Continuing the proud tradition of Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award winners joining the Minnesota Golden Gophers is Dani Cameranesi. Hailing from Plymouth, Minnesota, the 5’5″ forward played for the Blake School. Helping the team to Minnesota Class A championships in 2009 and 2013, her 57 goals and 38 assists as a senior gave her the Ms. Hockey Award.
With 357 career points at the high school level, she enters the 2013-14 NCAA women’s hockey season as the top prospect in the nation. Her stellar play also led her to the attention of USA Hockey, where she competed with the Under-18 US National women’s team. She would grab silver medals at the 2012 and 2013 IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds.
Donning the maroon and gold during exhibition play, she first appeared with the Golden Gophers in a September 26 contest versus the Japanese national team. With Japan having qualified for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, it was a unique display of women’s hockey. Cameranesi would log an even strength goal to give Minnesota a 3-0 lead in the second period. Minnesota would prevail by a 6-0 tally.
The following day, she scored a goal versus the University of British Columbia in the third period of a 7-0 whitewash at Ridder Arena. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that said goal was scored against former Canadian national team member Danielle Dube,.
She would register the first points of her NCAA career on October 12, 2013 in a 2-0 shutout victory over the rival Wisconsin Badgers. Cameranesi registered two assists on a pair of even-strength goals in the third period which were both scored by Kelly Terry.
While the Minnesota Golden Gophers look to capture their second straight NCAA Women’s Frozen Four, it shall be a much different dynamic. As Amanda Kessel is part of US centralization and Megan Bozek and Noora Raty have graduated, everyone will need to work as a team and try not to be the glory hound. Although it may be unreasonable to expect that Cameranesi will have a 100 point season like Amanda Kessel or an 82-point rookie campaign like Hannah Brandt (a fellow Ms. Hockey Award winner), the most important element is winning. Cameranesi has the attitude of a winner and promises an exciting four seasons to come.