Girls Hockey: Blake stands over Red Wing in ranked battleFuture Golden Gopher Dani Cameranesi nets a hat trick, putting third-ranked Blake past second-ranked Red Wing 4-2 on Saturday
By: Joe Brown, The Republican Eagle
A day after losing by a goal to No. 5-ranked (2A) Eden Prairie, the Blake School’s girls hockey team had a bit of a gut check.
After such a tough loss Friday, the No. 3-ranked (1A) Bears didn’t have much time to dwell when they traveled to No. 2 Red Wing on Saturday.
“I think (the Eden Prairie loss) gave us a big shot of reality,” said Blake head coach Shawn Reid. “We’re not as good as we thought we were. Eden Prairie outplayed us, and we knew we had to be ready for (Saturday) because Red Wing is very powerful. They have high-scoring talent.”
The Wingers and Bears played to a 2-2 tie after two periods before Dani Cameranesi scored two of her three goals in the third period, pushing Blake to a 4-2 victory and putting Red Wing into the loss column for the first time this season.
“This is a learning experience,” said Wingers senior defenseman Paige Haley. “We need games like this to realize we’re not the best team in the state. We’re very humble and I think this was a humbling experience for us.”
Early on, Red Wing (11-1) looked primed for another home victory when Nicole Schammel scooped up a rebound off a Kayla Oberding shot and put the puck in the back of the net for the 1-0 lead with 1 minute, 25 seconds left in the first period.
In the second period, the Wingers thought they had gotten another goal past Bears goaltender Tori Johnson, but the puck bounced out and Blake regrouped. Racing down the ice, Cameranesi capitalized on the calamity to tie the game at 1-1.
Keeping the pressure on in the second period, the Bears (8-1-2) went up 2-1 when Kate Fraley blasted a shot from the point, beating Red Wing goalie Ashley Corcoran for a power-play goal.
With defenseman Hailee Johnson missing the game due to illness, the Wingers were strapped on the blue line and Blake’s depth took advantage, outshooting Red Wing 33-15 in the final two periods.
“We struggled a little bit. I struggled with the line matchups,” said Wingers head coach Scott Haley. “They can throw a third (line) out there, and it seemed like they were getting the third line out there a little more.”
With 5:05 left in the second, Schammel tied the game with a sharp wrist shot off a pass from Reagan Haley. Emily Stegora also had an assist on the goal.
“It’s very difficult,” Reid said of defending the Wingers’ offense. “You have to pick your poison. We didn’t focus on one player, we just focused on team concepts and I think that’s what helped.”
Cameranesi, who signed with the University of Minnesota, quickly gave the lead back to Blake at 13:56, rounding up the deflected puck to put the Bears up 3-2.
Paige Haley came in the game knowing what to expect from Cameranesi. Also a future Golden Gopher, Haley said she has played with the Bears senior in the offseason since about sixth grade. But that didn’t make the task of stopping Cameranesi any easier.
“I was trying to keep her in front of me, take her body and pick up her stick,” Paige Haley said. “But she’s a strong girl and she’s really fast. Sometimes she gets the edge on you and you have to deal with what you’re given.”
With 5:47 left in the game, Cameranesi added an insurance goal, cementing the Blake victory. Cameranesi ranks second in the state in goals (23) and points (38), trailing only Schammel in both categories (25 goals, 50 points).
“That one is something special,” Scott Haley said of Cameranesi. “It was our job to keep her off the board. We figured we could give her one, but not three.”
Falling for the first time this season, the Wingers know there isn’t any time to dwell on Saturday’s loss. Red Wing heads to Farmington for a Missota Conference contest on Tuesday before facing Breck, last year’s state Class 1A state champions, on Saturday in Golden Valley.
In last season’s state semifinals, Breck, ranked fifth in Class 1A, beat the Wingers 8-4 before defeating South St. Paul 3-2 in the state championship.
“We just shook it off. A team had to lose out there tonight,” Paige Haley said. “There were moments where we felt really even with them, even felt better than them. And I’m sure they felt the same way. It is what it is, and we’re a team that doesn’t dwell on anything. We’re learning from this loss more than anything.”