WCHA In The Pros Update: January 24
By Bill Brophy for WCHA.com
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The Minnesota Whitecaps participated in Hockey Day Minnesota for the first time last week and helped kick off the weekend by defeating the Korean National team, 3-1, in an outdoor game played in Stillwater, Minn. on Friday night. Hannah Brandt, a two-time Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) player of the year while leading Minnesota to back-to-back national championships, scored two goals for the Whitecaps.

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.

The Minnesota Whitecaps participated in Hockey Day Minnesota for the first time last week and helped kick off the weekend by defeating the Korean National team, 3-1, in an outdoor game played in Stillwater, Minn. on Friday night.

Hannah Brandt, a two-time Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) player of the year while leading Minnesota to back-to-back national championships, scored two goals for the Whitecaps and got to play against her sister, who is a member of the Korean team, which will play in the Olympics in 2018 as the hosts. Sarah Murray, a former player at Minnesota Duluth, is the coach for Team Korea.

Not only did the Whitecaps get the exposure of playing in Hockey Day festivities, but the Minneapolis-based pro team was featured on the front page of the New York Times sports section Saturday. The story on the barn-storming Whitecaps and how they fit into the landscape of women's pro hockey is here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/20/sports/hockey/minnesota-whitecaps.html?_r=0

The Whitecaps have 22 former WCHA players from seven league schools on its roster. It includes nine former Minnesota players (Rachael Bona, 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.

In National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) play Saturday, Boston stayed unbeaten with a 2-1 victory over New York on Meghan Duggan's goal in the final 13 seconds. Another former Wisconsin all-American, Hilary Knight, also had a goal, while another ex-Badger, Brianna Decker, had an assist. Amanda Kessel, who like Duggan and Decker won a Patty Kazmaier Award, had the lone goal for New York. Kessel, a former Minnesota star, had been injured since the opening game of the season.

Katie Fitzgerald, a former St. Cloud State goaltender, had 29 saves for New York.

Fitzgerald is one of ten alumnae from WCHA schools will play in the NWHL All Star Game in Pittsburgh Feb.12. The all-stars are former Minnesota stars Megan Bozek, Gigi Marvin and Kessel, who will be captain of one of the teams, ex-Minnesota Duluth player Zoe Hickel; Fitzgerald and former Wisconsin stars Courtney Burke, Decker, Duggan, Knight and Madison Packer. 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:

http://www.nwhl.zone/news_article/show/743351?referrer_id=2739439

Boston leads the NWHL with a 10-0-0-0 record and 20 points, while New York (4-6-0-1-1) is in second place with 12 points, three ahead of Buffalo (4-6-0-0-1). Connecticut (4-7-0-0) is in fourth place with eight points. Decker is tied for the NWHL lead with six goals on the season, and she is fourth in scoring with 11 points (also five assists).

In the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) last weekend, league-leading Calgary strengthened its hold on first place by sweeping Toronto, 4-1 and 5-0. Former Wisconsin standout Meaghan Mikkelson had two goals in the series opener and is featured in a profile here: http://www.thecwhl.com/all-star-profile-meaghan-mikkelson.

Another ex-Badger, Blayre Turnbull, had a goal in each game, while former Minnesota Duluth defenseman Brigette Lacquette also had one assist Saturday and two Sunday. Ex-UMD star Haley Irwin and former Minnesota forward Sarah Davis each registered assists in the series opener. Natalie Spooner, who starred at Ohio State, had Toronto's only goal in the series.

In the other CWHL series last weekend, Brampton swept Boston -- winning 8-0 Saturday when former UMD defenseman Jenna McParland had a goal and an assist, and 4-0 Sunday when ex-Bemidji State star Kaitlyn Tougas scored a goal.

Seven former WCHA players Spooner, Mikkelson and Irwin, Jocelyn Larocque, a UMD alum who plays at Brampton; Kelly Terry, a former Minnesota standout; and Michela Cava, a UMD alum, of Toronto and Montreal's Caroline Ouellette (UMD) have been named to the CWHL all-star game. The game will be played Feb. 11 in Toronto. A full story is here:

http://www.thecwhl.com/32-players-named-2017-cwhl-star-game.

Ouellette is second in the CWHL scoring race and in goals scored with 29 points (14 goals and 15 assists). Spooner is in sixth place with 18 points (11 goals, seven assists).

The CWHL standings have Calgary (17-3-0) in the league lead with 34 points. Montreal (13-3-2) is second with 28 points. Brampton (9-9-1-0-1) moved into third place with 20 points, three more than Toronto (7-10-2-0-1). Boston (2-15-1) 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.

Here are the ex-WCHA players currently on professional team rosters, effective Jan. 23

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