Beyond the WCHA: Alumni in the Pros - February 26
By Bill Brophy for
Amanda Leveille and her Buffalo Beauts continued their winning ways down the stretch Sunday and beat the Metropolitan Riveters, the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) leaders, for the second-straight time.

Each week will offer an update on the former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players playing pro hockey.

Amanda Leveille and her Buffalo Beauts continued their winning ways down the stretch Sunday and beat the Metropolitan Riveters, the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) leaders, for the second-straight time.

Leveille, a former Minnesota goaltender, made 22 saves and the defending NWHL champions won their eighth-straight game with a 4-3 decision. The Beauts scored three third-period goals and kept the Riveters from clinching the league title. Jenny Ryan, a former Wisconsin defenseman, had an assist for the Riveters. Katie Fitzgerald, a former St. Cloud State goalie, had 14 saves for the Riveters.

In the other NWHL game Sunday, Boston moved into third place with a 3-0 victory over Connecticut.

With only two games left in the regular season, the Riveters (12-2-0) have 24 points, just four points better than Buffalo (10-4-0). Boston (3-7-4) has 10 points and Connecticut (3-9-2) has eight points.

Fitzgerald, a St. Cloud State alumna, is the league's best goalie with an 11-2-0 record, a 1.92 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage and one shutout. Leveille is second in most categories with a 10-4-0 record, 2.75 GAA and .909 save percentage. The Riveters' Courtney Burke, a Wisconsin alumna, is second in scoring with 17 points (two goals, 15 assists) and Ryan is fourth with 15 points (three goals, 12 assists).

Twelve Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) alumnae are spending the 2017-18 season in the NWHL, while another 14 are playing in the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL).

Wisconsin has six former WCHA players competing in the four-team NWHL, including five on the Riveters, while Minnesota has two alumnae in the league. Ohio State, St. Cloud State, Minnesota State and Minnesota Duluth have one player apiece in the league.

Minnesota Duluth has eight former players in the seven-team CWHL, while Minnesota has two and Wisconsin, Ohio State, Bemidji State and North Dakota each have one player apiece.

The CWHL came off its Olympic break last weekend and people were talking about the future of women's pro hockey after the 2018 Winter Games. A story is here:

In the CWHL last weekend, Montréal made its final overseas trip and split two games in China with Vanke. The Rays beat Montreal 3-2 Sunday despite a goal by Noémie Marin, an ex-Minnesota Duluth star, and an assist from Emmanuelle Blais, also a UMD alumna. Montreal won the series finale, 2-0, on Monday.

Calgary swept Boston 4-3 and 6-2, as North Dakota alumna Kayla Gardner had a goal in the series opener and an assist in the Sunday victory.

Markham stayed in the playoff hunt with a 5-2 victory over Toronto. Jenna McParland, another former Bulldog, had a goal and two assists in Markham's quest to finish in the top four and qualify for the playoffs.

With two weekends left in the regular season, defending champion Montréal (20-4-0) leads the CWHL with 40 points, two more than Calgary (17-3-1-3) and five more than Kunlun (17-5-0-1). Vanke (13-11-0-1) and Markham (10-7-4-3) are tied for fourth place with 27 points. Toronto (7-17-1-1) is in sixth place with 16 points, while Boston (1-20-0-3) is in last place with five points.

Former UMD forward Zoe Hickel of Kunlun is fourth in the league scoring derby with 31 points (eight goals and 23 assists). Marin is sixth with 26 points (16-10-26) and Vanke's Ashleigh Brykaliuk, another ex-UMD star, is tenth in scoring with 25 points (eight goals and 17 assists).

Kunlun's Noora Räty, the former Minnesota all-American who was one of seven former WCHA players on Finland's Olympic bronze medalists, has the league's best goals-against average (1.52) and save percentage (.947), and the most shutouts (four).

The Minnesota Whitecaps, an elite women's hockey team made up of post-collegiate players, also has 26 former WCHA players – from six schools – on its Minneapolis-based roster. It includes seven former Minnesota players (Kate Schipper, Katie Frischmann, Becky Kortum, Chelsey Rosenthal, Paige Haley, Shyler Sletta and Kelly Seeler Buchta), eight players from St. Cloud State (Julie Friend, Carrie Holldorf, Meaghan Pezon, Lauren Hespenheide, Hanna Brodt, Kalli Funk, Lisa Martinson and Haylea Schmid), four from Minnesota State (Alli Altmann, Anna Fiegert, Lauren Barnes and Kari Lundberg) three North Dakota alumni (Tanja Eischenschmid, Amy Menke and Annelise Rice) and two players from Minnesota Duluth (Demi Crossman and Emma Stauber), and two from Bemidji State (Sadie Lundquist and Rachael Kelly).

Here are the WCHA alumni on NWHL and CWHL team rosters, effective Feb. 25:

NWHL (12)

Buffalo: Lisa Chesson, Ohio State; Jordyn Burns, Minnesota; Amanda Leveille, Minnesota.

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

Metropolitan: Courtney Burke, Wisconsin; Madison Packer, Wisconsin; Kelly Nash, Wisconsin, Erika Lawler, Wisconsin; Jenny Ryan, Wisconsin; Katie Fitzgerald, St. Cloud Statee

CWHL (14)

Calgary:Kayla Gardner, North Dakota.

Kunlun (China) Red Star: Stephanie Anderson, Bemidji State; Zoe Hickel, Minnesota Duluth; Jessica Wong, Minnesota Duluth; Noora Räty, Minnesota

Markham: Megan Bozek, Minnesota; Laura McIntosh, Ohio State; Jenna McParland, Minnesota Duluth; Jocelyne LaRocque, Minnesota Duluth

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

Toronto: Carolyne Prevost, Wisconsin.

Vanke (China) Rays: Ashleigh Brykaliuk, Minnesota Duluth.