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WCHA 2015-16 Women’s Season Preview

Eight talented teams prepare to drop the puck on a new season

(MHM Photo / Brent Cizek)
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Minnesota senior forward Hannah Brandt (MHM Photo / Brent Cizek)

Minnesota senior forward Hannah Brandt (MHM Photo / Brent Cizek)

MINNESOTA

Coach:  Brad Frost, 9th season

Last season: 34-3-4, won third national championship in last four years and won WCHA regular season title (22-2-4-2, 72 pts.)

Key losses: All American defenseman Rachel Ramsey and forward Rachael Bona were among four graduated seniors who won 147 games and three national titles.

Key returnees: Minnesota senior forward Hannah Brandt (34g-40a=74pts), the two-time defending WCHA Player of the Year, a first-team All-American and a top-3 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, was picked by league coaches as the Preseason Player of the Year. Brandt, along with second-team All-American (and U.S. teammate from the 2015 World Championships) Dani Cameranesi (23g-42a=65pts) join with WCHA All-Rookie team selection Kelly Pannek (14g-30a=44pts) to give the Gophers some of the league’s most dynamic scorers. Amanda Leveille, who last year ranked second nationally with a .946 save percentage and has spent time this summer with the Canadian National Team, is a veteran presence in goal. Lee Stecklein, a second-team All-American last year and veteran of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team,  anchors a blue line corps which also includes Milica McMillen and Sydney Baldwin.

Top newcomers: Freshman forward Sarah Potomak received the most coaches’ votes for WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year, while Frost said he expects defenseman Sophie Skarzynski and forward Taylor Williamson to contribute as well in their rookie seasons.

Outlook: The Gophers are the preseason coaches’ choice to win another WCHA title and go into the season ranked No. 1 in the country by USCHO.com.


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