EDINA, Minn. – March 2, 2016 – As has been the case throughout the 2015-16 season, the final month of the season featured a bevy of standout performance throughout the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Today, the WCHA recognized its award winners for February 2016: Minnesota junior forward Dani Cameranesi (Offensive Player of the Month), Minnesota senior goaltender Amanda Leveille (Defensive Player of the Month) and Wisconsin freshman forward Sam Cogan (Rookie of the Month).
Dani Cameranesi, Jr., F
Minnesota (Plymouth, Minnesota)
Cameranesi, a top-10 finalist for the 2016 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, captured her second straight monthly accolade after leading the WCHA with 14 points, seven goals, 0.88 goals per games and a .269 scoring percentage (seven goals on 26 shots). She also ranked second in the league with 1.75 points per game and was tied for fourth with seven assists, while finishing with a +10 rating. The sophomore from Plymouth, Minn. had at least one point in seven of eight games, including four multi-point contests and two multi-goal efforts – capped by a hat trick (with one assist) in the Gophers' playoff series-clinching win over Ohio State on Feb. 27. Cameranesi assisted on the game-winning goal in Minnesota's 3-0 win over North Dakota to open the month, tallied five points (3g-2a) in a road sweep at Minnesota Duluth, logged a pair of assists in two home wins over then-No. 2 Wisconsin and had a team-high six-point effort (4g-2a) in the Gophers' first round playoff sweep of Ohio State. Minnesota finished the month with a 7-0-1 mark and will open March by participating in the 2016 WCHA Final Face-Off semifinals. For the season, Cameranesi – the WCHA's regular season scoring champion – ranks third in goals (32), goals per game (0.91), and points per game (1.91), fourth in points (67), fifth in assists (35), and sixth in assists per game (1.00) among NCAA players. Her 13 power-play goals and .258 scoring percentage lead the nation as well.
Also nominated: Ashleigh Brykaliuk, Jr., F, Minnesota Duluth (tied for WCHA lead with seven goals and ranked second with 13 points, helping UMD to a Final Face-Off berth); Amy Menke, Jr., F, North Dakota (led No. 8 UND with 11 points on five goals and six assists, while recording a +11 rating and team-high 41 shots for the Final Face-Off semifinalist); Annie Pankowski, So., F, Wisconsin (Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top-10 finalist led UW with 11 points off four goals and team-high seven assists, along with +7 rating); Kaitlyn Tougas, Sr., F, Bemidji State (helped BSU cap a historic regular season by leading the Beavers with 10 points off four goals and six assists, along with a +7 rating).
Amanda Leveille, Sr., G
Minnesota (Kingston, Ontario)
In a league full of fantastic goaltenders, Leveille's efforts during February stood above, as the senior paced all NCAA netminders with a .961 save percentage and four shutouts (tied), while leading the WCHA with a 1.02 goals-against average (second nationally). The Kingston, Ontario native backstopped nationally second-ranked Minnesota to a 7-0-1 record and a berth in the 2016 WCHA Final Face-Off, ranking third with 196 saves along the way. Leveille was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week after opening the month with a combined 57-save effort in consecutive shutouts of No. 8 North Dakota (resulting in a win and tie). She earned her second Player of the Week accolades after making a career-best 66 saves on 69 shots faced during the Gophers' sweep of Wisconsin. She wrapped up the month with 46 saves in Minnesota's first round playoff series sweep of Ohio State, capped by a 25-save shutout in the series clincher. Among NCAA goaltenders this season, Leveille's 1.31 goals against average is ranked fourth (second in the WCHA) and her .939 save percentage is eighth (second in the WCHA). At 25-3-1, she has a .879 winning percentage, good for third in the nation and second in the league. Her nine shutouts are fourth in the NCAA and tied for second in the WCHA as well.
Entering the 2016 Final Face-Off, Leveille's career totals stand at 31 shutouts and a 94-8-5 mark. She ranks second in Minnesota history in both career shutouts and career wins, trailing only Noora Raty (114-17-8 with 43 shutouts). Her 1.18 career goals against average is the best in Minnesota history, and her .946 career save percentage ties the Gophers' program record held by Raty. Leveille's 94 wins and 31 shutouts both rank fourth in NCAA history.
Also nominated: Shelby Amsley-Benzie, Sr., G, North Dakota (Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top-10 finalist stopped 175 shots with a .946 save percentage and 1.25 goals-against average, leading No. 8 UND to the Final Face-Off); Ann-Renée Desbiens, Jr., G, Wisconsin (Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top-10 finalist collected four shutouts to run her NCAA single-season record total to 18, ranked second in the WCHA with six wins, and compiled a .929 save percentage and 1.26 GAA); Brittni Mowat, Jr., G, Bemidji State (led the WCHA with 496:05 minutes in February, compiling a 5-2-1 record, .921 save percentage and 1.94 GAA).
Sam Cogan, Fr., F
Wisconsin (Ottawa, Ontario)
Cogan tied for the WCHA lead among freshmen with eight points in February, tallying two goals and four assists to help nationally third-ranked Wisconsin reach the 2016 Final Face-Off, The rookie from Ottawa, Ontario tallied at least a point in five of eight games, while logging a +5 rating (second-best among WCHA freshmen). She saved her best effort for last, keying the Badgers' first round playoff sweep of Minnesota State with a three-point effort (1g-2a). For the season, Cogan is tied for second among WCHA freshmen with 24 points (9g-15a), is third with 0.67 points per game and is tied for the lead with two power-play goals.
Also nominated: Melissa Hunt, Fr., D, Bemidji State (tallied a +3 rating, while adding an assist and seven shots on goal); Anna Kilponen, Fr., D, North Dakota (totaled four assists and a +5 rating, while ending the month on a three-game point streak to help No. 8 UND reach the Final Face-Off).