They Want My Poll: Media poll, USCHO poll picks from yours truly

Would you like me to show you my soul, I mean, poll?

I apologize for that terrible pun in the title but it gives me the bad excuse to post a Spoon song in this post. So what that video (the album is called “They Want My Soul”… I know, just bear with me and like my favorite band, OK?) and follow me afterwards for my media poll picks (as well as my USCHO poll pick… I’m a voter this season).

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WCHA coaches, media pick Minnesota State as No. 1

The WCHA coaches conference call is starting now. With that, both my Bemidji Pioneer preseason media poll and Shane Frederick’s Mankato Free Press coaches poll will be released

Here’s the press release for both polls. I’ll have more later, but here you go:

2014-15 Bemidji Pioneer WCHA Men’s Hockey Preseason Media Poll

Rk           Team (1st place votes)          Points
1.            Minnesota State (23)                  256
2.            Ferris State (4)                               226
3.            Bowling Green                               180
4.            Michigan Tech                                178
5.            Alaska                                                163
6.            Alaska Anchorage                         128
7.            Northern Michigan                       112
8.            Bemidji State                                  101
9.            Lake Superior State                        60
10.          Alabama Huntsville                         26

Predicted order of finish. Based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year
Matt Leitner, Sr., F, Minnesota State

Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year
Mark Friedman, D, Bowling Green

Preseason All-WCHA Team

Forwards
Tyler Morley, Jr., Alaska; Jean-Paul LaFontaine, Sr., Minnesota State; Matt Leitner, Sr., Minnesota State

Defensemen
Colton Parayko, Jr., Alaska; Shane Hanna, So., Michigan Tech

Goaltender
C.J. Motte, Sr., Ferris State

Participants
Jack Hittinger, Bemidji Pioneer; Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press; Tim O’Donnell, Fairbanks News-Miner; Jerry Taylor, ABC 10 UP sports director; Geof Morris, UAH Hockey.com; Michael Napier, UAH Hockey.com; Drew Evans, BGSU Hockey.com; Bruce Cech, Alaska Nanooks radio play-by-play; Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey; Kevin Kurtt, Let’s Play Hockey Magazine; George Sipple, Detroit Free Press; Kurt Haider, Alaska-Anchorage radio play-by-play; Kevin Gordon, BGSU Hockey.com; Ryan Steig,Marquette Daily Mining Journal; Mike Sullivan, Minnesota State radio play by play; Greg Buckner, Big Rapids Pioneer; Scott Williams, Lakeland Sports & KBUN Bemidji; Ryan Satkowiak, Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune; Justin Bradford, Penalty Box Radio Nashville; John Wagner, Toledo Blade; Dave Danis, Northern Michigan radio play by play; Brian Halverson, Minnesota Hockey Magazine; Lee Benson, Lakeland Public TV sports director; David Tuttle, Alaska-Anchorage color commentator; Rob Roos, Sault Ste. Marie Evening News; Brandon Veale, The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton)

2014-15 Mankato Free Press WCHA Men’s Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Rk           Team (1st place votes)          Points
1.            Minnesota State (9)                       81
2.            Ferris State (1)                                  67
3.            Michigan Tech                                  64
4.            Bowling Green                                 57
5.            Alaska                                                  44
6.            Northern Michigan                         40
7.            Alaska Anchorage                           38
8.            Bemidji State                                    33
9.            Lake Superior State                        17
10.          Alabama Huntsville                           9

Predicted order of finish. Based on a 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year
C.J. Motte, Sr., G, Ferris State (4 votes)

Others receiving votes: Matt Leitner, Sr., F, Minnesota State (3); Jean-Paul LaFontaine, Sr., F, Minnesota State (1); Scott Allen, Sr., F, Alaska Anchorage (1), Colton Parayko, Jr. D, Alaska (1)

Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year
C.J. Franklin, F, Minnesota State and Brad McClure, F, Minnesota State (4 votes each)

Others receiving votes: Brett Beauvais, D, Bemidji State (1), Oliver Mantha, G, Alaska Anchorage (1)

Preseason All-WCHA Team

Forwards
Tyler Morley, Jr., Alaska; Jean-Paul LaFontaine, Sr., Minnesota State; Matt Leitner, Sr., Minnesota State

Defensemen
Colton Parayko, Jr., Alaska; Zach Palmquist, Sr., Minnesota State

Goaltender
C.J. Motte, Sr., Ferris State

Others receiving votes: Forwards—Scott Allen, Sr., Alaska Anchorage; Blake Tatchell, Jr., Alaska Anchorage; Justin Buzzeo, Sr., Ferris State; David Johnstone, Sr., Michigan Tech; Tanner Kero, Sr., Michigan Tech; Alex Petan, Jr., Michigan Tech; Blake Pietila, Sr., Michigan Tech. Defensemen—Austin Coldwell, Sr., Alaska Anchorage; Matt Prapavessis, Sr., Bemidji State; Jason Binkley, Sr., Ferris State; Shane Hanna, So., Michigan Tech. Goaltenders—Cole Huggins, So., Minnesota State.

Grenier named women’s hockey captain

New BSU captain Kristine Grenier

Senior forward Kristine Grenier has been named the captain of the Bemidji State women’s hockey team for the 2014-15 season.

The Leon, Manitoba, native transferred from Mercyhurst last season. She tied for the team lead with eight goals last season, including three game-winners.

In addition to Grenier, senior Alex Citrowske and junior Steph Anderson were named alternate captains.

Citrowske, from Savage, played in 35 of 36 games in 2013 and tallied a career high 12 points (5g, 7a).

Anderson, a junior from North St. Paul, is also a transfer — she played for the Minnesota Gophers as a freshman. She scored five goals and three assists for BSU last season.

Seeing as how both BSU captains from last season graduated (defensemen Alex Ehlert and Allie Duellman shared co-captaincy duties), I think these three are the perfect choices.

Grenier seemed to take something of a leadership role on offense last season — playing in all 36 games for the Beavers.

The Beavers are set to start practice Saturday in advance of their first series Sept. 26-27 at Robert Morris. Last season the Colonials swept the Beavers in two games in Bemidji.

BEAVER FOOTBALL GAMEDAY: BSU vs. Sioux Falls

Bemidji State finally opens its home season tonight with a tilt against Sioux Falls. The teams are set to kick off at 6 p.m. in the 18th annual Shrine Game.

The Beavers (0-1) are hoping for something good after a somewhat shaky game at Wayne State in which they were statistically even on the scoreboard yet lost bu three touchdowns, 35-13.

The Cougars, on the other hand, routed Minot State 41-14 in their opener, racking up nearly 500 yards of offense (497 to be exact) and used a two-quarterback rotation to batter the Beavers.

This week BSU will have to be on the lookout for a stout Sioux Falls defense which gave up just one score — a 52-yard pass. According to Matt Zimmer of the Argus-Leader, both USF quarterbacks (Luke Papilion and Matt Young) could potentially see lots of playing time in today’s game.

The Beavers will also be looking for a more consistent game from starting quarterback Jordan Hein, who threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns last weekend but also struggled to start and end the game, throwing two interceptions.

Read my preview story for today’s game here.

Below, here are the projected No. 1 players for today’s game. Interestingly: The Beavers don’t have tight end listed on the depth chart this week. Weather that means they won’t be using one or not remains to be seen, but instead they’ve opted to list for WRs instead of three WRs and a TE. Might not mean much, but it’s still intriguing.

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From the other side: Matt Zimmer on Sioux Falls football

The Beavers will host Sioux Falls Saturday in their home opener under the lights at Chet Anderson Stadium.

I’m excited, because I actually have something to cover. (It was a long summer.)

Anyway, to preview said game on the blog I’m going to do something new.

Matt Zimmer, who is in the running for the No. 1 Replacements fan I know, also happens to cover Sioux Falls and Augustana for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

He suggested exchanging Q&A’s with me in advance of this week’s game, and that sounded like a great idea. So I sent him five questions, his answers to which you can find below. I also answered five of his questions, which are up on his blog. I inadvertently wrote a new translation of War and Peace for each question so fair warning. But they’re over there if you’re interested.

So anyway, look after the jump for his answers to my questions. I’ll try and be back here Saturday to post projected starters and other tidbits that don’t make my preview story.

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BEAVER GAMEDAY 2014: BSU at Wayne State

My apologies that this is late. I planned on having this up early this morning but life got in the way.

The Beavers kick off in Wayne, Neb. (or Wayne, America, as the town’s Wikipedia page puts it…) in 20 minutes.

Here’s my preview of today’s game in the paper. A previously reported, Jordan Hein will start at quarterback.

Below, you’ll find the projected starters for both teams plus some Wayne State-related links.

Find the game on the radio at 92.1 The River in Bemidji or streaming on Beaver Radio Network. There’s also a video stream available here.

Depth Charts
Bemidji State
Offense
Pos, Name, Ht., Wt., Yr
LT Matt Valentine (6-4, 305, So)
LG Brandon Schindler (6-5, 303, Fr)
C Jesse Hein (6-0, 302, So)
RG Ben Johnson (6-1, 314, So)
RT Dustin Dowd (6-3, 310, Sr)
QB Jordan Hein (6-1, 201, TR-Fr)
WR Blake Holder (6-2, 198, RS-Fr)
WR Brady Schmidt (5-9, 182, So)
WR AJ Washington (5-7, 180, Sr)
WR Jordan Noskowiak (6-3, 216, Jr)
RB Tony Peterson (5-11, 192, Jr)
FB Evan Olson (5-10, 230, Sr)
TE Tucker Forsgren (6-4, 255, RS-Fr)
Defense
Pos, Name, Ht., Wt., Yr
DE JJ Reinke (6-5, 275, Sr)
NT Chris Ostby (6-4, 295, Jr)
DE Dan Kiebler (6-2, 265, Sr)
OLB Connor Quinn (6-1, 235, Jr)
ILB Justin Gedaly (6-0, 210, RS-Fr)
ILB Colton Blasyk (6-0, 218, RS-Fr)
OLB Greg Button (6-2, 216, Jr)
CB Evan Tompkins (6-0, 185, RS-Fr)
S Dylan Valentine (5-10, 195, Sr)
S Scott Christensen (5-11, 205, Sr)
CB Troy Beckett (5-11, 195, So)
Special Teams
K Kyle Fodness (5-10, 180, TR-So)
H Ryan Shields (6-1, 181, So)
P Chais Wakefield (5-10, 175, Sr)
LS Nick Daniello (6-1, 198, Fr)
KR Brady Schmidt
KR Ralph Biah (6-8, 175, Jr)
PR Kameel Al-Khouri (5-11, 195, So)

Wayne State
Offense
LT Shane Finley, 6-5, 280, So.
LG Ryan Porter, 6-2, 275, So.
C Austin Heesacker, 6-3, 275, Sr.
RG Taylor Jensen, 6-3, 285, Jr.
RT Wyatt Schuettler, 6-6, 275, Jr.
WR 4 Adam Stark, 6-1, 190, Sr.
WR 19 Cole McDaniel, 6-4, 210, Sr.
FB Chad Koch, 6-0, 230, Sr.
RB Rashad Trimble, 6-0, 215, So.
QB Zach Osborn, 6-1, 195, So.
TE Joe Trouba, 6-6, 250, Sr.
Defense
DE Jeff Van Den Top, 6-6, 255, Sr.
DT Shawn Barker, 5-10, 295, Jr.
DE Abram Walker, 6-3, 265, Sr.
OLB Zach Bierman, 6-3, 195, Jr.
MLB Nick Monzu, 6-0, 210, Sr.
MLB Tyson McGill, 6-0, 230, Sr.
OLB Nate Scott, 6-3, 205, Jr.
CB J’Ron Erby, 6-0, 190, Sr.
SS Chase Samuel, 6-0, 190, Sr.
FS Payton Doramus, 6-3, 205, Jr.
CB Jon Davis, 6-0, 180, Jr.
Special Teams
K Tyler Lindsay, 5-11, 165, So.
H Nick Roth, 6-0, 190, So.
P Colton Hough, 6-0, 215, Fr.
LS Colby Dostal, 5-10, 215, Jr.
KR/PR Tyri Bethea, 6-0, 185, R-Fr.
KR/PR Jonathan Parks, 6-1, 180, Jr.
Snapper Tony Gbogbo, 6-2, 295, So.

Previewing the Wildcats:

FOOTBALL: Jordan Hein named starting quarterback for opener at Wayne State

Real quick, because our paper was jam-packed with local news and I didn’t have room for this, but Jordan Hein has been named starting quarterback for Saturday’s football opener at Wayne State.

BSU quarterback Jordan Hein during practice earlier this season.

“It’s very exciting,” Hein said. “It’s never easy being a redshirt and not being able to play your first year but I’m just anxious to get back on the field.”

The Perham native transferred from Northern Iowa in the spring. He didn’t make any collegiate starts for the Panthers but it sounds like BSU is a much better fit for him.

Beavers’ head coach Jeff Tesch said he gave Hein the nod over sophomore Ryan Shields partly because of Hein’s ability to make things happen with his legs.

“There’s a lot of intangibles as far as what Wayne State is going to allow us to do, what Jordan brings to the table,” Tesch said. “Some of the lanes and stunts and line front games that Wayne State does leaves some openings for a quarterback to run. And Jordan, with his ability to run, we think he can get some production with his feet and his arm.”

Look for more on this later (I hope to run a preview story for Saturday’s game in Saturday’s paper).

The game is st to kick off at 1 p.m. at Wayne State’s Bob Cunningham Field.

September updates: Leonhardt, Bucky, women’s hockey

It’s been nearly a month (yikes!) since I updated this space, but it was mostly a leisurely one for me. Aside from having my wisdom teeth pulled (which was about as fun as one can have while being drugged in a chair for two hours) I took a handful of vacation days.

Which doesn’t quite excuse my lack of posting here, but it’s the one I’m sticking with.

Anyway, there hasn’t been a whole lot going on that hasn’t appeared in the print edition of the Pioneer, but here’s a few things I may have missed form across the Bemidji State athletics spectrum:

  • As you probably know, former Bemidji State tight end Brian Leonhardt made the Oakland Raiders’ 53-man roster this past weekend. In the story I said that BSU head coach Jeff Tesch thought Leonhardt was the first Beaver to make an NFL roster. I also wasn’t sure, but it turns out that’s not exactly true: Leonhardt is indeed the first of Tesch’s players in 19 years to make an NFL roster, but he isn’t the first BSU player. According to Brad Folkstad at in BSU Sports Information, Al Wolden played in three games for the Chicago Bears at running back in 1987.
    The Beavers have also had two NFL draft picks (T Dean Widseth to the Bears in 1946 and TE John Redebaugh to the Browns in 1970) as well as an AFL draft pick (C Dave Odegaard 1966 to the Houston Oilers) but it doesn’t appear that any of them played in any game action.
    The Raiders open the season this Sunday at New York. I’m not sure how much Leonhardt will play but if he gets in the game it looks like he’ll be just the second BSU Beaver to see live game action in a regular-season game.
    (Again, if I missed anyone that you know of, drop me a line.)
  • Bucky The Beaver won the mascot edition of Let’s Play Hockey Magazine’s 2014 Hockey Hotdish Tournament; which was a summer contest that had readers vote on various aspects of the “State Of Hockey.” Bucky eventually lost in the final four to the Duluth Heritage Sports Center, which was the eventual champion. But Bucky did beat out Goldy Gopher and Champ the Bulldog en route to the final four, so either people really like Bucky or everyone else just hates the Gophers as much as we think they do. (Although if you note Bob Peters somehow lost to Bob Johnson in the coaches bracket, take these votes with a grain of salt.)
  • As pointed out to me by BSU hockey superfan Brent Cizek, the BSU women’s team got a transfer from Minnesota-Duluth in Bailey Wright. The sophomore forward from Anchorage, Alaska, played in 30 games for the Bulldogs and scored 3 goals to go along with 2 assists last season.
  • BSU’s Community Appreciation Day is tomorrow from 4:30-6:30 p.m.. We’ll have a booth. I plan on being there for at least a little while so if you want to drop b y and talk BSU football, hockey or anything else I’d love to chat.

BSU men release roster; women land two for 2015

BSU’s 2014-15 roster is finally out, with a few surprises.

It turns out in my last blog post I was right: Not all 11 of the recruits I had seen listed as coming are actually coming in 2014. Instead, just eight freshman are joining the team this season.

Most surprisingly, though, is who’s not on the team.

In addition to the three graduating seniors (Radoslav Illo, Matt Hartmann and Jeff Jubinville), there are three other names not on the 2014-15 roster: forwards Danny Mattson and Brad Robbins and defenseman DJ Jones.

I’ve confirmed with BSU people that all three are no longer part of the program.

Neither Jones nor Robbins played a whole ton this season and combined for two points, but Mattson, who would be a senior this season, had 16 points in 33 games and was tied for second on the team with 14 assists.

It will be interesting to see where Mattson lands. He’s a useful winger who can distribute the puck well, so I suspect some team will be able to use him on a third or fourth line.

As for the incoming recruits, Beavers fans will be very pleased to see Myles, Leo and Gerry Fitzgerald finally on an official BSU roster. The trtiplets have been much anticipated since verballing with BSU two years ago.

Also coming this fall is former Bemidji Lumberjack Jordan Heller. As I’ve mentioned before, Heller will be the first former Lumberjack to suit up in green and white since Brad Johnson.

Rounding out that list are goaltender Michael Bitzer (which will give BSU four goalies next season… a little unusual), defenseman Brett Beauvais and forwards Kyle Bauman and Jay Dickman.

Pair of Prowlers commit to BSU

Jim Scanlan hasn’t spent much time behind the Bemidji State bench but he already has a head start on the 2015 season.

Thief River Fall rising seniors Emily Bergland and Sylvia Marolt verbally committed to BSU for the 2015 season.

Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald interviewed their coach, Corey Poole, earlier today and said the two actually committed to BSU while head coach Steve Sertich was still the head coach but didn’t publicize their commitment until now.

Still, Scanlan coached against both girls last year when he was behind the bench at East Grand Forks. I’m sure he’ll be glad to see his former foes on his bench instead.

Bergland tallied 28 goals and 51 points in 26 games for TRF while Marolt had 14 goals and 32 points in 25 games.

The Prowlers finished 24-2 and were one of just two teams to beat Scanlan’s East Grand Forks team last season. They beat the Green Wave twice but lost to them 2-1 in the Section 8A semifinal. The game went to double overtime; EGF eventually took second in the state after losing to Breck.

Women’s roster released; expanded replay criteria approved for 2014-15 season

Just a quick FYI: The BSU women’s team has posted its roster for the 2014-15 season already.

Looks like the only significant losses were the six graduating seniors. Also not on the roster this season is D Kenzie Menzak. Menzak, who transferred to BSU from Plattsburgh State, only appeared in two games last season.

As for the newcomers, there are seven freshman joining the program this year: D Riley Fawcett (Proctor); F Ciscely Nelson (Roseau); D Emma Terres (New Hope); D Alexis Joyce (Lakeville); F Summer Thibodeau (Maple Grove); D Alewx Bond (Barrie, Ont.) and G Hannah Paulson (Maple Grove).

That almost exactly replaces positions the Beavers needed with the departures they had last season (two forwards, a goalie and a bunch of defenseman).

Former head coach Steve Sertich knew what he needed to replace and it looks like he did a good job bringing in a bunch of instate talent. I don’t think new head coach Jim Scanlan will be bringing in anyone knew at this late date but there may be one or two uncommitted players out there that could walk on and add to the roster.

News NCAA rules approved

Nothing major, but the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a few changes Friday, especially to the way replays are handled in men’s and women’s college hockey.

Basically, there are a few more scenarios where officials can review goals:

-Refs can review a goal to see if it was scored before a penalty

-A scoring play can be reviewed if an offside or too many men penalty is missed to see when the puck was in the offensive zone

-The NCAA also clarified that video for replays can come from anywhere. Before the video was required to come from the TV broadcast.

The rest of the rules are somewhat dull (like the size of goal pegs and penalty shot and faceoff procedure).

Also, there’s an experimental rule for women’s hockey only which allows the puck to be played legally with a high stick.