WCHA In The Pros Update: January 16
By Bill Brophy for WCHA.com
Just a few days after being named to the all-star game, Katie Fitzgerald completed a memorable week by making 29 saves and recording her second shutout of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) season Saturday.

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.

Just a few days after being named to the all-star game, Katie Fitzgerald completed a memorable week by making 29 saves and recording her second shutout of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) season Saturday.

The former St. Cloud State goaltender backstopped the New York Riveters' 3-0 victory over Buffalo. Courtney Burke, a former Wisconsin defenseman, had an assist in the Riveters' victory, but it was Fitzgerald who was the top star. She is now tied for second in the league in shutouts, ranks third among NWHL goalies in save percentage (.912) and is fourth in goals-against average (2.74). In the other NWHL series last weekend, Boston stayed unbeaten with a 4-0 victory over Connecticut. Former Wisconsin star Hilary Knight had a goal and her former Badger teammate Brianna Decker had an assist for the NWHL league leaders. Zoe Hickel, who played at Minnesota Duluth, also had an assist.

Ten alumnae from WCHA schools will play in the NWHL All-Star Game in Pittsburgh Feb.12. The all-stars are former Minnesota stars Megan Bozek, Gigi Marvin and Amanda Kessel, who will be captain of one of the teams, Hickel; Fitzgerald and former Wisconsin standouts Burke, Decker, Meghan Duggan, Knight and Madison Packer. Another former Wisconsin skater, Sis Paulsen, an assistant coach with the New York Riveters, will coach one of the teams. A full story is here:


Boston leads the NWHL with a 9-0-0-0 record and 18 points, while New York's win moved the Riveters (4-5-0-1) into second place with 10 points, one ahead of Buffalo (4-6-0-0-1). Connecticut (4-7-0-0) is in fourth place with eight points. Decker, a former Patty Kazmaier Award winner with the Badgers, is tied for the NWHL lead with six goals on the season, and she is fourth in scoring with 11 points (also five assists).

In the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) last weekend, league-leading Calgary split a key series with second-place Montréal and maintained its hold on first place.

Former Wisconsin standouts Meaghan Mikkelson and Blayre Turnbull each posted an assist in Calgary's 5-4 victory Saturday. Former Minnesota Duluth defenseman Brigette Lacquette also had an assist in the Inferno victory, while ex-UMD stars Caroline Ouellette and Noemie Marin each had a goal for Montréal. Ouellette also had an assist Sunday as Montréal captured a 4-1 victory, while Mikkelson and former Minnesota star Sarah Davis assisted on Calgary's only goal in the series finale.

In the other CWHL series last weekend, Brampton swept Toronto, winning 4-3 Saturday when former UMD defenseman Jocelyne Larocque had an assist; and, scoring a 2-0 victory Sunday as another UMD alum, Jenna McParland, had a helper. Natalie Spooner, who starred at Ohio State, had three goals for Toronto in the series opener.

Ouellette continues to lead the CWHL scoring race with 30 points (a CWHL-best 14 goals and 16 assists). Spooner is in sixth place with 17 points (10 goals, six assists).

Seven former WCHA players – Mikkelson and Haley Irwin, a former UMD star, of Calgary; Larocque of Brampton; Spooner, Kelly Terry, a former Minnesota standout; and Michela Cava, a UMD alum, of Toronto and Montréal's Ouellette – have been named to the CWHL All-Star game. The game will be played Feb. 11 in Toronto. A full story is here:


The CWHL standings have Calgary (15-3-0) in the league lead with 30 points. Montréal (13-3-2) is second with 28 points. Toronto (7-8-2-0-1) is third with 17 points, while Brampton (7-9-1-0-1) has 16 points and Boston (2-13-1) has five points. 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, Casey Ambroz 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.

The Whitecaps play the Korean national team, coached by former UMD skater Sara Murray, Jan. 20 in Stillwater, Minn. as part of the Hockey Day in Minnesota weekend.

Here are the ex-WCHA players currently on professional team rosters, effective Jan. 13

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; Michela Cava, Minnesota Duluth; Danielle Gagne, Ohio State; Vanessa Spataro, St. Cloud