After answering a few questions about her two-goal game Saturday, Gophers center Kelly Terry stood in the back of the room, listening to freshman wing Dani Cameranesi being interviewed. When her new linemate and sort-of senior project finished talking, Terry acted amazed, saying, “Hey, the freshman’s got skills!”
She does, and Terry has been handed the responsibility of helping to convert them into goals for the top-ranked and unbeaten Gopher women’s hockey team, which extended its winning streak to 53 games with a 2-0 shutout of Wisconsin. Amanda Leveille recorded her first shutout of the season — Wisconsin’s only near-goal was waved off when replays showed it hit the post and didn’t cross the goal line — and the Gophers, who haven’t lost a game since February 2012, improved to 4-0, beating Wisconsin for the eighth straight time.
It’s no accident that Minnesota coach Brad Frost surrounded Terry with a pair of highly rated recruits, Cameranesi of Plymouth and Kate Schipper of Brooklyn Park, on one of the faster lines in the WCHA. In addition to complementary hockey skills, Frost wants some of Terry’s senior-year savvy to rub off on the 18-year-olds. Even in the interview room.
“Kelly was just a continuous leader out there,” Frost said of the Ontario native, who has played in 121 games as a Gopher. “She’s communicating to them, both on the ice and off the ice, as well.”
And after some missed opportunities, the three of them helped the Gophers a lot Saturday. Terry scored the game’s only goals, Cameranesi assisted on both, and they both credited Schipper for helping to create scoring chances.
“It’s awesome. Two freshmen, they have a lot of energy,” Terry said. “We have similar styles of play. We like to use our speed, and once we get it deep in their end, I feel we do a great job” of creating turnovers and scrambles in front of the net.
Not that there weren’t some stressful moments; the players still are learning each other’s games, after all. So on a rush to the net in the first period, Schipper stole the puck and shoveled it to Terry standing astride the net. “I guess she caught me off guard,” Terry said, because she hesitated with the puck on her stick, 18 inches from the goal, for a moment too long.
She didn’t make the same mistake in the third period, though, when Cameranesi tried a straight-on wrist shot from 20 feet out. Again the puck landed at Terry’s feet, and this time she batted it into the goal in one fluid motion. It was the 36th goal of her Gopher career — but just the first for the Terry-and-the-Kids line. Eight minutes later, defenseman Baylee Gillanders took a pass from Cameranesi and unleashed another shot in traffic, and Terry deflected it home to put the game out of reach.
“It’s not like we’ve been stale or anything. It’s just a little bit of luck,” Terry said of the end of her goal drought. “I was joking around with my linemates — I feel like now that we’ve got our first one, we might just keep going. I hope it stays like that.”
So do the Gophers.