BEAVERS GAMEDAY: Game 17, BSU vs. Northern Michigan

Bemidji State is back home for the final two games of the season before the holiday break. They’re welcoming the Northern Michigan Wildcats, who are normally stout on defense behind goaltender Mathias Dahlström but last weekend gave up 10 goals against Bowling Green.

Here’s my preview of tonight’s game, as seen in today’s Pioneer. I focused on the Beavers’ special teams, which came on strong last weekend.

Also, if you’re interested, here are my WCHA picks on USCHO.com. I picked a BSU/NMU split but as always I’ll probably be wrong.

I also wrote another feature on Michigan Tech and Minnesota Duluth, who are playing a huge series in Houghton this weekend. So if you’re interested, that’s here.

Thirdly: the No. 9 BSU women’s team is on the road in St. Cloud. It’s their first time away from Bemidji in more than a month and their first time on Olympic ice this season, but the Beavers think the Olympic ice will benefit them due to their improved team speed this year.

Finally, I haven’t seen lines yet but I will share those with you when I get to the Sanford Center. I do know one thing: Forward Brendan Harms will be out at least four weeks with an upper body injury. He’s tied for the team’s scoring lead with Nate Arentz. It’s a tough blow for the Beavers, who are losing a good playmaker. But luckily for them he’ll have the holiday break to recover a bit and not miss too many games.

BSU coach Tom Serratore said freshman Kyle Bauman will take his place in the lineup. Bauman has played well so far so it may be a good opportunity to showcase more of his talents on BSU’s top line.

Check back later for lines. Puck drops at 7:37 p.m.

EDIT: So, this is odd. Dahlström isn’t playing.  He’s not even listed on the line chart for the ‘Cats. Not sure what to make of this, but it certainly changes things.

For Bemidji State, Michael Bitzer will make his normal Friday start after Andrew Walsh started both games in Anchorage.

Bauman is indeed on the top line, with Cory Ward and Markus Gerbrandt.

BEMIDJI STATE
FORWARDS

Markus Gerbrandt – Cory Ward – Kyle Bauman
Phillip Marinaccio – Nate Arentz – John Parker
Leo Fitzgerald – Gerry Fitzgerald – Myles Fitzgerald
Charlie O’Connor – Mitch Cain – Phil Brewer
DEFENSE
Sam Rendle – Sam Windle
Brett Beauvais – Matt Prapavessis
Ruslan Pedan – Graeme McCormack
GOALIES
Michael Bitzer
Andrew Walsh
Reid Mimmack

NORTHERN MICHIGAN
FORWARDS
Reed Seckel – Shane Sooth – Dominik Shine
Robbie Payne – Darren Nowick – Gerard Hanson
Cohen Adair – Casey Purpur – Joseph Manno
John Siemer – Zach Diamantoni – Sami Salminen
DEFENSE
Jake Baker – Ryan Kesti
Mitch Jones – Brock Maschmeyer
Jordan Klimek – Ryan Trenz
GOALIES
Michael Doan
Derek Dun

 

Bad at blogging: Some updates you should have seen this past month

Hello, my name is Jack Hittinger and I am terrible at blogging.

I have failed to maintain this blog like I said I would. I will shift some of the blame to my new job as sports editor.

You read that correctly: The schmuck from Michigan who covers the Beaver athletics programs is now also in charge of the entire sports section.

Yes, it’s been a bit busy around here since Pat Miller retired. He worked at the paper for a total of 28 years and two separate times, so his retirement is well-deserved.

Anyway, it was time for him to move on, but the person we are hiring to replace me doesn’t start until Dec. 15. So it’s basically been a month of me working by myself — with the huuuuuuge help of our news editor Matt Cory, our page designer Joe Froemming, our two part timers and even our publisher, Dennis Doeden. I wouldn’t have been able to get through the last few weeks without their help, so it’s greatly, greatly, greatly appreciated.

I should clarify: Even though I am taking on the title of sports editor, my job duties will still remain the same — at least as far as readers are concerned. I’m going to continue to cover the Bemidji State athletics programs, especially men’s and women’s hockey and football.

In addition to all that, though, I’m also in charge of our coverage for the rest of the things we have going on in town: high school sports, the Axemen, curling, the outdoors, etc. It’s a bit of a change but I think it’s going to be fun to try and get creative with how we cover local sports.

So I plan on keeping this blog and updating it more often. It’s just been difficult to do so with any consistency, however. So I guess what I’m saying is bear with me until the Pioneer Sports staff Death Star is fully operational. Once that happens, I plan on continuing to do this with regularity.

Also: If there’s anything you’d like to see me do in this space as it pertains to Bemidji State sports, let me know. I love reader feedback, and anything I can do to enhance your enjoyment of our coverage of Beaver athletics will be my priority.

And don’t hesitate to give me ideas of how we can cover other area sports going forward. Although my beat is BSU, I’m also really concerned with our overall sports coverage in the Bemidji area. I’d like to see us do fun and new things with all of our sports beats, so shoot me some ideas.

In the meantime, maybe expect some more from me on the blog soon. I promise.

WEEKEND RECAP: Women make the top 10, men swept by another top 10 team

Apologies for the two-week blog hiatus. Reports of my demise (and that of the Beaver Blog) have been greatly exaggerated.

Also false: Reports of the BSU women’s hockey team’s demise.

For the first time since 2012, the Bemidji State women’s hockey team is ranked in the top 10. In the latest USCHO.com poll, the Beavers are No. 9 — ahead of Minnesota-Duluth.

It’s a well-deserved ranking after the Beavers won their third straight (or fourth straight, if you think shootouts count as points) this weekend with a sweep of North Dakota. The Beavers won 4-1 on Friday in a game that didn’t even seem as close as that score indicated, then pulled out a 2-1 victory Saturday to finish off their first sweep of North Dakota since 2007.

It seems like the Beavers are finality on the upswing after going 4-0 to start the season in nonconference play then 0-4 in their first four WCHA games.

However, a tie and a win against Minnesota (5 points with the shootout win) seemed to give BSU some much-needed momentum. After a week off the Beavers came back with tons of energy against UND and didn’t look like a team that had had the previous week off.

Also of note: All six of BSU’s scoring leaders are members of the junior class, which bodes well not just for this season but for next. Kaitlyn Tougas leads the BSU in points with nine while Ivana Bilic has seven. Stephanie Anderson has a team-high four goals.

The team is now 7-4-1 going into yet another bye week (an odd schedule quirk has seen the Beavers have three off weekends already in their first two months). Then, they’ll host Minnesota-Duluth Nov. 28-29. BSU last beat UMD Nov. 23, 2013, in Duluth but have never swept the Bulldogs. It’s a daunting task, but with this BSU team, it seems like “never” is not a word in their vocabulary.

Men swept by another top 10 team

Conversely this weekend at the Sanford Center, the Beaver men’s team once again found itself playing a top 10 team (Michigan Tech, now No. 1 in the country, then No. 5). For the second straight weekend (and third weekend overall this season), the Beavers were swept by a top 10-team. The weekend before, BSU was swept by Minnesota State. The Beavers have also been swept by Minnesota.

It must be frustrating for Tom Serratore’s crew: Tech won 2-1 Friday and 4-2 Saturday but the Beavers outplayed the Huskies in both games. BSU, now 3-7-0, seems to be just on the cusp of greatness but have struggled to put teams away where it counts (namely, special teams).

It’s BSU’s fourth loss in a row. Another ranked team — No. 19 Bowling Green — looms this weekend. It will be another difficult test (BSU’s gotta have one of the toughest schedules in the country) but it’s getting to the point in the season where it’s not early anymore. If the Beavers are going to start making statements as a contender in the WCHA, they need to start now.

Leaders of the Pack

The Michigan Tech Huskies might as well buy some motorcycles and impress the ladies, because for the first time in their 94-year hockey history they are 10-0 and the No. 1 team in the country.

In the USCHO poll (of which I am a voter), the Huskies leaped over North Dakota, Boston U, Minnesota and U-Mass Lowell to claim the top spot. The Gophers were No. 1 before being swept by Minnesota-Duluth in a home-and-home this weekend. UND and Lowell both split their series this weekend while BU played just one game.

Meanwhile the Huskies are the nation’s only undefeated team.

Naysayers (the “WCHA is dead” crowd, of which there are too many) will likely argue that Tech’s strength of schedule is weaker than said teams, but the point is moot (especially since the Huskies are No. 1 in the pairwise) — 10-0-0 is impressive no matter who you’re playing.

Accordingly, they impressed me enough to get my No. 1 vote. I’ve been rolling with the Gophers all season, but the Huskies looked impressive even in a pair of games that, statistically, they should have lost this weekend. It doesn’t hurt that goaltender Jamie Phillips looked, to me, like a legit Hobey Baker candidate this weekend.

In many ways, this year’s Huskies remind me a lot of last season’s Ferris State team: A deep, experienced squad that’s not overly skilled but has an outstanding goalie and finds ways to win.

The Huskies have to lose some day (it could come this weekend, against Minnesota State — which will be a heck of a matchup in Houghton) but right now this roll they’re on is impressive. That’s why they got my (and many other writers’) vote.

Here’s my full ballot for this week. North Dakota doesn’t impress me as much as other writers (they’re No. 2 this week) but my perception may be colored by seeing them get smacked by BSU on opening weekend. I still think the Gophers are a better team than UND.

Anyhow, my entire ballot is as follows:

1. Michigan Tech
2. Boston University
3. Minnesota
4. Colgate
5. North Dakota
6. Lowell
7. Minnesota Duluth
8. Miami
9. Minnesota State
10. Vermont
11. Denver
12. Bowling Green
13. Boston College
14. Northern Michigan
15. Omaha
16. Quinnipiac
17. St. Lawrence
18. Penn State
19. Robert Morris
20. Notre Dame

WEEKEND RECAP: Sweet sweep (and near-sweep) for Beavers

To call it “a pretty solid weekend” for the Bemidji State men’s and women’s hockey teams would be an understatement.

The Beaver men’s team swept away Alaska with a big 6-1 win on Friday and a thrilling 4-3 overtime win on Saturday.

The women’s team, meanwhile, scored a historic pair of games over No. 1 Minnesota at Ridder Arena. The Beavers officially tied the Gophers 2-2 on Friday but won the shootout to earn the two points. Then on Saturday the Beavers won 1-0, marking BSU’s first win over the Gophers since 2011. It added up to a 5-point weekend for BSU.

Sophomore Brittni Mowat was the hero for the Beavers women, making 83 saves on the weekend, including 36 Saturday.

Also notable: Former Gopher Stephanie Anderson scored the game-winner in the shootout Friday, a nice moment for her.

The Beaver women get a bye week before hosting No. 10 North Dakota next weekend. A pair of wins over UND and BSU should find itself back in the top 10.

The Beaver men, meanwhile, head to Mankato for a date with the No. 13 Mavericks.

BSU has played well in all six of its games despite their 3-3 record; however, this weekend’s series against a strong Alaska team (who came into the weekend ranked No. 16) was a bit of a culmination of the progress they’ve made after routing North Dakota 5-1 in the first game.

BSU’s top line of Nate Arentz, Markus Gerbrandt and Brendan Harms all have three goals apiece while fourth-liner Charlie O’Connor, who had two goals in all of last year, also has three.

Arentz was most certainly BSU’s best player last weekend, and was named WCHA offensive player of the week for his efforts. He went off for three goals, two assists, two blocked shots and a plus-six rating against the Nanooks.

Right now I’d put his line against any in the WCHA. They’ve looked that good.

But that’s not all BSU is doing offensively.

The triplet line (of Myles, Gerry and Leo Fitzgerald) have stepped up and played well as freshmen (Myles has two goals already) and the fourth line, with O’Connor, Mitch Cain and Phil Brewer have also added a nice offensive punch to their already fast, physical game.

Defenseman Matt Prapavessis has two goals and two assists and at times looks like a forward with his scoring touch while still being a good defensive presence for BSU.

Really the only line that hasn’t made a huge contribution as far as points scored is Cory Ward’s line. Ward scored the game-winner Saturday, but only has two goals and no assists this season. Winger John Parker doesn’t have any points, while Phil Marinaccio has a goal and two assists.

Obviously it’s still early and Ward (as well as Parker and Marinaccio) has a good track record. If that line can get heated up and start scoring? Watch out.

Polling place

Four WCHA men’s teams are ranked in this week’s USCHO poll, the highest of them being Michigan Tech at No. 9. The Huskies are 6-0-0 following a sweep of Michigan. Also ranked are MSU (No. 13), Ferris State (No. 16) and Northern Michigan (No. 20 and making its debut in the poll). Alaska dropped out, as did Alaska Anchorage, but Bowling Green is on the cusp of the rankings and BSU got some votes.

Here’s the full rankings, with Minnesota still at No. 1

And here’s my ballot, for what it’s worth. I have five WCHA teams in there — no Bemidji State yet, but if they can play well and score a win or two against Minnesota State this weekend I think they’ll deserve a vote.

Also: I like Colgate more than North Dakota. The ‘Gate lost twice — once to a very good St. Cloud State team (who beat the Gophers) and also to an underrated Mercyhurst squad this weekend. (Speaking of the ‘Hurst — I voted for them this week. I realize they have the same record as BSU at 3-3 but they’ve split series with Colgate, Merrimack and Air Force. So maybe I was swayed by that win at Colgate. Regardless, I think they’re a good team.)

1. Minnesota
2. Colgate
3. North Dakota
4. UMass Lowell
5. Boston College
6. St. Cloud State
7. Boston University
8. Minnesota State
9. Vermont
10. Michigan Tech
11. Notre Dame
12. Miami
13. Denver
14. Providence
15. Ferris State
16. Bowling Green
17. Minnesota Duluth
18. Mercyhurst
19. Merrimack
20. Nebraska Omaha

WEEKEND RECAP: Minnesota is good, but Bemidji State proved itself

Last weekend’s sweep at the hands of No. 1 Minnesota might have looked like simple cakewalks for those who simple saw the final scorelines.

At least, Friday night’s game – a 5-2 Gopher win — certainly elicited that reaction from some corners of Twitter. This despite the fact that Minnesota only outshot Bemidji State 32-31 and the Beavers’ defense outplayed the Gophers offense, for the most part, at even strength (of course, the Beavers lost the special teams battle 3-1, which was ultimately the difference in the game).

Saturday’s game was a different story, with the Beavers capturing a pair of leads two different times. The Gophers once again used a key power play goal to earn the 5-3 win.

So, on paper it comes off as two losses for BSU. I’d call it a moral victory but head coach Tom Serratore isn’t one for moral victories.

“I told out guys, we’re making strides and we’ve gotta be happy with that, but we can’t be content with a loss either,” Serratore told Beaver Radio Network following the game.

“We haven’t done anything yet. We’ve played some good hockey, but the bottom line is we’re still 1-3. We know who we’ve played. Played some good teams and we respect those teams. We’ve done well on the road. You have to maintain intensity in the league too, and last time I looked our teams are winning a lot of hockey games in our league. There’s no pushovers there. We better not get too far ahead of ourselves.”

Serratore is always a realist, and he has a point: The Beavers have played well against some good teams but at the end of the season the only thing that actually matters, if you’re looking to make the NCAA Tournament and achieve your ultimate goal of the national title, is wins. Well-played losses, while entertaining for fans, don’t do you much for the pairwise, unfortunately.

But look at it this way: The Beavers are playing about as well this early in the season as a 1-3 team has any business playing. Especially against a pair of the nation’s top teams.

Especially encouraging, at least in my eyes, is the way the Beavers were able to skate with the Gophers on the big ice at Mariucci. That may not have been the case in the past — at least, from what I’ve seen.

Also: BSU’s scoring depth is looking solid. Markus Gerbrandt has scored three goals in four games for BSU, as expected, while Cory Ward continued his hot streak over the Gophers with a goal Friday, but BSU’s fourth-liners have been getting into the mix too. Mitch Cain already has a goal and an assist this season while Charlie O’Connor has also scored a goal and played solid minutes in his three games.

The big question, as Serratore told Beaver Radio Network, will be if the Beavers can sustain this in WCHA play. I have no reason to think they won’t… but that’s why they play the games on paper.

BSU plays three more ranked teams in a row now: Alaska at home, at Minnesota State then Michigan Tech at home. A good record against them should give us a better idea of where the Beavers will end up.

Around the WCHA

Speaking of Michigan Tech, the Huskies pulled off the WCHA upset of the year (so far) when they waltzed into Big Rapids, Mich., and took two games from Ferris State at Ewigleben Arena. The Huskies won 1-0 Friday and 2-1 Saturday. Goalie Jamie Phillips stopped 67 of 68 shots.

Also: Minnesota State swept Huntsville and Northern Michigan swept Lake State. The Chargers and the Lakers, as of right now, both look like they’re going to battle for the cellar.

Right now the WCHA is 17-15-3 in nonconference. Doesn’t seem like a lot but the league was 26-46-12 last season so it’s already an improvement.

Poll position

In case anyone was wondering, I’m a USCHO voter these days. Polls don’t mean a whole lot — it’s all about the Pairwise, baby — but polls still serve a purpose, I believe, in giving writers and coaches the chance to show what teams they’re high on and what teams they’re low on. A team appearing in the polls maybe doesn’t mean anything from a pure “Will this team make the NCAA tournament?” standpoint, but it can mean a lot for teams getting some national respect and recognition.

At least, that’s my philosophy.

Here’s my ballot this week. I’ve got four WCHA teams in there, including Michigan Tech at 14. They made the poll at No. 17. Anchorage dropped out after a loss and a tie at Maine.

1. Minnesota
2. Union
3. Colgate
4. North Dakota
5. Boston College
6. St. Cloud State
7. UMass-Lowell
8. Minnesota State
9. Boston University
10. Providence
11. Cornell
12. Merrimack
13. Ferris State
14. Michigan Tech
15. Alaska
16. Miami
17. Vermont
18. Michigan
19. Minnesota-Duluth
20. Robert Morris

Women also look strong despite losses

The Beaver women’s team had a similar weekend as the men, in that they lost a pair of close games to a top-five team.

Wisconsin won 2-1 Friday and 4-3 Saturday.

The Beavers are still looking for their first WCHA win after starting 4-0-0 in the nonconference.

Not to get repetitive here but obviously moral victories don’t mean anything in the standings. However, Jim Scanlan has the Beavers playing really well despite their 0-4-0 WCHA record. The first-year head coach seems to have the program on the right track and the team is looking more aggressive than we’re used to seeing from BSU teams in the past.

They will take on No. 1 Minnesota in Minneapolis this weekend. I’d like to see if the Beavers will be able to keep up with the Gophers after a good series with the Badgers.

Bemidji State notes: It’s Gopher weekend!

After an off week, Bemidji State plays what may not be the most important series on its schedule — it doesn’t mean anything in terms of conference points — but one that players and fans alike I’m sure have circled three times on their schedule. Minneaota. In Minneapolis.

The Gophers are No. 1, as you might have heard. Here’s my series preview in today’s paper.

Obviously, the Beavers have already ruined one top-five ranked team’s home opener two weeks ago against North Dakota. It would be pretty significant if they could do it again against Minnesota.

The game is on Big Ten Network tonight, which means it’s happening a bit later than normal: 8 p.m. Tomorrow’s game will be on Fox Sports North Plus and will begin at a much more reasonable 7 p.m.

Michael Bitzer is starting tonight’s game for Bemidji State. I’d wager a significant amount of money that Adam Wilcox will do the same for Minnesota. Andrew Walsh will go in Saturday’s game.

Here’s some notes fro the Gopher press:

*The Gophers are looking for some big contributions from their freshman class. Jason Gonzalez of the Star Tribune says highly-touted Swedish recruit Leon Bristedt will make his debut this weekend.

*Like BSU’s Fitzgerald triplets, Gophers have a set of brothers too. Ryan and Connor Reilly are twins while brother Mike is a year younger. The Reillys played against the Fitzgeralds in the BCHL.

*According to the Pioneer Press, the Gophers are hoping to get offense cranked up after two-week break.

 

BEMIDJI STATE VS. NORTH DAKOTA, ROUND 2

Live from the Sanford Center, it’s the Bemidji State home opener!

(Imagine that in your best Don Pardo voice…. R.I.P.)

As I type this we’re about 75 minutes from BSU’s home opener against North Dakota.

As you may remember, the Beavers beat UND 5-1 last night in Grand Forks. It’s the first time since 1970 that BSU has defeated UND on North Dakota. Read my recap of tonight’s historic game here.

Which means: Bemidji State is 1-0-0 and North Dakota is 0-1-0. Not sure anyone would have predicted that before last night’s game started (heck, I had North Dakota winning).

Anyway: BSU is now 3-25-3 alltime against UND. The other two wins were Feb. 7, 1970, in Grand Forks (a 7-5 BSU win) and also a 1-0 BSU win on Nov. 20, 2011, at the Sanford Center.

Lines are below.  Lots of changes for UND, but only two for BSU: Andrew Walsh in goal, while Bemidji High School graduate Jordan Heller will play his first-ever game for the Beavers at home.

BEMIDJI STATE LINES
FORWARDS
23 Markus Gerbrandt-11 Nate Arentz-18 Brendan Harms
9 Phillip Marinaccio-13 Cory Ward-8 John Parker
17 Leo Fitzgerald-21 Gerry Fitzgerald-26 Myles Fitzgerald
15 Jordan Heller-27 Mitch Cain-19 Phil Brewer
DEFENSE
28 Brett Beauvais-4 Sam Windle
20 Sam Rendle-7 Matt Prapavessis
25 Ruslan Pedan-12 Graeme McCormack
GOALTENDERS
30 Andrew Walsh
1 Michael Bitzer
33 Reid Mimmack

NORTH DAKOTA LINES
FORWARDS
28 Stephane Pattyn–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
9 Drake Caggiula–27 Luke  Johnson-8 Nick  Schmaltz
21 Brendan O’Donnell–18 Connor Gaarder–17 Colten St.  Clair
29 Bryn Chyzyk–10 Johnny Simonson–11 Trevor Olson
DEFENSE
6 Paul LaDue–3 Tucker Poolman
5 Nick Mattson–24 Jordan Schmaltz
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher
22 Andrew Panzarella (extra skater in warmpus)
GOALTENDERS
31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson

SEASON OPENER: Reading, lines, etc. for BSU/North Dakota

About to leave for Grand Forks, but before I get on U.S. Highway 2, some reading for you today.

Bemidji State is looking fort a fast start against No. 2 UND tonight. Also: Michael Bitzer, not Andrew Walsh, will be starting in goal tonight for Beavers. Maybe a bit of a shock but I had guessed Bitz, a freshman, would start one of the two. The Moorhead Spud will be thrown right into the fire for the first one, I guess.

Here’s my more general season preview, in which the general theme is the Beavers need to score.

Also interesting: The Grand Forks Herald’s Brad Schlossman went long on UND’s Dave Hakstol. A nice long feature on the coach. Worth the read.

Here’s some more notes on the game from Brad’s blog.

Also: I made my debut as a columnist on USCHO last night. Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press and I made our predictions for this week’s slate of games, which you can find here.

We also previewed the WCHA season. I wrote about Bemidji State (basically similar to what I wrote in the paper) but also about Alabama-Huntsville, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan. Read all those, if you wish, all compiled here.

Lastly, here’s Shane’s blog with his roundup of WCHA reading material. I used to do this but he did it before I did and I’m lazy and about to leave for Grand Forks so I’ll link to his today.

Anyway, BSU’s lines are on the bottom (note the Fitzgerald line!), and I’ll post UND’s when I get to the Ralph later tonight. I gotta go, catch you in Graand Forks!

BEMIDJI STATE LINES
FORWARDS
23 Markus Gerbrandt-11 Nate Arentz-18 Brendan Harms
9 Phillip Marinaccio-13 Cory Ward-8 John Parker
17 Leo Fitzgerald-21 Gerry Fitzgerald-26 Myles Fitzgerald
22 Charlie O’Connor-27 Mitch Cain-19 Phil Brewer
DEFENSE
28 Brett Beauvais-4 Sam Windle
20 Sam Rendle-7 Matt Prapavessis
25 Ruslan Pedan-12 Graeme McCormack
GOALTENDERS
1 Michael Bitzer
30 Andrew Walsh

NORTH DAKOTA LINES

21 Brendan O’Donnell–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
28 Stephane Pattyn–13 Connor Gaarder–7 Wade Murphy
9 Drake Caggiula–27 Luke Johnson–8 Nick Schmaltz
29 Bryn Chyzyk–26 Coltyn Sanderson–14 Austin Poganski

6 Paul LaDue–24 Jordan Schmaltz
5 Nick Mattson–2 Troy Stecher
20 Gage Ausmus–4 Keaton Thompson

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson
30 Matt Hrynkiw

 

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).

Continue reading

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.