters, 4-0. Former UMD star Katerina Mrázová and ex-Minnesota forward Nina Rodgers each had a goal and an assist, while former Wisconsin player Jordan Brickner had an assist for the Whale. Former St. Cloud State goalie Katie Fitzgerald had 14 stops for the Riveters.
The expansion Minnesota Whitecaps are the leaders in the NWHL with a 6-2 record and 12 points; Boston has a 5-2 record and has 10 points, four more than Buffalo (3-3). Connecticut (2-4-0-1) has five points and the Riveters (2-7) have four points.
Marvin (seven goals, two assists) and McGovern (four goals and five assists) are third in the league in scoring with nine points apiece. Ex-Gopher Amanda Kessel of the Riveters and former Minnesota and Olympic teammate Lee Stecklein of the Whitecaps are second in the league in assists with six.
The Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) announced the first 11 players who will compete in the league's all-star game next month and seven are former Western Collegiate Hockey Association (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: http://www.thecwhl.com/cwhl-announces-first-round-of-all-star-players
Last week in the CWHL, Montréal swept Worcester 6-1 and 7-0 as Knight had an assist in the series finale for Les Canadiennes.
Markham split the other series with league-leading Calgary. Jenna McParland had a goal in Markham's 3-2 shootout victory in the series opener. Zoe Hickel, another former UMD player, had a goal and Rigsby made 27 saves in the overtime series opener. Calgary took a 5-3 decision over the Thunder on Sunday as Hickel had a goal and an assist, Turnbull added a goal and Brianna Decker, a former Patty Kazmaier Award winner at Wisconsin, had an assist. Rigsby, again, had 27 saves. She leads CWHL goaltenders with a 6-1-0-1 record, while her 1.61 goals-against average and .951 save percentage are also among the league's best.
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.
Calgary (10-1-0-1) leads the CWHL with 21 points, three more than Montréal (9-3). Markham (7-4-2) is in third place with 16 points, one more than the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays (7-5-1). Toronto (4-7) is in fifth place with eight points, while Worcester is winless and pointless in 13 games.
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 alumni 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.