WCHA In The Pros Update: January 10
By Bill Brophy for WCHA.com
Former Minnesota Duluth forward Meghan Huertas, who signed with the Whale on Jan. 3, scored her first NWHL goal – on her first shot.

Each week WCHA.com will offer an update on the former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players playing pro hockey. The website will also offer periodic stories on former WCHA players.

It is a new year, but the same old story for Caroline Ouellette.

Ouellette, a former standout at Minnesota Duluth, had four points to move into the scoring lead in the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL), and led her Montreal team to a pair of weekend victories as the CWHL resumed play after the holiday break.

Ouelette had one assist in Montreal's 2-0 victory over Boston on Saturday and had she had three assists in a 6-4 triumph over the Blades on Sunday. Ouellette continues to lead the CWHL scoring race with 27 points (a CWHL's best 13 goals and 14 assists). Toronto's Natalie Spooner, a former Ohio State star, is in seventh place with 13 points (seven goals, six assists).

In the other CWHL series last weekend, Calgary swept two games from Brampton and held its lead on first place. Former Wisconsin defenseman Meghan Mikkelson had an assist in Saturday's 4-3 victory for the Inferno, while Mikkelson and another ex-Badger, Blayre Turnbull, had assists Sunday as Calgary scored a 4-1 win. Former Minnesota Duluth players Jenna McParland and Jocelyne LaRocque had assists for Brampton in Saturday's game

The CWHL standings have Calgary (14-2-0) in the league lead with 28 points. Montreal (12-3-1) is second with 25 points. Toronto (7-6-2) is third with 17 points, while Brampton (5-9-1) has 12 points and Boston (2-13-1) has five points.

In the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) over the weekend, Buffalo edged Connecticut, 6-5. Former Minnesota standout Jordyn Burns had an assist for the winners, while Jordan Brickner, who played at Wisconsin, had an assist for the Whale. Former Minnesota Duluth forward Meghan Huertas, who signed with the Whale on Jan. 3, scored her first NWHL goal – on her first shot. For more on Huertas inking a deal with Connecticut: http://www.nwhl.zone/news_article/show/740004?referrer_id=2758656.

The game between New York and Boston was postponed by inclement weather.

Boston leads the NWHL with an 8-0-0-0 record and 16 points, while Buffalo's win moved the Beauts (4-5-1-0) into second place with nine points, one ahead of Connecticut (4-6-0-0) and New York (3-5-1-1). Boston's Brianna Decker, a former Patty Kazmaier Award winner from Wisconsin, is tied for the NWHL in goals scored with six on the season, and she is fifth in the league in scoring with 10 points (six goals and four assists). New York goalie Katie Fitzgerald, who played at St. Cloud State last season, is fourth among NWHL goalies in save percentage (.898) and goals-against average (3.17). She is second in shutouts with one.

Right before Christmas, former Wisconsin defenseman Molly Engstrom, a former U.S. Olympian, became the third player to leave the NWHL following the league's announcement that it was asking players to take a salary reduction. Here is a story on Engstrom's departure from Connecticut to play hockey in Sweden: http://www.theicegarden.com/2016/12/21/14021150/nwhl-molly-engstrom-retirement-sweden-sdhl.

Nineteen women's hockey alumni are spending the 2016-17 season playing in the CWHL while 17 former WCHA players are competing in the NWHL.

The Minnesota Whitecaps, an elite women's hockey team made up of post-collegiate players, also has 22 former WCHA players – from seven league schools – on its Minneapolis-based roster. It includes nine former Minnesota players (Rachael Bona, Hannah Brandt, Winny Brown, Katie Frischmann, Mira Jalosuo, Becky Kortum, Meghan Lorence, Chelsey Rosenthal and Kelly Seeler), four North Dakota alumni (Shelby Amsley-Benzie, Tanja Eischenschmid, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando) and four from St. Cloud State (Julie Friend, Carrie Holldorf, Meaghan Pezon and Haylea Schmid), two players from Minnesota Duluth (Jenny Potter and Emma Stauber), and one each from Bemidji State (Stephanie Anderson), Minnesota State (Alli Altmann) and Wisconsin (Alex Rigsby). Seven members of the Whitecaps were on Team USA and won a goal medal at the Four Nations Cup last month.

The Whitecaps lost to Minnesota, 5-4 last Friday in Minneapolis and beat UMD, 5-2, Saturday in Duluth. Here is a game story on the exhibition game for the Bulldogs: http://www.wcha.com/women/recaps17.php?wmndmnw1.j07. Here is the story on the Gophers' exhibition http://www.wcha.com/women/recaps17.php?wminmnw1.j06.

The Whitecaps play the Korean national team Jan. 20 in Stillwater, Minn.

Here are the ex-WCHA players currently on professional team rosters, effective Jan. 3.

NWHL (17)

Boston: Brianna Decker, Wisconsin; Meghan Duggan, Wisconsin, Gigi Marvin, Minnesota; Hillary Knight, Wisconsin; Zoe Hickel, Minnesota Duluth

Buffalo: Megan Bozek, Minnesota; Lisa Chesson, Ohio State; Anne Schleper, Minnesota; Jordyn Burns, Minnesota; Amanda Leveille, Minnesota.

Connecticut: Jordan Brickner, Wisconsin; Meghan Huertas, Minnesota Duluth.

New York: Courtney Burke, Wisconsin; Madison Packer, Wisconsin; Amanda Kessel, Minnesota; Milica McMillen, Minnesota; Katie Fitzgerald, St. Cloud State

CWHL (19)

Brampton: Laura McIntosh, Ohio State; Jenna McParland, Minnesota Duluth; Jocelyne LaRocque, Minnesota Duluth; Kaitlyn Tougas, Bemidji State

Calgary: Sarah Davis, Minnesota; Haley Irwin, Minnesota Duluth; Blayre Turnbull, Wisconsin; Brigette Lacquette, Minnesota Duluth; Meghan Mickelson, Wisconsin; Jessica Wong, Minnesota Duluth.

Montreal: Caroline Ouellette, Minnesota Duluth; Emanuelle Blais, Minnesota Duluth; Noemie Marin, Minnesota Duluth

Toronto: Carolyne Prevost, Wisconsin; Kelly Terry, Minnesota; Natalie Spooner, Ohio State; Michelle Cava, Minnesota Duluth; Danielle Gagne, Ohio State; Vanessa Spataro, St. Cloud State.