WCHA In The Pros Update: March 8
By Bill Brophy for WCHA.com
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Meghan Mikkelson, a former star at Wisconsin and a Canadian Olympian, was named the CWHL's defender of the year, but her Calgary Inferno lost to Montreal 3-1 Sunday in the battle for the Clarkson Cup which goes to the CWHL champion.

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.

It was a bittersweet weekend for Meghan Mikkelson when the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) wrapped up its tenth season. Mikkelson, a former star at Wisconsin and a Canadian Olympian, was named the CWHL's defender of the year, but her Calgary Inferno lost to Montreal 3-1 Sunday in the battle for the Clarkson Cup which goes to the CWHL champion. It was the fourth title for Montreal, which used an assist from former Minnesota Duluth forward Noemie Marin.

Calgary, coached by Mikkelson's husband, CWHL coach of the year Scott Reid, was the defending champion.

A review of the CWHL championship game in Ottawa is here: http://www.thecwhl.com/les-canadiennes-defeat-inferno-2017-clarkson-cup

Here is a list of CWHL award winners for the 2016-17 season: http://www.thecwhl.com/cwhl-honours-league-best-2017-awards-gala.

The National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) heads into its final weekend of regular season play with a familiar story: Defending champion Boston is unbeaten and continues to roll edging New York 4-3 last Saturday and crushing Buffalo 7-1.

The Pride used two goals from Hilary Knight and goals from Knight's former Wisconsin teammates Brianna Decker and Meghan Duggan in the third period to beat New York. Decker had the game-winning goal and three assists in the third period when the ex-Badgers all scored. Minnesota alum Gigi Marvin had two assists for Boston, while ex-Minnesota star Amanda Kessel had two goals for the Riveters. Former UW defenseman Courtney Burke had an assist for New York. The Riveters' Katie Fitzgerald, a St. Cloud State alumna, made 16 saves in goal.

Boston breezed to its 16th win of the season. Decker, a former Patty Kazmaier Award winner, had two goals and three assists, while Knight had a goal and two assists in the Pride's final victory of the regular season.

With two games left in the regular season, Boston has clinched the NWHL regular season crown with a 16-0-0-0 record and 32 points, while New York (7-7-3-1) is in second place with 17 points, six ahead of Buffalo (5-10-0-1) and Connecticut (5-11-0-1). The NWHL playoffs start March 16. The title game is March 19 at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass.

Decker's nine-point weekend put her in the scoring lead with 30 points (a league-leading 13 goals and 17 assists), while another former Wisconsin all-American, Duggan, is second in goals with 12 and fifth in points (19). Decker's 17 assists are second best in the NWHL, while New York's Amanda Kessel, a Kazmaier Award winner at Minnesota, is third with 13 assists. New York's Fitzgerald is tied for second in the league in shutouts (2), is third among NWHL goalies for goals-against average (3.09) and is fourth in save percentage (.895).

Nineteen women's hockey alumni are spending the 2016-17 season playing in the CWHL, while 16 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, 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.

Here are the ex-WCHA players currently on professional team rosters, effective Feb.17.

NWHL (16)

Boston: Brianna Decker, Wisconsin; Meghan Duggan, Wisconsin, Gigi Marvin, Minnesota; Hillary Knight, Wisconsin

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

Connecticut: Jordan Brickner, Wisconsin; Zoe Hickel, Minnesota Duluth; 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 Mikkelson, 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