Confidence, skill help Cameranesi excel

Dani Cameranesi is second in the country in goals scored this season.

Grant Donald

After being named National Rookie of the Year for her performance last season, sophomore forward Dani Cameranesi probably didn’t need another confidence boost.

Regardless, Cameranesi received one when the U.S. national team selected her to compete in November’s Four Nations Cup.

She has been terrorizing opposing defenses since then, racking up nine points in the past month.

“As you look up and down our lineup, she is probably our most consistent player night in and night out,” head coach Brad Frost. “Whether she scores or not, you notice her each and every shift.”

Cameranesi has been scoring, though. She currently sits second in the nation in goals and is tied for fifth in the country in points.

With more than half of the season left, Cameranesi only needs four more goals to match the 19 goals she scored in her freshman campaign.

“Coming in freshman year, I think I kind of lost my confidence a little,” Cameranesi said. “This year, I just became more confident in my role on the team, and … having Hannah Brandt on my line helps a lot.”

The Gophers’ top line has featured Cameranesi and juniors Brandt and Maryanne Menefee for a majority of the season.

While the Gophers have benefited from secondary scoring threats that have emerged recently, it was that top line that carried Minnesota at the beginning of the season.

“They really, aside from maybe one weekend, have been the line that has carried us offensively,” Frost said. “They have great chemistry. They are all different players, and they complement each other very well.”

The sophomore surge that Cameranesi is experiencing didn’t come without putting in the hours throughout the offseason.

“I really focused on my shot. I thought that was an area I could definitely improve on,” Cameranesi said. “I also worked on my strength. Not a lot of my goals are very pretty ones — just kind of battling in front of the net.”

But Frost said the biggest difference this year for Cameranesi is the added confidence that playing for the U.S. national team has brought her.

“When you play with and against the best players and hold your own and score some goals, it only builds confidence in a player,” Frost said.

Cameranesi has also benefited from having a year of college hockey under her belt — something her fellow teammate, Meghan Lorence, also experienced during her sophomore year.

“Going into freshman year, you get kind of scared,” Lorence said. “You don’t really know much about the systems or the players. Just having one year under your belt is very helpful, and it has shown to be helpful to Dani this year.”

The sophomore forward has used last season’s experience to help her this year.

“You look back on the first half of the season and you use it as a guide,” Cameranesi said. “I just need to keep working hard and getting my teammates involved, and I think that will help us reach our end goal of a national championship.”