Each week WCHA.com will offer an update on the former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players playing pro hockey.
Brianna Decker showed again why she is one of the best women's hockey players in the world last week.
Coming off a stretch of three games in five days while playing for Team USA in the Rivalry Series with Canada in Detroit, Decker had to fly to China to play three games in four days for the Calgary Inferno, the league leaders in the Canadian Women's Hockey League.
The former Wisconsin All-American and Patty Kazmaier Award winner scored in each game as Calgary swept the series from the Kunlun Red Star in Shenzen and wrapped up the CWHL title.
Decker had an assist in Wednesday's 2-1 series-opening victory over Red Star, two assists in Friday's 4-3 overtime victory and added a goal Saturday in a 4-3 triumph that clinched the championship. Another ex-Badger Blayre Turnbull had a goal in the Saturday victory and former Minnesota Duluth star Zoe Hickel had an assist in the series finale. Former North Dakota defenseman Halli Kryzyzaniak had an assist on Friday's game-winning goal.
Montreal finished second behind Calgary after splitting a season-ending series with Markham. Montreal won 2-1 on Saturday, but Markham came back to take a 3-2 decision on Sunday. Former Wisconsin all-American Hillary Knight had an assist for Les Canadiennes while Jenna McParland, an ex-UMD player, had an assist for Markham in the season finale.
In the other series, Toronto swept Worcester 5-1 and 4-1. Former Wisconsin forward Sarah Nurse had a goal and an assist, another ex-Badger Carolyne Prevost and former Former Ohio State star Laura Spooner also had goals and defenseman Melissa Channel, another ex-Badger, had two assists for the Fury in Saturday's game. Spooner had a goal and Prevost an assist Sunday. Jessica Convery, an ex-UMD goalie, had 24 saves for Worcester.
With one regular season game remaining, Calgary (23-4-0-1) has 47 points, four more than Montreal (22-5-0-1). Markham (13-10-3-0-1) has 30 points and the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays (13-13-2) are in fourth place with 28 points. Toronto (13-14-0) is in fifth place with 26 points while Worcester in winless and pointless in 28 games. Calgary, Montreal and Markham have all clinched playoff spots. Toronto plays Markham in the final game of the regular season.
Decker is eighth in CWHL scoring with 27 points (13 goals and 14 assists) while Spooner (15 goals, 11 assists) is in ninth place in the league's scoring derby with 26 points. Another ex-Wisconsin forwad Sarah Nurse (13 goals, 11 assists), is the league's second-leading rookie goal scorer.
Alex Rigsby of Calgary, another ex-Badger, is second among CWHL goaltenders with a 2.04 goals-against average and her .916 save percentage is also third best in the CWHL.
The Canadian Women's Hockey League has six teams in three countries – the U.S., Canada and China – and features 23 former WCHA players.
Duluth has nine former players in the CWHL and Wisconsin has eight alums in the league. Minnesota and North Dakota have two players while Ohio State and Bemidji State have one player in the league.
The race is still on for the regular season championship in the National Women's Hockey League.
Boston moved into first place Sunday with a 6-1 victory over Connecticut behind two goals and an assist by Minnesota alum Gigi Marvin. The Pride has an 11-4 record, 22 points in the standings and one game remaining. Boston hosts second place Minnesota Saturday, March 2. The Whitecaps are 10-4 with 20 points and close its first season in the NWHL Sunday, March 3, in Connecticut.
Buffalo moved into a tie with Minnesota for second place and extended its winning streak to six games with 4-1 victory over the Metropolitan Riveters. Former Ohio State stars Lisa Chesson and Julianna Iafallo had assists as the Beauts remained unbeaten at home this season. Katie Fitzgerald, the former St. Cloud State goalie, made 33 saves for the Riveters who saw former Wisconsin defenseman Courtney Burke get an assist on their lone goal.
Marvin (10 goals, six assists) is fifth in league scoring, one ahead of the Riveters' Amanda Kessel, the former Patty Kazmaier winner who starred at Minnesota and leads the league in assists with 13 (2-13-15). Buffalo's Dani Cameranesi, the ex-Minnesota all-American, who has four goals, 10 assists and 14 points.
Marvin is third in the league with most goals scored (8).and Minnesota Duluth alum Katarina Mrazova of Connecticut is among the top ten in the league with six goals scored. Minnesota's Amanda Leveille is third among NWHL goalies with a 2.44 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage.
The standings have Boston (11-4) and 22 points, two better than Buffalo (10-4) and Minnesota (10-4). Connecticut (2-10-2) and the Riveters (3-12) have six points.
There are 58 WCHA alumnae on the rosters of the two North American professional hockey leagues -- with 35 former Western Collegiate Hockey Association 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 five 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 alums playing in these two pro leagues than any other season
Here are the WCHA alumni on NWHL and CWHL team rosters as of Feb. 25:
Buffalo: Lisa Chesson, Ohio State; Jordyn Burns, Minnesota; Julianna Iafallo, Ohio State; Dani Cameranesi, Minnesota.
Connecticut: Jezssica Koiziumi, Minnesota Duluth; Michelle Lowenheilm, Minnesota Duluth; Jordan Brickner, Wisconsin; Katerina Mrazova, Minnesota Duluth; Nina Rodgers, Minnesota.
Metropolitan: Amanda Kessel, Minnesota; Courtney Burke, Wisconsin; Madison Packer, Wisconsin; Kelly Nash, Wisconsin, Erika Lawler, Wisconsin; Jenny Ryan, Wisconsin; Katie Fitzgerald, St. Cloud State; Lexi Slattery, St. Cloud State.
Boston: Gigi Marvin, Minnesota.
Minnesota: Kate Schipper, Minnesota; Lee Stecklein, Minnesota; Julie Friend, St. Cloud State; Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal, Minnesota; Hannah Brandt, Minnesota; Haylea Schmid, St. Cloud State; Lisa Martinson, St. Cloud State; Meaghan Pezon, St. Cloud State; Kalli Funk, St. Cloud State; Lauren Barnes, Minnesota State; Tanja Eischenschmid, North Dakota; Amy Menke, North Dakota; Emma Stauber, Minnesota Duluth; Katie McGovern, Minnesota Duluth; Sadie Lundquist, Bemidji State; Winny Brodt Brown, Minnesota; Amanda Leveille, Minnesota
Calgary: Brianna Decker, Wisconsin; Alex Rigsby, Wisconsin; Zoe Hickel, Minnesota Duluth; Halli Kryzyzaniak, North Dakota; Brigette Lacquette, Minnesota Duluth; Blayre Turnbull, Wisconsin.
Shenzen KRS (China) Vanke Red Star: Stephanie Anderson, Bemidji State; Jessica Wong, Minnesota Duluth; Noora Raty, Minnesota.
Markham: Megan Bozek, Minnesota; Jenna McParland, Minnesota Duluth; Jocelyne LaRocque, Minnesota Duluth.
Montreal: Associate head coach Caroline Ouellette (Minnesota Duluth); Emmanuelle Blais, Minnesota Duluth; Catherine Daost, Minnesota Duluth; Hilary Knight, Wisconsin.
Toronto: Natalie Spooner, Ohio State; Sarah Nurse, Wisconsin; Melissa Channell, Wisconsin; Carolyne Prevost, Wisconsin; Jordan Hampton, North Dakota.
Worcester: Jessica Convery, Minnesota Duluth; Dani Crossman, Minnesota Duluth; Lauren Williams, Wisconsin.