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.
Caroline Ouellette, a two-time most valuable player in the Canadian Women's Hockey League, and Brianna Decker, the most valuable player in the National Women's Hockey League playoffs last season, continue to demonstrate they are among the elite players in pro hockey.
Ouellette, one of the best players in Minnesota Duluth history, scored five goals and led Montreal into first place in the CWHL with a pair of victories over Boston. Ouellette had one goal and an assist, and another former UMD standout, Noemie Marin, had an assist in Montreal's series-opening 5-0 victory. Ouellette scored four goals as Montreal outshot the Blades, 61-5 and scored a 10-0 victory Sunday.
In the other CWHL series last weekend, Toronto and Brampton split. Brampton downed the Fury 4-2 despite Toronto goals by former Minnesota standout Kelly Terry and Ohio State star Natalie Spooner. Toronto won the series finale, 4-1, as Spooner scored twice, Terry had a goal and an assist, and ex-Wisconsin forward Carolyn Prevost chipped in a goal.
Ouellette's big weekend vaulted her into the lead in the CWHL scoring race with 21 points (13 goals and eight assists). Spooner is in fourth place with 13 points (seven goals, six assists).
The CWHL standings show Montreal (9-2-1) in the league lead with 19 points, one more than Calgary (9-1-0). Toronto (6-4-2) is third with 14 points, while Brampton (4-6-1) has 10 points and Boston (0-9-1) has one point.
In the NWHL, Decker, a Patty Kazmaier Awad winner while at Wisconsin, had three goals to help keep defending champion Boston in first place with a 5-2 victory over Connecticut. Her linemate Zoe Hickel had two assists in Saturday's game, while former Wisconsin standout Molly Engstrom had an assist for the Whale.
Another Kazmaier Award winner and former U.S. Olympian from Wisconsin, Meghan Duggan, had a goal in Boston's 3-2 victory over New York. The teams tied 2-2 in regulation, but Hickel had the game-winning goal in the shootout to keep the Blades unbeaten.
In the other NWHL game over the weekend, Buffalo outscored New York 5-3. Former Minnesota defenseman Megan Bozek had a goal and ex-Gopher Amanda Leveille made 25 saves for the Beauts. Madison Packer, who played at Wisconsin, scored a goal and goalie Katie Fitzgerald, a former St. Cloud State standout, made 29 saves for New York.
Boston leads the NWHL with an 8-0-0-0 record and 16 points, while Buffalo (3-4-1-0) jumped into second place with seven points, one better than New York (2-4-1-1). Connecticut (2-4-0-0) is in fourth place with four points. Decker now has a league-best six goals on the season and she is second in the league in scoring with 10 points (six goals and four assists). Fitzgerald is fourth among NWHL goalies in save percentage (.908).
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). Seven members of the Whitecaps were on Team USA and won a goal medal at the recently-concluded Four Nations Cup.
The Whitecaps are idle until Jan. 6-7 when they play at Minnesota.
Here are the ex-WCHA players currently on professional team rosters, effective Dec. 1:
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.