CC picked 7th, Thorimbert shares goalie honor in WCHA media poll

Compiled and written by Bruce Ciskie, KZIO Radio/Bulldog Radio Network …

A year after surprising many by winning the WCHA’s MacNaughton Cup Championship, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are a nearly-unanimous pick of WCHA media to win the league. The annual 94X WCHA Preseason Media Poll, released Wednesday, shows the Gophers easily outdistancing the rest of the league.

A panel of 25 members of the WCHA media voted on a predicted order of finish, along with a handful of individual honors.

Minnesota received a whopping 24 of 25 first-place votes. Defending WCHA playoff champion North Dakota had the other first-place vote and finished a distant second. Denver came in third, followed by Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth. St. Cloud State claimed the final “home-ice” position in the preseason balloting.

Minnesota junior forward Nick Bjugstad, pictured, was a runaway choice for the Preseason Player of the Year. He also anchors the media’s second annual Preseason All-WCHA Team, where he is joined at forward by Wisconsin junior Mark Zengerle and St. Cloud State senior Ben Hanowski. The defensemen on the team are Denver’s Joey LaLeggia and Nick Jensen of St. Cloud State. Sam Brittain of Denver and Josh Thorimbert of Colorado College tied for the goaltending nod.

For the second straight year, the media chose North Dakota’s Rocco Grimaldi as Preseason Rookie of the Year. Grimaldi took a redshirt after an injury-ravaged season, and he is again eligible for rookie honors.

Teams were scored under a standard system of 12 points for a first-place vote, 11 for second, and so on. The number listed with each team is the number of points that team averaged per vote.

94X WCHA PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. Minnesota (24 first place votes) … 11.92 poll average

2. North Dakota (1) … 10.76

3. Denver … 9.92

4. Wisconsin … 7.8

5. Minnesota Duluth … 6.88

6. St. Cloud State … 6.84

7. Colorado College … 6.08

8. Nebraska Omaha … 5.48

9. Michigan Tech … 5.2

10. Minnesota State … 3.6

11. Bemidji State … 2.48

12. Alaska Anchorage … 1.04

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Nick Bjugstad, forward, Minnesota (16 votes)

Others receiving more than one vote: Erik Haula, forward, Minnesota (4); Mark Zengerle, forward, Wisconsin (3)

PRESEASON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Rocco Grimaldi, forward, North Dakota (8 1/2 votes)

Others receiving more than one vote: Nic Kerdiles, forward, Wisconsin (5); Jordan Schmaltz, defenseman, North Dakota (2 1/2); Brady Skjei, defenseman, Minnesota (2); Andy Welinski, defenseman, Minnesota Duluth (2)

PRESEASON ALL-WCHA TEAM

Forwards

Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota (20 votes); Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin (17); Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State (8)

Others receiving more than one vote: Danny Kristo, North Dakota (7); Erik Haula, Minnesota (6); Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College (5); Corban Knight, North Dakota (3)

Defensemen

Joey LaLeggia, Denver (20 votes); Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State (9)

Others receiving more than one vote: Nate Schmidt, Minnesota (7); Wade Bergman, Minnesota Duluth (3)

Goalie

Sam Brittain, Denver and Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College (7 1/2 votes each)

Others receiving more than one vote: Juho Olkinuora, Denver (3), Joel Rumpel, Wisconsin (2)

The following media members took part in the 94X Preseason Media Poll:  David Ahlers, KKAR Radio/University of Nebraska-Omaha; Stephen Anderson, Daily Mining Gazette; Andy Baggot, Wisconsin State Journal; Tyler Buckentine, USCHO.com; Mike Chambers, Denver Post; Bruce Ciskie, KZIO Radio/Bulldog Radio Network; Chris Dilks, Western College Hockey; Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press; John Gilbert, WCHA.com; Kurt Haider, KENI Radio; Mick Hatten, St. Cloud Times; Dirk Hembroff, WKMJ Radio; Jack Hittinger, Bemidji Pioneer; Ken Landau, 103.9 FM The Eagle Radio; Don Lyons, Leighton Broadcasting/St. Cloud; Todd Milewski, USCHO.com; Dan Myers, Minnesota Hockey Magazine; Jess Myers, 1500ESPN.com; Joe Paisley, Colorado Springs/Colorado College; Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune; Chris Peters, United States of Hockey; Brian Posick, WIBA Radio/Badger Radio Network; Chad Purcell, Omaha World Herald; Brad Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald; Jay Stickney, 102.3 ESPN Radio.

Saturday reading: Slavin, more North Dakota suspensions, UND-Omaha outdoor game, Michigan Tech rookie, ECHL tickets

Photo from Slavin’s Twitter account.

The Carolina Hurricanes blog profiles 2012 draft pick Jaccob Slavin, a 2013 CC commit.  Plenty of good news for Tigers fans.

The Grand Forks Herald praises North Dakota for handing out those one-game suspensions. Later, more punishment to more players was handed out.

North Dakota fans are not pleased by the NCHC’s choice of Don Adam as director of officials. Oh well. He is well qualified.

Tickets for the Nebraska-Omaha vs. North Dakota outdoor game go on sale at 9 a.m. Mountain on Monday.

Alex Petain will be an important rookie forward for Michigan Tech this coming season.

Here is a WCHA season preview.

Tickets for the ECHL Colorado Eagles, which include former Tiger Arthur Bidwill, go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at ComcastTix.com or by calling 1-877-544-TIXX (8499) or 970-686-SHOT (7468).

North Dakota team party leads to one-game suspensions

North Dakota announced Tuesday morning that senior captain Andrew MacWilliam and assistant captains Corban Knight, Danny Kristo and Carter Rowney were suspended for the opening game this season for violating program rules during a team party on Sept. 15. They will miss the opener Oct. 19 against Alaska-Anchorage at the Brice Alaska Gold Rush in Fairbanks.

Only 18 skaters, including 11 underclassmen, will be available according to the Grand Forks Herald, which also provides some context regarding an earlier underage drinking incident that may have set the stage for Tuesday’s punishment

Here is the school’s press release when the school announced additional team disciplinary measures including mandatory community service.

“The behavior in this situation was unacceptable,” North Dakota athletic director Brian Faison said in a statement. “Measures taken by the athletics department do not preclude possible additional measures by the department, or actions by the university or local and state authorities.”

 

 

Monday reading: UND captains, Tech commit, Stauber, Anastas

North Dakota announced that Andrew MacWilliam, pictured, will be the team captain for the 2012-13 season. Senior forwards Corban Knight, Danny Kristo and Carter Rowney were each named assistant captains.

Michigan Tech commit Dylan Steman is profiled by his hometown newspaper.

Robb Stauber is giving back to the Northland youth.

Spiros Anastas, who was a volunteer assistant last season at Western Michigan, was named general manager of the British Columbia Hockey League’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs, according to USCHO.

Tuesday reading: Slavin video, NHL draft, USA, North Dakota, GLI

2013 signee CC defenseman Jaccob Slavin (No. 7, black and red jersey) is the subject of this isolation video by reelhockeyscouting.com.

Here is more on Slavin’s NHL Draft possibilities along with Hunter Fejes and Josh Thorimbert. Hockey’s Future lists 10 other collegians who may be drafted. Here is TSN’s top 60.

Plenty of future CC foes made the USA junior evaluation camp roster. Phil Housley will coach the world  juniors team in 2013.

Having Jonathan Quick on your roster would make most any college coach reconsider retirement.

North Dakota’s Aaron Dell and Danny Kristo impressed during the Canadiens’ pre-draft development camp. A Northeastern junior forward jumped for the pros afterward.

The Great Lakes Invitational will continue on through 2014. Michigan State announces six more commitments.

There is some major conference realignment going on in Division III hockey as well.

A former Denver Pioneer defenseman has signed with the CHL’s Cutthroats.