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.
Jessica Wong is one of three former Minnesota Duluth players who are helping Calgary to the league lead in the Canadian Women's Hockey League. Wong had a pair of assists to help the Inferno down Boston 8-0, one of two CWHL victories for the team last week. Meaghan Mikkelson, the ex-Wisconsin defenseman, also had an assist for the Inferno, who later in the weekend added a 6-3 victory over Boston.
In other CWHL play last weekend, Brampton blanked Toronto 2-0, only to see the Fury come back to take a 5-0 victory in the series finale. Former UMD standout Michela Cava had a goal and two assists and ex-Wisconsin forward Carolyne Prevost had one goal for Toronto. Former Minnesota standout Kelly Terry had an assist for the Fury.
Calgary's two victories last week lifted them into a first-place tie with Montreal. Both teams are 4-0 with eight points, heading into a break for the Four Nations Cup. Toronto (2-3) is in third place in the CWHL with four points, while Brampton (1-3-1) has three points and Boston (0-3-1) has one point.
Natalie Spooner, a former Ohio State standout, is tied for the CWHL scoring lead with seven points (four goals and three assists). Cava is in fourth place in the scoring derby with two goals, four assists and six points.
Spooner, a member of the Canadian Olympic team in 2014, is one of four former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players from the CWHL who will play for Team Canada in the Four Nations Tournament, which will be played Nov. 1-5 in Vierumaki, Finland. Haley Irwin, a Minnesota Duluth alum playing for Calgary, Irwin's former UMD teammate Jocelyne Larocque, playing at Brampton, and ex-Minnesota star Sarah Davis will also play for Canada. Former UMD assistant coach Laura Schuler is Canada's head coach.
The National Women's Hockey League was idle last week as part of its break for the international tournament. Boston, the defending champion, leads the NWHL with a 4-0 record and eight points while Connecticut has a 2-1 record and four points. Buffalo (1-2-1) is in third place with three points and New York is 0-3. The NWHL is idle until Nov. 12.
Nineteen women's hockey alumni are spending the 2016-17 season playing in the CWHL while 18 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).
The Whitecaps' next games are at Bemidji State Nov. 11-12.
There are 11 WCHA alums from the NWHL and Whitecaps that will play for Team USA in the Four Nations Cup – Brandt, Amsley-Benzie, Rigsby, Anderson, Lamoureux-Davidson, Lamoureux-Morando; Brianna Decker, Megan Bozek, Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight and Anne Schleper).
Entering its 21st edition, the Four Nations Cup features the world's top women's hockey nations – Canada, the USA, Sweden and Finland and is hosted on a rotating basis between these hockey powers. The puck drops on the 2016 tournament on Tuesday as the USA plays Sweden and Canada takes on Finland and USA plays Sweden Wednesday. Canada faces the USA Friday in preliminary action before the finals are held Saturday.
Here are the ex-WCHA players currently on professional team rosters, effective Oct. 29:
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: Molly Engstrom, Wisconsin; Ivana Bilic, Bemidji State; Jordan Brickner, Wisconsin.
New York: Courtney Burke, Wisconsin; Madison Packer, Wisconsin; Amanda Kessel, Minnesota; Milica McMillen, Minnesota; Katie Fitzgerald, St. Cloud State
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.