Gophers Tabbed as WCHA Favorite
Sept. 19, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS – The two-time defending national champion Minnesota women's hockey team has been picked to win the 2013-14 Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) league title, according to the annual preseason poll of the league’s head coaches.
The WCHA announced its preseason individual honors in addition to releasing the coaches' poll. Sophomore forward Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.), an All-WCHA first team performer last season, was the coaches’ preseason WCHA Player of the Year, and freshman forward Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth, Minn.) was named preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year.
Last season, Brandt finished second in the nation in scoring and set a Minnesota freshman record with 82 points (33g-49a). She led the team with a +77 plus/minus rating. Brandt was a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award top-10 finalist in addition to being named USCHO.com Rookie of the Year and WCHA Rookie of the Year.
Cameranesi joins the Gophers after a successful high school career at the Blake School. She was named the 2013 Minnesota Ms. Hockey and led Blake to the 2013 Minnesota Class A state title. A four-time all-state honoree, Cameranesi recorded 357 career points (200 goals and 157 assists). She was also a member of U.S. Under-18 Team.
Minnesota, the two-time defending WCHA Final Face-Off champion, collected seven first place votes and 49 points in the league's preseason poll. Wisconsin was second, followed by North Dakota, Ohio State, Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota State, respectively. Bemidji State and St. Cloud State tied for seventh place.
The 112-game WCHA conference slate, comprised of 28 games per each of the WCHA’s eight-member teams, gets underway the weekend of Oct. 4-5 when Minnesota State visits Wisconsin. Minnesota opens defense of its national title at Colgate University the same weekend and hosts Wisconsin in its home-opening series at Ridder Arena Oct. 11-12.
“The Association looks forward to putting another highly-competitive product on the ice in 2013-14,” said WCHA associate commissioner Sara R. Martin. “I have no doubt this coming season’s league race will be one of the most intriguing yet.”
The Gophers host a pair of exhibition games against Team Japan on Thursday, Sept. 26 and the University of British Columbia on Friday, Sept. 27. Admission is free to both games.