Women’s hockey WCHA favorite; Brandt, Cameranesi preseason favorites

Betsy Helfand

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) released its annual preseason coaches' poll Thursday, and the Gophers are predicted to win the conference. The back-to-back national champions received seven out of eight first place votes; head coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams. Wisconsin received the other first place vote.  

Minnesota has not lost since Feb. 17, 2012. Since that day, it has won 49 games and two national championships. The Gophers completed a perfect season last year with a 6-3 win over Boston University for the NCAA title on March 24, 2013.

Sophomore forward Hannah Brandt was voted the preseason WCHA Player of the Year. She finished last season with 82 points, second in the country only to linemate Amanda Kessel, who will be competing for Team USA this season. Brandt was last year's WCHA Rookie of the Year and was a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top-10 Finalist.

Dani Cameranesi was voted the preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year. Cameranesi, a freshman from Plymouth, Minn. was named 2013 Minnesota Ms. Hockey. She scored 57 goals and recorded 38 assists last season at Blake School. 

The Gophers will play exhibition games against Team Japan and Team British Columbia next week before kicking off their regular season against Colgate on Oct. 4.