Each week WCHA.com will offer an update on the former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players playing pro hockey.
Dani Cameranesi, has always been a big-game player and had the opportunity to play on a big stage during her Western Collegiate Hockey Association career at Minnesota and last year at the Winter Games while playing for Team USA.
It was hardly a surprise then that Cameranesi scored two goals Saturday to lead her Buffalo Beauts squad to a 5-0 lead over Boston. Ex-Ohio State defenseman Lisa Chesson added an assist for the Beauts who moved within two points of first place by blanking the Pride. League-leading Boston and Minnesota play each other Saturday night in Boston.
In the other NWHL game last weekend, the Metropolitan Riveters got four assists from Amanda Kessel, who won the Patty Kazmaier Award while at Minnesota and beat Connecticut 6-3. Madison Packer had a goal and two assists and Packer's former Wisconsin teammate Courtney Burke added an assist for the Riveters. Former Minnesota Duluth forward Katerina Mrazova had two assists and Nina Rodgers, a former Minnesota player, had a goal for the Whale.
Minnesota have identical 7-3 records and 14 points, two points ahead of Buffalo (6-4) Connecticut (2-5-2) and the Riveters (3-8) have six points. The top teams all have six games remaining in the regular season.
Kessel (1-11-12) is third in the league in scoring and leads the league in assists with 11, three more than Cameranesi, who stands fifth in the NWHL scoring derby with three goals, eight assists and 11 points. Boston's Gigi Marvin, a Minnesota alum, and Mrazova are fourth in the league with six goals scored.
The NWHL announced its rosters for this month's all-star game in Nashville and 11 WCHA alumnae are honorees. Here is a story on the all-star selections:
There are 56 WCHA alumnae on the 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 National Women's Hockey League, including six on the Minnesota Whitecaps, while St. Cloud State has seven alums 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 one.
The Whitecaps feature 17 former WCHA players while the Riveters have eight ex-WCHA players.
The Canadian Women's Hockey League has six teams in three countries – the U.S., Canada and China – and features 22 former WCHA players.
Wisconsin and Duluth each have eight former players in the CWHL. Minnesota and North Dakota have two players while Ohio State and Bemidji State have one player in the league.
In the CWHL last weekend, in the first action since the Christmas break, league-leading Calgary, Montreal scored sweep and Worcester stayed winless, losing to Shenzhen.
Calgary beat Markham 4-3 in overtime as ex-Wisconsin player Blayre Turnbull had a goal, former Duluth players Brigette Lacquette and Zoe Hickel chipped in assists and former Badger goalie Alex Rigsby made 37 saves. Rigsby stopped 30 in backstopping the Inferno's 5-4 victory over Markham Sunday. Turnbull had a goal and an assist and Lacquette added two helpers.
Montreal beat Toronto 3-1 and 6-3. Former Badger Carolyne Prevost had Toronto's lone goal Saturday and had an assist Sunday. Ex-Badger Sarah Nurse, the top-scoring rookie in the league, had a goal and former Ohio State standout Natalie Spooner and Prevost each had assists for the Fury while former Wisconsin all-American Hilary Knight had a goal for Les Canadiennes, who have won seven straight games.
Noora Raty, the former Minnesota all-American goalie, made 15 saves to lead Shenzhen to a 3-0 victory over Worcester Saturday and had 28 stops Sunday in a 7-2 victory. Stephanie Anderson, a former Bemidji State forward, had a goal in the series finale and Duluth alum Jessica Wong, who had a goal Saturday, registered an assist Sunday for the Rays.
Calgary (14-2-0-1) is atop the standings with 29 points, one more than Montreal (14-3-0-0). Markham (9-6-3-0) is in third place with 21 points, six more than the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays (7-8-1). Toronto (7-8-0) is in fifth place with 14 points while Worcester in winless and pointless in 17 games.
Nurse (10 goals, 9 assists) and Spooner (10 goals, 9 assists) are in fifth place in the league's scoring derby with 19 points, with 10 goals (third most in the league). Former Wisconsin all-American Brianna Decker (8 goals, 9 assists, 17 points) is tenth in overall points.
Calgary's Rigsby, Decker's teammate, leads the CWHL goaltenders with a 9-1-0-1 record, and her 1.82 goals-against average and.931 save percentage are third best in the CWHL.
The CWHL also announced the final rosters for the league's all-star game and 11 are former Western Collegiate Hockey Associations stars – Montreal's Knight, Markham's Jocelyne Larocque of Minnesota Duluth, Calgary's Decker and Rigsby of Wisconsin, Toronto's Spooner and Nurse, Worcester's Lauren Williams of Wisconsin, Shenzhen's Wong and Raty and Calgary's Zoe Hickel, a UMD alum, and Blayre Turnbull of Wisconsin. The stories on all-stars, many of whom are decorated Olympic athletes are here:
There are more WCHA alums playing in these two pro leagues than any other season
Here are the WCHA alumni on NWHL and CWHL team rosters as of Jan. 5:
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.