Future of NCAA Women's Hockey in Good Hands with State of Minnesota

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Future of NCAA Women's Hockey in Good Hands with State of Minnesota
Star Tribune 2013 All-Metro First Team, Left to right: Paige Haley, Sydney Rossman, Kelly Pannek, Dani Cameranesi, Sydney Baldwin and Amy Menke. (Photo by Renee Jones-Schneider, Obtained from http://www.startribune.com/sports/191754131.html?refer=y)

When it comes to feeding the NCAA with hockey players, the state of Minnesota is like a power plant producing elite hockey talent.

Of the ten semifinalists for the 2013 Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award, all have committed to NCAA schools.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers benefited the most, having gained commitments from five of the ten semifinalists. As the Gophers went 34-0-0 during the 2012-13 regular season, these five recruits will make the squad a preseason favorite next autumn.

Dani Cameranesi, the winner of the 2013 Award, headlines the group of five. A four-time All-State selection, she will join Hannah Brandt and Bethany Brausen as the other Ms. Hockey Award Winners on the Golden Gophers.

Paige Haley, an offensive minded defender with Red Wing, logged 54 points. She will be counted on to replace the Gophers outgoing team captain, Megan Bozek.

Following Cameranesi and Haley are three forwards: Kate Flug (logged 48 points for Roseville), Kate Schipper (provided Breck with 45 points) and Megan Wolfe (40 point scorer with Eagan).

With the graduation of the Lamoureux sisters, Jocelyne and Monique, the North Dakota Fighting Sioux are banking their future on three of the Ms. Hockey semifinalists.

Warroad teammates Kayla Gardner and Lisa Marvin (cousin of Vancouver Winter Games silver medalist Gigi Marvin) headline the trio. Among two of the leading high school scorers in the state, Gardner and Marvin will be counted upon to provide offensive punch to North Dakota. Joining them will be Amy Menke, who produced 55 points at Shakopee.

The remaining semifinalists were teammates at Minnetonka. Despite their high school roots, Laura Bowman and Sidney Morin are going in very different directions.

Bowman will be joining the Penn State Nittany Lions in the College Hockey America conference. Having logged 40 points for Minnetonka, she will be counted upon to help a Penn State program going into its second season.

Sidney Morin, a stay-at-home defender, will be staying in the state to pursue her NCAA career. She will be joining the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. In playing for Shannon Miller, Morin will be playing for a coach that has won five NCAA Frozen Four titles.

Not to be forgotten is goaltender Sydney Rossman of Minnetonka High School. The winner of the 2013 Minnesota Let’s Play Hockey Senior Goaltender of the Year, she logged a 16-3 record with a 0.937 save percentage, complemented by a 1.30 goals against average. Her season ended on a sparkling nine-game winning streak.

Having committed to the Quinnipiac Bobcats, she will compete for the starting goaltender job left vacant by outgoing senior Victoria Vigilanti.

Among the Minneapolis Star Tribune First Team All-Stars for high school women’s hockey, the two junior players, Kelly Pannek and Sydney Baldwin, should be among the favorites for the 2014 Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award.

Pannek is a junior with Benilde-St. Margaret’s and amassed a 76-point campaign on the strength of 31 goals and 45 assists.

The other junior named to the First Team All-Stars was defender Sydney Baldwin. Having competed for the Under-18 National Team from Finland, she also played with Rossman at Minnetonka. With 28 points in 23 games, she has an ability to create offense and will be a highly recruited player among NCAA schools looking to bolster their blue line.

While other areas in the US like Wisconsin and Massachusetts have earned reputations as hotbeds for women’s hockey, Minnesota has consistently provided the NCAA with top level talent for close to two decades. Following in the footsteps of homegrown talent such as Winny Brodt, Ronda Curtin, Gigi Marvin, Natalie Darwitz and Krissy Wendell, these ten titanic talents will proudly carry their legacies in the seasons to come.

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