Hey there. It’s only September, but it’s officially hockey season.
The Bemidji State women start their season this Friday and Saturday at the Sanford Center. I’ll have more on them later this week, but here’s one thing: They started the season ranked No. 9 nationally in the USCHO.com poll. The Beavers finished last season No. 10. They could be in for a special year.
The BSU men are off another week until their first exhibition game on Oct. 4.
All of this is a long way of getting to the point of this blog: It’s once again time for your third-annual Bemidji Pioneer WCHA Men’s Hockey Media Poll (and the WCHA coaches teleconference, which starts in 10 minutes and fans can listen to live HERE).
I started doing this three years ago when the conferences realigned and nobody wanted to do it, and it’s gotten easier and easier every year. That’s mostly because everybody in the new league is more comfortable with one another and the teams in the league, so I’d like to thank everyone who participated this year (and if I forgot everybody, mea culpa).
ANYWAY: The results of this year’s poll, which you can find below, are pretty revealing and consistent. Everybody associated with the league thinks that one of three teams will win this year: Defending MacNaughton Cup and Final Five champs Minnesota State, Michigan Tech and Bowling Green. All three received first-place votes, but the Mavs had 12 — which was enough to edge Michigan Tech for first in the poll (by just two points). Tech had 9 votes and BG 8.
The middle of the league got more interesting. Bemidji State, Alaska, Ferris State and Northern Michigan finished fourth through seventh but all four were ranked everywhere from third to eighth.
The final three teams — Huntsville, Lake Superior State and Alaska Anchorage — were pretty clearly predicted to be fighting for the eighth and final playoff spot in the standings.
As for the player of the year votes: MSU’s Bryce Gervais, Tech’s Alex Petan and Alaska’s Tyler Morley had a pretty good battle for that award. Gervais ended up winning but all three are solid choice.
The newcomer award was a little trickier, as 14 different players were nominated. This is always the hardest to predict, in my opinion, and it’s a crapshoot. Every WCHA team had at least one player nominated for this award, but in the end it was Bowling Green freshman forward Stephen Baylis who won the media vote.
Finally, the preseason All-WCHA team was pretty easy. All six guys basically ran away with the vote and all are deserving winners.
My good friend Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press conducted the coaches poll, the full results of which can be found
as soon as he updates his blog right here. The coaches also picked the Mavs to win, but flipped Bowling Green and Michigan Tech. Also, coaches picked Morley to win the league’s POTY award. They also picked Ferris State’s Corey Mackin as the newcomer of the year.
Enough chit chat. Below is the full media poll. I’ll have my poll submissions a little later.
2015-16 BEMIDJI PIONEER WCHA MEDIA POLL
1. Minnesota State (12), 265
2. Michigan Tech (9), 263
3. Bowling Green (8), 250
4. Bemidji State, 184
5. Alaska, 164
6. Ferris State, 142
7. Northern Michigan, 138
8. Alabama Huntsville, 88
9. Lake Superior State, 54
10. Alaska Anchorage, 47
Preseason Player Of The Year
Bryce Gervais, Sr., F, Minnesota State (9 votes)
Others receiving votes: Alex Petan, Sr., F, Michigan Tech (8 votes); Tyler Morley, Sr., F, Alaska (7); Jamie Phillips, Sr., G, Michigan Tech (1); Carmine Guerriero, Jr., G, Alabama-Huntsville (1); Brad McClure, So., F, Minnesota State (1).
Newcomer of the Year
Stephen Baylis, Fr., F, Bowling Green (5 votes)
Others receiving votes: Corey Mackin, Fr., F, Ferris State (4); Jake Jackson, Fr., F, Michigan Tech (2); Troy Loggins, Fr., F, Northern Michigan (2); Brett Boeing, Fr., F, Michigan Tech (1); Dillon Eichstadt, Fr., D, Bemidji State (1); Owen Headrick, Fr., D, Lake Superior State (1); Jetlan Houcher, Fr., F, Alabama-Huntsville (1); Nikolas Koberstein, Fr., D, Alaska (1); Jake Lucchini, Fr., F, Michigan Tech (1); Chandler Madry, Fr., F, Minnesota State (1); Jimmy Mullin, Sr. (Transfer), F, Minnesota State (1); Anthony Nellis, Fr., F, Lake Superior State (1); Chad Staley, Fr., F, Alaska (1).
Preseason All-WCHA Team
Jamie Phillips, Sr., Michigan Tech
Casey Nelson, Jr., Minnesota State
Shane Hanna, Jr., Michigan Tech
Alex Petan, Sr., Michigan Tech
Bryce Gervais, Sr., Minnesota State
Tyler Morley, Sr., Alaska
Others receiving votes: Goaltender — Michael Bitzer, So., Bemidji State; Carmine Guerriero, Jr., Alabama-Huntsville; Mathias Dahlstrom, Jr., Northern Michigan.
Defensemen — Mark Friedman, So., Bowling Green; Brock Maschmeyer, Jr., Northern Michigan; Matt Roy, So., Michigan Tech; Sean Walker, Jr., Bowling Green; Cliff Watson, Jr., Michigan Tech.
Forwards — Marcus Basara, Jr., Alaska; Teddy Blueger, Sr., Minnesota State; CJ Franklin, So., Minnesota State; Malcolm Gould, Sr., Michigan Tech; Brendan Harms, Jr., Bemidji State; Brandon Hawkins, So., Bowling Green; Brad McClure, So., Minnesota State; Max McHugh, So., Alabama Huntsville; Matt Robertson, Sr. Ferris State; Blake Tatchell, Sr., Alaska Anchorage
Justin Bradford, Penalty Box Radio (102.5 FM Nashville); Michael Caples, Michigan Hockey Magazine; Bruce Cech, Alaska radio play-by-play; Brad Coccimiglio, SooToday.com; Dave Danis, Northern Michigan radio play-by-play; Chris Dilks, SB Nation College Hockey; Erik Drygas, Alaska radio color commentary; Drew Evans, BGSUHockey.com; Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press; Patten Fuqua Penalty Box Radio (102.5 FM Nashville); Kevin Gordon, BGSUHockey.com; Jack Hittinger, The Bemidji Pioneer; Daver Karnosky, Houghton Daily Mining Gazette; Kevin Kurtt, Let’s Play Hockey Magazine; Geof Morris, UAHHockey.com; Michael Napier, UAHHockey.com; Tim O’Donnell, Fairbanks Daily News Miner; Justin Prince, Lakeland Public TV sports director; Rob Roos, Sault Ste. Marie Evening News; Jared Shafran, Ferris State radio play-by-play; George Sipple, Detroit Free Press; Ryan Steig, Marquette Daily Mining Journal; Mike Sullivan, Minnesota State radio play-by-play; Scott Theisen, WAFF-TV Huntsville; David Tuttle, Alaska-Anchorage radio play-by-play; John Wagner, Toledo Blade; Nate Wells, SB Nation College Hockey (NOTE: I forgot to add Nate in the original release, because I am an idiot. You should follow him on Twitter and read him on the internet to make up for it); Scott Williams, Lakeland Sports & KBUN Bemidji; Ryan Zuke, Big Rapids Pioneer.