WCHA In The Pros Update: January 31
By Bill Brophy for WCHA.com
Meghan Duggan, a Patty Kazmaier Award winner at Wisconsin, had three goals and two assists to lead unbeaten Boston to an 8-4 victory over Connecticut on Friday night.

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 was a big weekend for former Wisconsin players in the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL).

Former Badger standout Madison Packer had three goals and one assist to lead the New York Riveters to an 8-6 victory over Connecticut on Sunday while Meghan Duggan, a Patty Kazmaier Award winner at Wisconsin, had three goals and two assists to lead unbeaten Boston to an 8-4 victory over Connecticut on Friday night.

Another former Kazmaier winner, Amanda Kessel, who starred at Minnesota, had four assists and Courtney Burke, a former Wisconsin defenseman, had two assists in the Riveters' victory. Katie Fitzgerald, who played goal at St. Cloud State, came off the bench in the wide-open game to make 15 saves and allowed four goals for New York, which also got an assist from Milica McMillen, an ex-Gopher. Meghan Huertas, who played at Minnesota Duluth, had an assist for the Whale on Sunday.

In Friday's high-scoring loss, the Whale was victimized by Brianna Decker, the ex-Wisconsin all-American who had two goals, and Gigi Marvin, a former Minnesota star who had a goal and two assists. Former Wisconsin star Hilary Knight had an assist for the NWHL league-leaders.

In the other NWHL game over the weekend, Buffalo edged New York 4-3. Former Minnesota goalie Amanda Leveille made 45 saves and her ex-Gopher teammate Megan Bozek had a goal. Kessel had two goals and an assist for the Riveters while Fitzgerald made 32 saves. Packer, Burke and McMillan all had assists for New York in the loss.

Ten alumnae from WCHA schools will play in the NWHL All Star Game in Pittsburgh Feb.12. The all-stars are former Minnesota Duluth forward Zoe Hickel, Fitzgerald, Burke, Decker, Duggan, Packer, Knight, Bozek, Marvin and Kessel, who will be captain of one of the teams. 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 an 11-0-0-0 record and 22 points, while New York's win moved the Riveters (5-6-3) into second place with 13 points, two ahead of Buffalo (5-6-1). Connecticut (4-9-0) is in fourth place with eight points.

Decker is fourth in the NWHL with 14 points and is tied with Duggan for most goals scored with eight. Kessel is third in the league with eight assists. Fitzgerald is tied for second in the league in shutouts (2) and is third among NWHL goalies in save percent age (.908) and fourth in goals-against average (3.03).

In the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) last weekend, Toronto swept Boston 3-1 and 5-1 as Natalie Spooner, a former Ohio State star, had a goal in each game. Ex-Minnesota standout Kelly Terry had an assist in the series opener and two assists Sunday for Toronto, while Michela Cava had two assists in the series finale. Cava, a Minnesota Duluth standout, was the subject of a profile here: http://www.thecwhl.com/allstar2017-cava.

In the other CWHL series last weekend, Brampton split with Montreal, losing 5-1 Saturday and winning 4-2 on Sunday. Ex-UMD star Caroline Ouellette had a goal in the Montreal victory and an assist in the loss.

Ouellette continues to be among the CWHL leaders with 31 points (15 goals and 16 assists), which is tied for third in the scoring derby. Spooner is in sixth place with 20 points (13 goals, seven assists).

Seven former WCHA players – former Wisconsin standout Meghan Mikkelson and Haley Irwin, a former UMD star, of Calgary; ex-UMD defenseman Jocelyn Larocque of Brampton; Spooner, Terry, and Cava, of Toronto; and, Montreal's Ouellette – have been named to the CWHL all-star game. Larocque is featured in a story here: http://www.thecwhl.com/allstar2017-larocque.

The CWHL all-star game will be played Feb. 11 in Toronto. A full story is here: http://www.thecwhl.com/32-players-named-2017-cwhl-star-game.

The CWHL standings have Calgary (17-3-0) in the league lead with 34 points. Montreal (14-4-2) is second with 30 points. Brampton (9-10-2-0-1) is third with 22 points, while Toronto (9-10-2-0-1) has 21 points and Boston (2-17-1) 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.

ESPNW did a story on Brandt choosing the Whitecaps over playing in the pro leagues. It is here: http://www.espn.com/espnw/sports/article/18537692/two-former-college-hockey-stars-bypassed-nwhl-play-free.

The Whitecaps were also featured in this recent New York Times profile: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/26/sports/hockey/26ice.html.

The Whitecaps' next games are against Shattuck in Faribault, Minn. Feb. 4-5.

Here are the ex-WCHA players currently on professional team rosters, effective Jan. 25

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