One reason the Gophers are so dominant in women's hockey this season -- 28-0-0 and ranked No. 1 -- is that coach Brad Frost has recruited well.
He has two amazing forwards in junior Amanda Kessel and freshman Hannah Brandt, linemates who are 1-2 in scoring nationally.
Kessel has 37 goals and 46 assists for 83 points. Brandt, the center on the Gophers' top line, has 26 goals and 41 assists for 67 points.
On the blue line is senior Megan Bozek, second in scoring among defensemen with 13 goals and 28 assists for 41 points.
In the nets is senior Noora Raty. She is second in the nation with a 0.91 goals-against average, first in save percentage at .958 and first in shutouts with 11.
That's a lot of star power. And Frost goes all over to collect it. Kessel is from Madison, Wis., Brandt from Vadnais Heights, Bozek from Buffalo Grove, Ill., and Raty from Espoo, Finland.
Next season's class, which signed in November, is more Minnesota-focused. Six players from the state, including five who are among the 10 semifinals for the Ms. Hockey Award, and one from Illinois, are in the Class of 2013.
The Gophers have signed 13 Ms. Hockeys and have three on the team at the present time: Brandt in 2012, Bethany Brauser in 2010 and Becky Kortum in 2009. ... The only Minnesotan not a Ms. Hockey finalist the Gophers signed fort next season is defenseman Kelsey Cline of Bloomington Jefferson.
Here is a look at the incoming recruiting class:
Dani Cameranesi, 5-5 forward, senior at Blake, lives in Plymouth
* member of the U.S. Under-18 team
* second-leading scorer in metro area with 49 goals and 32 assists for 81 points. .... Bears were 17-5-3 coming into this week
* on varsity since eighth grade, three times all-state
* scored 35 goals as sophomore, 48 last season
* earnedilver medal with Team USA in U18 Women's World Championships in Czech Republic last year
* Brother Tony is a freshman forward for Minnesota Duluth, sister Sam is a member of the Gophers’ dance team
Frost says: "Dani is an incredible player and leader. She has tremendous speed and is relentless on the puck. Dani is very responsible in all three zones and is a complete hockey player.”
Kelsey Cline, 5-6 defenseman, senior at Bloomington Jefferson
* Has played five seasons at the varsity level for Jaguars
* 25 points as sophomore, 33 as junior, 41 so far this season on 20 goals, 21 assists for Jaguars who were 15-9-1 coming into this week
* Played on the Minnesota Junior Whitecaps during the summer
* Four-time All-South Suburban pick
* Attended two USA Hockey Development Camps.
* Frost says: “Kelsey is a very intelligent defenseman. She moves the puck extremely well and will also generate some offense for us.”
Kate Flug, 5-8 forward, senior at Roseville
* Has 28 goals and 52 points this season for Raiders who were 17-7-1 coming into this week
*. As a junior she had 42 goals and 70 points as Raiders finished second in Class 2A state tournament, won state title as freshman
* Five-year varsity player, all-state and all-metro as junior and played for Minnesota Junior Whitecaps
* Earned a silver medal at the 2012 IIHF U-18 women’s world championships in Czech Republic
* Frost says: “Kate continues the Roseville tradition with Gopher Women's Hockey. She has very quick hands and creates scoring opportunities for herself and her line mates. Kate is shifty and has great speed.”
Paige Haley, 5-9 defenseman, senior at Red Wing
* Has 18 goals and a whopping 42 assists for 60 points for Wingers, who were 21-2 coming into this week
* As junior had 33 goals and 71 points, was all-state honorable mention
* Helped Wingers reach the Class 1A state tournament in 2009, 2011 and 2012 and was named to all-tournament team last two times
*. Participated in USA Hockey development camps and played for the Minnesota Junior Whitecaps
* Frost says: “Paige is a strong defenseman with a big shot. She sees the ice well and makes a great first pass. Paige is strong on the puck and will be a very good offensive presence for us on the blueline.”
Sidney Peters, 5-10 goalie, plays for North American Hockey Academy, from Geneva, Ill.
* Competing for five USA National Championships, getting two silver and two bronze nedals
* Earned silver medal with U.S. team at the IIHF U-18 women’s world championships in Czech Republic last year
* Frost says: “Sidney is a nice, big, athletic goaltender. She moves well and anticipates the play. Her experience with the U-18 team will be invaluable as she plays at the next level.”
Kate Schipper, 5-4 forward, senior at Breck, lives in Brooklyn Park
* Has 21 goals and 48 points for Mustangs who were 13-11-1 coming into this week
* Member of the U.S. U18 team the past two years
* .In past four seasons, helped Breck reach three Class 1A state tournament, won state title in 2012
* As junior had Schipper had 33 goals and 57 points, and was all-state
* Earned silver medal with U.S. team at IIHF U-18 women’s world championships in Czech Republic in 2012
* Frost says: “Kate is a smooth skating forward. She sees the ice well and has a very good top speed. Her experience with the U-18 team will be very beneficial to her.”
Megan Wolfe, 5-8 forward, senior at Eagan
* Has 24 goals and 45 points for the Wildcats, who were 15-9-1 coming into this week
* Her Wildcats finished fourth in the 2012 Class 2A state tournament when she had 44 goals and 70 points and was all-state honorable mention
* Has played for Minnesota Junior Whitecaps
* Frost says:“Megan is a big, strong forward who has great skills. She has good vision and a very good release. She is an effortless skater who will do excellent things.”