MINNEAPOLIS — Freshman Dani Cameranesi scored the first and last goals and added an assist as Minnesota defeated Princeton 6-0 in the two team’s first meeting since the 2006 NCAA tournament.
The Gophers (16-1-0, 11-1-0 WCHA) took a few minutes to get going and the Tigers (5-5-2, 4-4-1 ECAC) had an early 5-4 edge in shots on goal.
By the end of the second period, the hosts had swung that statistic to 31-7 and led 4-0 on the scoreboard.
“We started a little slow, a little sluggish,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said. “We’ve got four different lines out there tonight than we’ve had normally and I think that was part of it. I thought we made some great adjustments in the second period and played exceptionally well, hemming them in their zone and getting those goals.”
The Tigers were called for the only penalty of the first period and Minnesota took advantage.
As the power play was coming to an end, Hannah Brandt centered to Meghan Lorence and goalie Kimberly Newell stopped her quick shot, but Cameranesi snuck the rebound inside the post on her second attempt to put the Gophers up at 18:39.
“I thought the puck was going to hop over my stick,” Cameranesi said. “I got the second whack at it and I saw her glove come over and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I had my head down, but luckily it just tipped the top and went in.”
Seniors Bethany Brausen, Sarah Davis and Kelly Terry scored in a nine-minute span of the second period to put the game out of reach.
“The second period, we pretty much gave them all three goals,” Princeton coach Jeff Kampersal said. “That’s not to take away from Minnesota is a great team, certainly well-coached. They have some kids that can absolutely fly out there, but we gave them two goals right away and once that happened, the wheels started to fall off.”
Brausen snapped in a feed from Terry with a couple of minutes gone, Davis beat everyone around the edge and found the five-hole two-and-a-half minutes later and Terry scored off of a pass from Cameranesi.
Brandt sniped on a rush before Cameranesi and Lorence combined on a double deflection midway through the third period to complete the scoring.
“They have like three first lines, so when we’re back in the East, all three of their lines could be first lines for any of the teams that we play,” Kampersal said. “They definitely have a lot of depth.”
The three top lines scored for the Gophers as they experimented with new combinations.
“We’ve been kind of practicing with these lines all week, but last weekend, they were also different,” Lorence said. “It just kind of took us a little bit to get in the rhythm of things and get used to the new linemates, but later on in the game, we started communicating a little better.”
All nine forwards on those lines had at least a point. Terry’s line with Cameranesi and Brausen accounted for four goals and a pair of assists.
“It seemed like we were having a different hero with regards to lines each night,” Frost said. “We wanted to try to find more consistency up and down up and down our lineup. I thought we’d give it a try and I thought it worked pretty well tonight.”
Amanda Leveille stopped all 11 shots to gain her fifth shutout of the season.
Newell registered 35 saves before yielding to Ashley Holt, who stopped all seven chances in her minutes.
“In the first period, we only had five shots on goal, but I thought four of them were quality shots,” Kampersal said. “When we had pressure, we were able to get a couple cycles, throw a puck to the point a couple times, but for whatever reason, everything changed quickly.”
The series concludes on Sunday at 1:07 p.m. CST inside Ridder Arena.
“They’re big, strong, a couple of defensemen are shifty and do a real nice job of spinning away and advancing the puck on their breakout,” Frost said of the Tigers. “Love to use the weak side of the ice. They didn’t generate as much offensively tonight, but I’m sure they’ll do that tomorrow.”