Cameranesi heating up late in the year

The junior forward leads the team in points this season with 67 in 35 games.

by Emily Polglaze

Dani Cameranesi is hesitant to throw a spotlight on herself.
The junior forward often deflects praise onto her teammates, leaving out her own impact on the team. 
“She’s an incredible competitor and one of our hardest workers, both in practice and in games,” said head coach Brad Frost. “She went from a player who’s kind of a grinder and banging things home to a player that has that fast, physical game but can finish at a high level also.”
Cameranesi leads the Gophers in points this season with 67 — nine more than the Gophers all-time leading scorer senior forward Hannah Brandt.
Her 32 goals in 35 games are the fourth-highest total in the nation, and she also leads the country with 13 power-play goals.
Her scoring prowess made her one of 10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award this year, the top individual honor in college women’s hockey.
“It’s just how things have happened,” Cameranesi said. “Throughout the summers, I work out and do things on and off the ice to hopefully have a good year, and things have been working out pretty well.”
Cameranesi was also a top-10 finalist for the award last year, when she was second on the Gophers in points with 65.
She tallied 23 goals and 42 assists and was named a second team All-American.
A year later, she hasn’t slowed down.
Cameranesi has shifted around the lineup lately after the return of senior forward Amanda Kessel in February.
For a few games, she played with Kessel and Brandt, but Frost then broke up the line and placed Cameranesi with sophomore center Kelly Pannek and junior forward Kate Schipper on Feb. 13 at Duluth.
Frost said the change has essentially given the Gophers two first lines, and in five games together Cameranesi, Pannek and Schipper have combined for 26 points.
Cameranesi leads the line with 11 of those points.
“We never thought that we’d be a line, but we’ve clicked instantly and have developed so fast,” Pannek said. “[Cameranesi] just has that ability to terrorize defenders, whether that’s with her physicality or with skill, so that’s definitely not something we shy away from.”
Frost said while Cameranesi is not a very vocal leader, he’s seen her become more confident leading the charge on the second line.
Her performance has reflected that so far. As the postseason forges on, Cameranesi seems to be playing at her best.
“We’ve been playing in games all year, and we know what we need to do to win,” Cameranesi said. “We all know our roles, so it’s really just keeping things simple and playing the way that we know how to play.”