WCHA Dandy Dozen from 2015-16 - Moment 9: The Next Level
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Long the nation's premier women's college hockey conference, the WCHA continued to leave its mark on international and professional ice in 2015-16.

Every weekday from May 23-June 7, we will be looking back at the "Dandy Dozen" moments from the historic 2015-16 WCHA season. Next up on our countdown is…

Moment 9: The Next Level

Championship-winning, overtime goal at the 2015 Four Nations Cup? Check (Hilary Knight).

32-save shutout in a 1-0, overtime victory to earn gold at the 2016 IIHF Women's World Championships? Check (Alex Rigsby).

Tournament MVP at the 2016 Worlds? Check (Knight).

2016 USA Hockey Award recipients? Check (Monique Lamoureux-Morando – Bob Allen Women's Player of the Year; Knight – Bob Johnson Award)

Five selections in the first-ever National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) draft? Check (Hannah Brandt, Courtney Burke, Milica McMillen, Amanda Leveille and Maryanne Menefee).

MVP, Leading Scorer and Best Defenseman for NWHL's inaugural season? Check (Brianna Decker, Knight and Gigi Marvin).

Long the nation's premier women's college hockey conference, the WCHA continued to leave its mark on international and professional ice in 2015-16. Among the highlights:

2015 Four Nations Cup

Thirty-two (32) current and former WCHA players – representing seven member institutions – competed for the United States, Canada, Finland and host Sweden at the 2015 Four Nations Cup.

WCHA players accounted for four of the five goals in the championship game, including all three by the United States as the Americans rallied for a 3-2, overtime victory. After Natalie Spooner (OSU) gave Team Canada a 1-0, second-period lead, Wisconsin alumna Brianna Decker knotted the game 5:32 later. With her team again trailing, 2-1, into the third period, Decker scored 1:46 into the stanza for a 2-2 tie that stood into overtime. Another Badger great, Hilary Knight, secured gold for the United States with a dramatic goal just 36 seconds into OT. Jessie Vetter (Wisconsin) made 30 saves for Team USA.

2016 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships

Led by the 11 who helped the United States win its third consecutive gold, 21 current and former Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) players medaled (and 36 participated) at the 2016 Worlds, held March 28 through April 4 in Kamloops, British Columbia. Eight members of the silver-medalist Canadian squad hailed from the WCHA, while a pair of Russian forwards earned bronze.

Hilary Knight was named to the All-Star Team, was tabbed the competition's best forward and – for the second consecutive year – was selected as the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Joining Knight on the All-Star Team was defenseman and former North Dakota standout Monique Lamoureux-Morando.

The final 2016 Women's Worlds statistical leaderboard featured several WCHA products. Knight led the tournament with seven goals and tied for first with nine points; the Lamoureux twins (Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson), along with Minnesota Duluth junior-to-be Lara Stalder, all had a Worlds-best five assists; Knight and Lamoureux-Davidson tied for top honors with a +8 rating; and, former Wisconsin great Alex Rigsby led all goaltenders with a .986 save percentage, a 0.31 goals-against average and two shutouts (including a 32-save, 1-0 blanking in the Americans' 1-0, overtime win over Canada in the gold-medal game).

2015 National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) Draft

Five WCHA players (per NWHL rules, seniors-to-be at the time) were selected in the inaugural NWHL draft: Minnesota's Hannah Brandt (Connecticut Whale, 1st Round – 2nd pick overall), Wisconsin's Courtney Burke (Buffalo Beauts, 1st Round – 4th pick overall), and Gophers Milica McMillen (Connecticut Whale, 3rd Round – 10th pick overall), Amanda Leveille (Buffalo Beauts, 3rd Round – 12th pick overall) and Maryanne Menefee (Connecticut Whale, 4th Round – 14th pick overall).

2015-16 NWHL Season

The inaugural season of the NWHL saw several WCHA alumnae in starring roles. Former Badger great Brianna Decker was voted the league's Most Valuable Player after helping the Boston Pride win the Isobel Cup, while Pride teammate and fellow Wisconsin alumna Hilary Knight was the Scoring Champion with 33 points (15g-18a). A third Pride player, Gigi Marvin, earned Defensive Player of the Year honors.


Here is the full breakdown of WCHA-affiliated participants at the 2015 Four Nations Cup, including the nine current student-athletes (from 2015-16) and 23 league alumnae.

United States of America (Gold Medal) Canada (Silver Medal)
Goaltenders (2)
Alex Rigsby, Wisconsin
Jessie Vetter, Wisconsin

Defense (4)

Megan Bozek, Minnesota
Monique Lamoureux-Morando, North Dakota
Gigi Marvin, Minnesota
Anne Schleper, Minnesota

Forwards (6)

*Stephanie Anderson, Bemidji State
Brianna Decker, Wisconsin
Meghan Duggan, Wisconsin
Zoe Hickel, Minnesota Duluth
Hilary Knight, Wisconsin
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson,  North Dakota
Defense (2)
*Halli Krzyzaniak, North Dakota
Brigette Lacquette, Minnesota Duluth

Forwards (6)
*Emily Clark, Wisconsin
Sarah Davis, Minnesota
*Sarah Nurse, Wisconsin
*Sarah Potomak, Minnesota
Natalie Spooner, Ohio State
Blayre Turnbull, Wisconsin
Finland (Bronze Medal) Sweden (Fourth Place)
Goaltenders (1)
Noora Räty, Minnesota

Forwards (4)

Michelle Karvinen, North Dakota
*Suvi Ollikainen, St. Cloud State
*Vilma Tanskanen, North Dakota
Susanna Tapani, North Dakota

Defense (2)

Mira Jalosuo, Minnesota
*Anna Kilponen, North Dakota

Defense (3)
Jenni Asserholt, Minnesota Duluth
Johanna Fällman, North Dakota
Annie Svedin, Ohio State

Forwards (2)

*Maria Lindh, Minnesota Duluth
Pernilla Winberg, Minnesota Duluth

* - Played in WCHA in 2015-16  

Here is the full breakdown of WCHA-affiliated participants at the 2016 IIHF Women's World Championships, including the 11 current student-athletes (from 2015-16) and 25 league alumnae.

United States of America (Gold Medal) Canada (Silver Medal)
Goaltenders (2)
Alex Rigsby, Wisconsin
Jessie Vetter, Wisconsin

Defense (3)

Megan Bozek, Minnesota
Monique Lamoureux-Morando, North Dakota
*Lee Stecklein, Minnesota

Forwards (6)

Brianna Decker, Wisconsin
Meghan Duggan, Wisconsin
#
Zoe Hickel, Minnesota Duluth
Hilary Knight, Wisconsin
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, North Dakota
*Annie Pankowski, Wisconsin
Defense (4)
Jocelyne Laroque, Minnesota Duluth
Brigette Lacquette, Minnesota Duluth
*Halli Krzyzaniak, North Dakota
Meaghan Mikkelson, Wisconsin

Forwards (4)

Natalie Spooner, Ohio State
Sarah Davis, Minnesota
*Emily Clark, Wisconsin
Blayre Turnbull,  Wisconsin
Russia (Bronze Medal) Finland (Fourth Place)
Forwards (2)
Iya Gavrilova, Minnesota Duluth
Alexandra Vafina, Minnesota Duluth
Defense (3)
Mira Jalosuo, Minnesota
*Anna Kilponen, North Dakota
Minttu Tuominen, Ohio State

Forwards (3)

Michelle Karvinen, North Dakota
*Suvi Ollikainen, St. Cloud State
*Vilma Tanskanen, North Dakota
Sweden (Fifth Place) Switzerland (Won Relegation Round Series)
Defense (4)
Johanna Fällman, North Dakota
*Caroline Markstrom, St. Cloud State
Emilia (Andersson) Ramboldt, Minnesota State
Annie Svedin, Ohio State

Forwards (4)

Jenni Asserholt, Minnesota Duluth
*Maria Lindh, Minnesota Duluth
*Michelle Lowenhielm, Minnesota Duluth
Pernilla Winberg, Minnesota Duluth
Forwards (1)
*Lara Stalder, Minnesota Duluth
* - Played in WCHA in 2015-16
# - Replaced Stephanie Anderson, Bemidji State

"Dandy Dozen" Moments from the 2015-16 WCHA Season

12: Trio of New Coaches Join WCHA
11: Husky Pride
10: Record-Setting Year in Bemidji