Season Recap: A Look Back at 2016-17

April 20, 2017

2016-17 Season Recap Get Acrobat Reader

MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota women’s hockey team’s 2016-17 season came to a close in the semifinal round of the 2017 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four. The Gophers posted an overall record of 26-8-5 while going 19-4-5 in WCHA play. Minnesota finished as WCHA regular season runner-up for the second-straight year and tied for third at the WCHA Final Face-Off.

Under the leadership of senior captains Lee Stecklein (C), Dani Cameranesi (A), and Kate Schipper (A), Minnesota produced two of the nation’s top-10 scorers, multiple All-Americans for the sixth-straight year, a program-record 17 WCHA All-Academic Team honorees, and the NCAA’s second-ranked power-play, among other highlights.

2017 Senior Salute
The close of the 2016-17 season marks the end of six seniors’ careers as the Gophers say goodbye to Dani Cameranesi, Kelsey Cline, Paige Haley, Kate Schipper, Lee Stecklein, and Megan Wolfe. From 2013-14 to 2016-17, the Gophers recorded an overall record of 133-17-11, which is good for a .860 winning percentage, as well as a WCHA record of 91-10-11. The senior class combined for a total of 541 points during their time at the University of Minnesota, scoring 177 goals and adding 364 assists. The seniors led the Gophers to four-straight NCAA Frozen Four appearances, winning two national titles and earning one NCAA runner-up showing.

Gophers in the NCAA Tournament
Minnesota made its 10th-straight and 15th overall appearance in the NCAA postseason this year. The Gophers saw their streak of NCAA title game appearances come to an end at five but made the program’s sixth-straight and 13th overall appearance at the Frozen Four. Since 2011-12, the Gophers are 15-2-0 in NCAA games. Minnesota owns an all-time record of 24-10-1 in NCAA tournament games since 2000-01 as well.

Frozen Four Rewind
Minnesota fell to eventual national champion Clarkson by a score of 4-3 in the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four semifinal round. Despite battling back to tie the game three times, Minnesota saw its season come to an end short of a historic third-straight NCAA title. The Gophers scored once in each period, responding each time Clarkson took the lead, but the Golden Knights scored to make it 4-3 with just 1:31 remaining and the Gophers could not find the fourth equalizer. Kate Schipper, Sarah Potomak, and Sophie Skarzynski scored goals, and Sidney Peters made 21 saves for the Maroon & Gold.

WCHA Final Face-Off Rewind
Minnesota hosted the 2017 WCHA Final Face-Off at Ridder Arena, marking the 10th time the league’s postseason tournament has been held on the Gophers’ home ice. Top-seeded Wisconsin defeated No. 4 seed North Dakota, 2-1, in the first semifinal, and Minnesota fell to Minnesota Duluth, 2-1 in double overtime, in semifinal two. Wisconsin then won the WCHA postseason title with a 4-1 win over Minnesota Duluth in the championship game.

Gophers Finish as WCHA Regular-Season Runner-Up
Minnesota finished as WCHA regular-season runner-up for the second-straight season, recording a 19-4-5-3 mark in WCHA games for 65 points. The Gophers edged third-place team Minnesota Duluth by just three points, 65-62, as Minnesota had a tie to a UMD loss and two more shootout wins than the Bulldogs (19-5-4-1 WCHA).

2018 Frozen Four Returns to Ridder Arena
The NCAA Women's Frozen Four will return to Ridder Arena next season, marking the fourth time the national championship will be played on the Gophers' home ice. Ridder Arena previously hosted the NCAA Women's Frozen Four in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

Home, Sweet Home
Including a mark of 15-2-3 in 2016-17, the Gophers have compiled a record of 110-6-10 in home games at Ridder Arena dating back to the 2011-12 season. Since 2011-12, Minnesota has a .913 winning percentage at home.

NCAA Scoring Leaders
Junior forward Kelly Pannek and sophomore forward Sarah Potomak both ended the season ranked among the nation’s top-10 scorers. Pannek tied for the NCAA lead with a career-high 62 points (19g-43a) and led the country with 43 assists and 1.10 assists per game. She had at least one point in 32 of Minnesota’s 39 games this season, and she recorded 44 points (14g-30a) during a 20-game point streak from Oct. 14 to Jan. 20. Seven of Pannek’s 19 goals were game-winners. Meanwhile, Potomak (20g-33a) finished her sophomore season ranked eighth in the NCAA with 1.39 points per game, and her 0.87 assists per game ranked seventh.

Offensive Defensemen
Seniors Lee Stecklein and Megan Wolfe were two of the NCAA’s top-scoring defensemen this season and ended their careers among the Gophers’ all-time top-scoring blue liners. Stecklein (4g-20a) was fifth among NCAA defensemen with 0.67 points per game while Wolfe (6g-17a) ranked 13th with 0.62 points per game. The duo wrapped up their Gophers careers ranked among Minnesota’s all-time top-10 defensemen as Stecklein’s 93 career points come in seventh and Wolfe is eighth with 87 career points.

First Goal, Best Goal
The Gophers went 20-1-2 when scoring the first goal of the game this season while posting a record of 6-7-2 when giving up the first goal. In addition, Minnesota was 19-0-2 when leading after two periods.

Special Teams Play
Minnesota’s power play led the WCHA and ranked second in the NCAA at 25-for-105 (23.8 percent) this season. Kelly Pannek’s team-high six power-play goals was tied for fifth in the NCAA and led the WCHA as well. Minnesota led the nation in fewest penalty minutes per game at 5.6 minutes per game in 39 games. Minnesota’s penalty kill ranked fifth in the NCAA at 92-for-102 for 90.2 percent as well.

Clutch Scoring
Kelly Pannek was tied for third in the NCAA with seven game-winning goals, and Sarah Potomak came in tied for fifth with six game-winners. The duo combined for 13 game-winning goals this season, scoring the game-winning goal in half of Minnesota’s 26 wins. In addition, two of Patti Marshall’s three goals on the season were game-winners.

Peters Climbs Gophers’ Career Ranks
As a redshirt junior seeing consistent minutes for the first time in her career, Sidney Peters made her mark among Minnesota’s all-time goaltenders. She ended the 2016-17 season ranked third in career goals against average (1.51), sixth in career shutouts (12), sixth in career save percentage (.920), tied for sixth in career wins (36), and seventh in career saves (862). Her eight shutouts on the year tied for sixth in Gophers’ single-season records as well.

Rollercoaster Season for Cameranesi
Senior forward Dani Cameranesi started the season with 31 points (18g-13a) in Minnesota’s first 17 games of the year. She ranked second in the nation with 1.82 points per game, and her 18 goals and 1.06 goals per game were tops in the NCAA through Dec. 3. Cameranesi then missed 17 of 19 games from Dec. 4 to Feb. 26 due to injury but returned to the Gophers’ lineup for the WCHA Final Face-Off. In her first game back, Cameranesi tied a Minnesota program record with 14 shots on goal in the WCHA semifinal round against Minnesota Duluth. She was able to finish out her career with the Gophers and take the ice at the Frozen Four for the fourth-straight season.

This season, Cameranesi became the eighth Gopher all-time to reach 200 career points, reaching the milestone on Dec. 3. She wrapped up her career tied for seventh among all-time Gophers with 201 career points (93g-108a). Cameranesi’s 93 goals also rank seventh in Gopher women’s hockey history, her 108 assists are tied for seventh, and her 32 power-play goals are tied for third all-time.

Rivalry Renewed with Minnesota Duluth
Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth split six meetings in 2016-17 with each team earning regular-season sweeps on home ice followed by a split in postseason games. The Gophers swept the Bulldogs at home in October, winning 4-3 and 3-2 (OT), before falling 3-2 and 5-3 on the road in Duluth in January.

The rivals met again in the semifinal round of the conference tournament in the longest WCHA Final Face-Off game in league history. Minnesota fell 2-1 in double overtime in a historic game lasting 91 minutes, 29 seconds. Sarah Potomak scored Minnesota’s lone goal, and Sidney Peters made a career-high 39 saves. Minnesota Duluth used a goal by Lara Stalder to end the game at the 11:29 mark of the second overtime after regulation ended in a 1-1 tie behind a pair of second-period goals from UMD’s Katerina Mrazova and Potomak. Maddie Rooney finished with 62 saves for the Bulldogs as the Gophers outshot the Bulldogs, 63-41, for the game.

The Gophers then advanced to the 2017 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four with a 1-0 NCAA quarterfinal win on the road at Minnesota Duluth. Patti Marshall broke a scoreless tie at the 7:54 mark of the third period when she scored off a feed from Sarah Potomak and Kelly Pannek. Sidney Peters finished with 25 saves in her eighth shutout of the season, and Rooney made 28 saves for the Bulldogs as Minnesota had a 29-25 advantage in shots on goal.

Duo Named All-Americans
Kelly Pannek and Lee Stecklein were honored as 2017 CCM Hockey Division I Women's Ice Hockey First Team All-Americans. While Pannek took home her first All-American honor of her career, Stecklein earned her third to become one of just five three-time All-American honorees for the Gophers. She joined Krissy Wendell, Natalie Darwitz, Noora Raty, and Hannah Brandt to make up Minnesota's three-time All-Americans. In total, the Gophers have now earned 39 All-American awards in program history.

WCHA Awards Show
Five Gophers were honored with All-WCHA accolades this season. Kelly Pannek was crowned the 2017 WCHA Scoring Champion with 44 points (14g-30a) in 28 conference games. Pannek joined Lee Stecklein on the All-WCHA First Team while Sarah Potomak was chosen as a member of the All-WCHA Second Team. Dani Cameranesi and Megan Wolfe earned All-WCHA Third Team honors.

Pannek and Potomak Named Patty Kaz Finalists
Kelly Pannek and Sarah Potomak were named top-10 finalists for the 2017 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, marking the fifth-straight season the Gophers have had multiple finalists for the nation’s top individual award. Minnesota has now had 18 different players honored as Patty Kazmaier finalists a total of 31 times.

Barlow Earns Elite 90 Award
Anna Barlow was named the recipient of the Elite 90 award for the 2017 NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey Championship. Barlow, who is studying Biology, Society, and Environment in the University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts, was honored as the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for the NCAA championship. The South St. Paul, Minn., native was in Minnesota's lineup for five games and was also named a WCHA Scholar-Athlete and WCHA All-Academic Team honoree for 2016-17.

Program-Record WCHA Academic Honors
A program-record 17 Gophers earned WCHA All-Academic honors this season in Sydney Baldwin, Anna Barlow, Dani Cameranesi, Kelsey Cline, Paige Haley, Tianna Gunderson, Emma May, Kelly Pannek, Sidney Peters, Cara Piazza, Sarah Potomak, Nicole Schammel, Kate Schipper, Sierra Smith, Lee Stecklein, Taylor Williamson, and Megan Wolfe. To qualify for the WCHA All-Academic Team, student-athletes must have completed one year of eligibility at their present institution, prior to the current academic year, and have a GPA of at least 3.0 for the previous two semesters or three quarters.

Likewise, Minnesota earned a program-best nine WCHA Scholar-Athlete awards, topping the team’s 2015-16 total of seven. Sydney Baldwin, Anna Barlow, Dani Cameranesi, Sidney Peters, Cara Piazza, Nicole Schammel, Kate Schipper, Lee Stecklein, and Taylor Williamson earned recognition. WCHA Scholar-Athletes must have completed at least one year of residency at their present institution prior to the current academic year and must also have a grade-point average of at least 3.50 on a 4.0 scale for the previous two semesters or three quarters, or may qualify if his/her overall GPA is at least 3.50 for all terms at his or her present institution.

Gopher Rookies Contribute
All six of Minnesota’s freshmen found their way on to the scoresheet for the Maroon & Gold in 2016-17. Patti Marshall (3g-10a) played in all 39 games, and Lindsay Agnew (3g-5a) played in 38 games, missing one game while competing with Canada’s National Women’s Development Team. Katie Robinson (3g-1a) scored her first career goal against Minnesota State (Jan. 8) while Kippin Keller (1g-1a) scored her first career goal at St. Cloud State (Jan. 27). Freshman goaltender Serena D’Angelo appeared in five games, and Alex Woken (1g-3a) appeared in the first 15 games of the year before being sidelined due to injury.

Century Mark Scoring
Three Gophers reached the 100-career point mark this season: Kelly Pannek (Oct. 15), Kate Schipper (Dec. 3), and Sarah Potomak (Feb. 11). The trio marked the 32nd, 33rd, and 34th Gophers in program history to reach the career scoring milestone.

Frost Secures 300th Win
Head coach Brad Frost secured his 300th career coaching victory with the Gophers’ road sweep at Ohio State this season (Oct. 21-22). He wrapped up his 10th season at the helm of the Gophers with an all-time mark of 319-53-27.

Stecklein Named Hockey Humanitarian Award Nominee
Senior defenseman Lee Stecklein was one of 15 nominees for the 2017 Hockey Humanitarian Award, which is presented annually to college hockey’s finest citizen – a student-athlete who makes significant contributions not only to his or her team but also to the community-at-large through leadership in volunteerism.

Johnson Honored by AHCA
The American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) selected Gophers associate head coach Joel Johnson at the 2017 recipient of the AHCA Women’s Hockey Assistant Coach Award, receiving recognition during the 2017 AHCA Convention in Naples, Fla. Johnson has been a member of the University of Minnesota women's hockey coaching staff for 12 years, including two stints from 1999-2004 and again in 2010 to the present. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2014 and has been on staff for six of Minnesota’s seven national titles. Under Johnson’s direction, five Gopher defensemen have represented their countries in the Olympic Games, and he has coached seven Gopher defensemen to All-American accolades. He is one of the top defensive coaches in the country.

Gophers Add Six for 2017-18
The Gophers and head coach Brad Frost announced the addition of six incoming players to join the program for the 2017-18 season. Emily Brown (Blaine, Minn.), Alex Gulstene (Vancouver, British Columbia), Olivia Knowles (Campbell River, British Columbia), Amy Potomak (Aldergrove, British Columbia), Taylor Wente (Maple Grove, Minn.), and Grace Zumwinkle (Excelsior, Minn.) make up the newest class of Gophers.

Future Gophers Medal at U-18 World Championship
Five future Gophers took home medals at the 2017 IIHF Under-18 Women's World Championship in Prerov and Zlin, Czech Republic. Alex Gulstene, Taylor Wente, and Grace Zumwinkle won gold with the U.S. Under-18 Women's National Team under the direction of Gophers associate head coach Joel Johnson, and Amy Potomak and Olivia Knowles earned silver with Canada's National Women's Under-18 Team.

Eight Gophers Medal at World Championship
Eight Gophers took home medals at the 2017 IIHF Women's World Championship in Plymouth, Mich. Kelly Pannek and Lee Stecklein joined alumnae Megan Bozek, Hannah Brandt, Amanda Kessel, and Gigi Marvin in earning gold with the U.S. Women's National Team, and Sarah Potomak and alum Sarah Davis received silver with Canada’s National Women’s Team. Fellow alumnae Noora Raty and Mira Jalosuo earned bronze with Finland.

Five Gophers Representatives Medal at Nations Cup
Gopher alums Mira Jalosuo and Noora Raty won gold with Finland while Sarah Potomak and Lindsay Agnew joined Minnesota alumna Sarah Davis in taking home silver with Canada’s National Women’s Development Team at this year’s Nations Cup, which took place in Füssen, Germany and Telfs, Austria.

Six Gophers Medal at Four Nations Cup
All six Gopher representatives took home medals at the 2016 Four Nations Cup. Lee Stecklein, Hannah Brandt, Megan Bozek, and Anne Schleper won gold with the U.S. Women's National Team while Sarah Davis took home silver with Canada's National Women's Team as the rivals met in the gold-medal game. Meanwhile, Noora Raty and Finland earned bronze.

Nine Alumnae Continue Careers
Nine Gopher alumnae continued their hockey careers by playing professional hockey in the NWHL and CWHL during the 2016-17 season: Gigi Marvin (Boston Pride, NWHL), Megan Bozek (Buffalo Beauts, NWHL), Anne Schleper (Buffalo Beauts, NWHL), Jordyn Burns (Buffalo Beauts, NWHL), Amanda Leveille (Buffalo Beauts, NWHL), Amanda Kessel (New York Riveters, NWHL), Milica McMillen (New York Riveters, NWHL), Sarah Davis (Calgary Inferno, CWHL), and Kelly Terry (Toronto Furies, CWHL).

Minnesota Resumes Quest for Eighth National Title in 2017-18
Despite falling short of a third-straight national title in 2017, Minnesota has still won four of the last six national championships and has seven national titles overall (2000, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016). The program looks for a historic eighth title national crown in 2017-18.

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