More Friday reading: WCHA previews, weekend picks, Alabama-Huntsville’s hopes, weekend schedule

Here is the conference season preview I wrote along with colleague Tyler Buckentine, who is based in Minnesota.

Michigan Tech lost 4-2 at Lake Superior State on Thursday, something Tyler and I both predicted. We also picked MTU to win at home Saturday night against the Lakers. Here are the rest of the weekend’s picks.

Alabama-Huntsville needs to show it can compete in the WCHA and fill its arena with WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod coming South to watch Minnesota State at the Chargers this weekend.

Here are the team season previews we wrote: Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Colorado College, Denver;

Michigan Tech, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota State;

Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Wisconsin.

Here is this weekend’s schedule, courtesy of the WCHA. Michigan Tech lost at LSSU 4-2 Thursday night.

Fri
10/12/12
Michigan State
at Minnesota
6:07 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
St. Cloud State
at New Hampshire
7:30 p.m. ET
Fri
10/12/12
Minnesota State
at Alab-Huntsville
7:00 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Wisconsin
vs Northern Michigan
7:05 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Ohio State
at Minnesota Duluth
7:07 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
USA Under-18 Team
at North Dakota
7:37 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Clarkson
at Colorado College
7:37 p.m. MT
Fri
10/12/12
Army
vs Nebraska Omaha
9:00 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Canisius
at Alaska Anchorage
8:07 p.m. AT
Sat
10/13/12
Notre Dm/Maine
vs Nebraska Omaha
3:30/6:30 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
St. Cloud State
at New Hampshire
7:00 p.m. ET
Sat
10/13/12
Lake Superior
at Michigan Tech
7:07 p.m. ET
Sat
10/13/12
Minnesota State
at Alab-Huntsville
7:00 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Wisconsin
vs Northern Michigan
7:05 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Ohio State
at Minnesota Duluth
7:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
USA Under-18 Team
at Bemidji State
7:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Clarkson
at Colorado College
7:07 p.m. MT
Sat
10/13/12
Michigan State
at Minnesota
8:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Air Force
at Alaska Anchorage
7:07 p.m. AT

More Wednesday reading: Thorimbert, CCHA coaches, media polls

Colorado College goalie Josh Thorimbert (39) made a save in the second period as Denver wing Chris Knowlton looks for the rebound during a college hockey game in Denver, Friday night, Feb. 3, 2012. The Denver Post, Karl Gehring

CC goalie Josh Thorimbert is profiled by Inside College Hockey.

From the CCHA …

For the fifth time in seven years, the coaches and media disagree on who should own the No. 1 position in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s annual preseason polls. The conference’s 11 head coaches ranked Notre Dame first for the second consecutive season, while voting from 87 members of the media tabbed Michigan as the preseason favorite.

In the coaches poll, the Fighting Irish captured seven first-place votes and one second, while Michigan took two first-place votes as well as six seconds to come in just five points behind the favorite. Western Michigan, last season’s CCHA Tournament Champion, had the remaining first-place votes to finish third, just three points behind Michigan and eight behind the Irish. Miami finished fourth in the poll while the 2011-12 CCHA Regular-Season Champion and National Runner-Up Ferris State rounded out the top five.

The media voted in favor of Michigan, with Western Michigan coming in second and Notre Dame in third, agreeing with the coaches on which three teams should occupy top three.  The Wolverines picked up 50 of a possible 87 first-place votes, while the Broncos garnered 25 and the Irish received nine first-place votes.  The Bulldogs and RedHawks finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the media poll as well.

The Wolverines, who finished in second place in the regular season, return 20 letterwinners that took them to their 22nd consecutive NCAA tournament. Included in that list is a pair of defensemen that were named to a Preseason All-Conference Team, with junior Jon Merrill being named to the first team and senior Lee Moffie earning a second-team selection. Michigan also returns seven of its top ten scorers, including last season’s Rookie of the Year, Alex Guptill, who tied for the team lead in scoring a season ago, notching 16 goals and 33 points.

Notre Dame also brings back 20 letterwinners from the 2011-12 season, which saw the Irish finish eighth in the conference. The Irish return their top two scorers in junior forwards T.J. Tynan, last season’s Scoring Co-Champion, and Anders Lee. Both are CCHA Preseason All-Conference First-Team selections and combined for 30 goals and 75 points last season.

The Broncos are the defending CCHA Mason Cup champion and return 15 letterwinners, including a trio of CCHA Preseason All-Conference First Team selections: junior Chase Balisy at forward, junior Dan DeKeyser on defense and sophomore Frank Slubowski in goal. Western Michigan returns their top offensive line of Balisy, junior Shane Berschbach and senior Dane Walters. The trio combined to score 39 goals and 98 points last season, making up almost one-third of the Broncos’ scoring.

Miami is coming off a fourth place finish and returns a young roster of 18 underclassmen, including three freshmen goaltenders. The RedHawks return their second-highest scorer from last season in sophomore forward Austin Czarnik, a Preseason All-Conference Second Team selection. Ferris State hopes to build off last season’s success, returning 18 letterwinners, including three of their top five scorers.  

A total of 87 media members ranked the 11 CCHA teams in projected order of finish for the regular season. Points were awarded on an 11-10-9-8, etc., basis. League coaches ranked the CCHA teams, excluding their own school, in the order they predicted the regular season will end.

     Coaches Poll

        1.       Notre Dame (7) 105

        2.       Michigan (2)   100

        3.       Western Michigan (2)   97

        4.       Miami  78   

        5.       Ferris State   67

        6.       Ohio State     66

        7.       Michigan State 56

        8.       Bowling Green  43

        8.       Northern Michigan      43

        10.      Alaska 31

     11.    Lake Superior    29

     Media Poll

        1.      Michigan (50)   903

      2.      Western Michigan (25)   825

        3.      Notre Dame (9)  765

        4.      Ferris State (3)        626

        5.      Miami   622

        6.      Michigan State  528

        7.      Ohio State      438

        8.      Northern Michigan       389

        9.      Bowling Green   264

     10.     Lake Superior   232

        11.     Alaska  150

CCHA announces preseason honorees

From the CCHA …

Seven teams are represented on the 2012-13 CCHA Preseason All-Conference Teams announced today by the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

Notre Dame junior forward T.J. Tynan, last season’s CCHA Scoring Co-Champion, topped the voting, receiving nine first-place votes and a total of 48 points. It is Tynan’s second consecutive appearance on the Preseason All-Conference First Team.

Notre Dame junior Anders Lee and Western Michigan junior Chase Balisy join Tynan as the other forwards on the First Team. It is also Lee’s second straight appearance on the Preseason All-Conference First Team and Balisy’s first. A pair of junior defensemen are on the blue line for the Preseason All-Conference First Team, as Michigan’s Jon Merrill and Western Michigan’s Dan DeKeyser both earned eight first-place votes and 44 points, tying them for the second-highest point total among all players. This is Merrill’s second straight appearance on the First Team. Western Michigan’s sophomore goaltender Frank Slubowski, last season’s CCHA Tournament MVP, is making his first appearance on a preseason team, rounding out the First Team.

Five of the six players on the Preseason All-Conference Second Team received multiple first-place votes. Michigan sophomore forward Alex Guptill, the 2011-12 Rookie of the Year, tops the team with four first-place votes, Miami sophomore forward Austin Czarnik and Michigan senior defenseman Lee Moffie both recorded three and Alaska junior forward Cody Kunyk and Michigan State junior goaltender Will Yanakeff both earned two. Northern Michigan senior defenseman Kyle Follmer rounds out the Second Team, with one first-place vote. Each player on the Preseason All-Conference Second Team is making his first appearance on a preseason team.

Michigan and Western Michigan lead the Preseason All-Conference Teams with three honorees each.

Voting was conducted among the 11 head coaches in the CCHA. Coaches could not vote for their own players.

2012-13 CCHA Preseason All-Conference Teams

First Team

Position        Name, Year, School      First   Totals

Forward T.J. Tynan, JR, Notre Dame      9       48

Forward Anders Lee, JR, Notre Dame      7       42

Forward Chase Balisy, JR, Western Michigan      5       40

Defense Dan DeKeyser, JR, Western Michigan      8       44

Defense Jon Merrill, JR, Michigan       8       44

Goaltender      Frank Slubowski, SO, Western Michigan   6       40

Second Team

Position        Name, Year, School      First   Totals

Forward Austin Czarnik, SO, Miami       3       31

Forward Alex Guptill, SO, Michigan      4       28

Forward Cody Kunyk, JR, Alaska  2       22

Defense Lee Moffie, SR, Michigan        3       34

Defense Kyle Follmer, SR, Northern Michigan     1       22

Goaltender      Will Yanakeff, JR, Michigan State       2       17

Vote Values: 1st place = 5, 2nd place = 3, 3rd place = 1

Honorable Mention (next six highest point totals, regardless of position with first-team votes in parentheses): Scott Czarnowczan, JR, D, Ferris State, (2) 19; A.J. Treais, SR, F, Michigan, (1) 18; Kyle Bonis, SR, F, Ferris State, (1) 16; Kevin Kapalka, JR, G, Lake Superior, (2) 15; Andrew Hammond, SR, G, Bowling Green, (1) 15; Sam Calabrese, SR, D, Notre Dame (0) 12.

 

CC garners votes in USA Hockey preseason poll

USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today released its preseason poll on Monday with Colorado College coming in at what would be tied for 19th if the rankings went that far. Air Force garnered a few votes as well. All the WCHA teams listed in the poll are bolded.

National Collegiate Hockey Conference fans will note that Miami (No. 9) and Western Michigan (11) also got some love.

 

Men’s Poll – Week 1: Sept. 24, 2012 

  Team

Points
(First Place Votes)

2011-12
Record

1 Boston College

476 (20)

33-10-1

2 Minnesota

476 (12)

28-14-1

3 Michigan

408 (2)

24-13-4

4 North Dakota

407

26-13-3

5 Union College

295

26-8-7

6 Cornell

233

19-9-7

7 UMass-Lowell

221

24-13-1

8 Denver

220

25-14-4

9 Miami

203

24-15-2

10 Notre Dame

186

19-18-3

11 Western Michigan

182

21-14-6

12 Minnesota Duluth

176

25-10-6

13 Boston University

158

23-15-1

14 Ferris State

123

26-12-5

15 Wisconsin

99

17-18-2

Others receiving votes: Harvard University, 58; University of Maine, 24; Quinnipiac University, 24; Michigan State University, 19; Colorado College, 19; University of New Hampshire, 17; Ohio State University, 17; St. Cloud (Minn.) State University, 15; Merrimack College, 7; Providence College, 6; Yale University, 6; United States Air Force Academy, 3; Northern Michigan University, 1; Michigan Tech University, 1.

 

Saturday reading: WCHA scenarios, standings, other playoff news

Junior Rylan Schwartz and his CC teammates could still finish sixth if both Nebraska Omaha and St. Cloud State Both win Saturday night and the Tigers lose.

Junior Rylan Schwartz and his CC teammates could still finish sixth if both Nebraska Omaha and St. Cloud State Both win Saturday night and the Tigers lose.

No. 2 Minnesota Duluth blew its chance at garnering the WCHA regular-season title outright. They could share the title but Minnesota would be the top seed headed into next week’s playoffs. That said, two playoff series are determined with more to be decided tonight.

The Golden Gophers, whose power play struggled in a Friday loss to Wisconsin, hosts Alaska Anchorage while Minnesota State Mankato will head north to Minnesota Duluth.

Then it gets a little murkier. No. 3 seed Denver or No. 4 North Dakota will host either Bemidji State or Wisconsin.

No. 5 or 6 seed Colorado College will host either Michigan Tech, Nebraska Omaha or St. Cloud State. All three could place sixth and host the seventh-place team in a playoff series.

Here’s the full list of scenarios and tiebreakers involving the places 5-8 teams courtesy of the WCHA. Yikes.

Colorado College (29 points, vs Michigan Tech) –
Seeded 5th with a win or a tie.
Seeded 5th with a loss and a Nebraska Omaha loss or tie.
Seeded 5th with a loss and a St. Cloud State loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a loss, a Nebraska Omaha win, and a St. Cloud State win.

Nebraska Omaha (27 points, vs Denver) –
Seeded 5th with a win, a Colorado College loss, and a St. Cloud State win.
Seeded 6th with a win and a Colorado College win or tie.
Seeded 6th with a win and a St. Cloud State loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a tie and a St. Cloud State loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a loss, a St. Cloud State loss, and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 7th with a tie and a St. Cloud State win.
Seeded 7th with a loss, a St. Cloud State win or tie, and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 7th with a loss, a St. Cloud State loss, and a Michigan Tech win.
Seeded 8th with a loss, a St. Cloud State win or tie, and a Michigan Tech win.

St. Cloud State (27 points, vs Minnesota Duluth) –
Seeded 6th with a win and a Nebraska Omaha loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a Michigan Tech win by 11 or fewer goals.
Seeded 6th/7th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a Michigan Tech win by exactly 12 goals.
Seeded 7th with a win and a Nebraska Omaha win.
Seeded 7th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 7th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a Michigan Tech win by 13 or more goals.
Seeded 7th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a Michigan Tech win by 11 or fewer goals.
Seeded 7th with a loss and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 7th/8th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a Michigan Tech win by exactly 12 goals.
Seeded 8th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a Michigan Tech win by 13 or more goals.
Seeded 8th with a loss and a Michigan Tech win.

Michigan Tech (26 points, at Colorado College) –
Seeded 6th with a win, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State loss.
Seeded 6th with a win by 13 or more goals, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 6th/7th with a win by exactly 12 goals, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 7th with a win, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State loss.
Seeded 7th with a win, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State win.
Seeded 7th with a win by 11 or fewer goals, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 7th with a win by 13 or more goals, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 7th/8th with a win by exactly 12 goals, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 8th with a win, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State win.
Seeded 8th with a win by 11 or fewer goals, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 8th with a loss or a tie.

Wisconsin (24 points, at Minnesota) –
Seeded 9th with a win or a tie.
Seeded 9th with a loss and a Bemidji State loss or tie.
Seeded 10th with a loss and a Bemidji State win.

Bemidji State (23 points, at Alaska Anchorage) –
Seeded 9th with a win and a Wisconsin loss.
Seeded 10th with a win and a Wisconsin win or tie.
Seeded 10th with a loss or a tie.

Two-Way Tiebreakers:
Colorado College over Nebraska Omaha (2-2-0 head-to-head, Colorado College more WCHA wins)
Colorado College over St. Cloud State (1-1-0 head-to-head, Colorado College more WCHA wins)
Nebraska Omaha over St. Cloud State (1-0-1 head-to-head)
Nebraska Omaha over Michigan Tech (1-0-1 head-to-head)
St. Cloud State vs Michigan Tech at 28 points to be determined (WCHA goal differential)
St. Cloud State over Michigan Tech at 27 points (1-1-0 head-to-head, St. Cloud State more WCHA wins)
Michigan Tech over Wisconsin (2-0-0 head-to-head)
Wisconsin over Bemidji State (2-0-0 head-to-head)

Three-Way Tiebreakers:
Nebraska Omaha over Colorado College over St. Cloud State (Nebraska Omaha head-to-head, then revert to two-way tie)
Nebraska Omaha over St. Cloud State over Michigan Tech at 27 points (Nebraska Omaha head-to-head, then revert to two-way tie)
Nebraska Omaha over St. Cloud State / Michigan Tech at 28 points (Nebraska Omaha head-to-head, then revert to two-way tie which is to be determined)

CURRENT WCHA MEN’S STANDINGS

WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
Minnesota
27
19
8
0
38
86
56
23
12
1
128
77
Minnesota Duluth
27
16
7
4
36
100
70
22
8
5
129
89
Denver
27
15
8
4
34
93
77
20
11
4
122
94
North Dakota
27
15
11
1
31
79
73
19
12
3
105
94
Colorado College
27
14
12
1
29
93
86
17
14
2
108
97
Nebraska Omaha
27
11
11
5
27
81
82
14
15
6
103
102
St. Cloud State
27
12
12
3
27
83
71
15
16
4
109
96
Michigan Tech
27
11
12
4
26
85
85
14
17
4
102
107
Wisconsin
27
11
14
2
24
75
81
16
15
2
100
94
Bemidji State
27
10
14
3
23
67
85
16
16
3
92
97
Minnesota State
27
8
17
2
18
73
99
12
21
2
97
119
Alaska Anchorage
27
5
21
1
11
56
106
9
22
2
77
120

And of interest to Tiger fans, UMass-Lowell, coached by former CC assistants Norm Bazin and Jason Lammers, clinched home ice in the Hockey East playoffs and could finish in second in the regular season standings. So, who would like to see a home-and-home nonconference setup with Lowell in the next couple years? Count me in.

Here’s an update on the first round of the CCHA playoffs. Check out the Pairwise rankings, which CC in 20th, behind Notre Dame and Ohio State, which are playing in an elimination game tonight..

In women’s playoff action, Minnesota whipped North Dakota 6-0 Friday behind four points (two goals) from Pine Creek High School graduate Emily West.

CC now at No. 8 in both national polls

Minnesota-Duluth remains  a unanimous No. 1 in both polls while Colorado College, after a loss and tie at home to ECAC leader Cornell, dropped from No. 6 to No. 8 in the USCHO poll and stayed at No. 8 in the USA Hockey rankings. Cornell is ranked ninth in both.

More importantly, Saturday’s tie moved Colorado College up to a tie for ninth (No. 11 after tiebreakers) from a tie for 12th (actually 13th) in the latest Pairwise rankings.

Tigers move up to No. 5 in one poll, No. 6 in other

Colorado College’s road sweep at MSU-Mankato , which secured third in the WCHA going into the Christmas break, pushed the Tigers up to No. 5 from No. 7  in the USA Hockey poll. Defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth is a unanimous No. 1 followed by fellow league-leader Minnesota.

The USCHO poll is similiar with CC at No. 6 and Notre Dame at No. 5.

USA Hockey weekly poll

1. Minnesota Duluth (34)

2. Minnesota

3. Boston College

4. Ohio State

5. Colorado College

6. Notre Dame

7. Merrimack

8. Western Michigan

9. Boston University

10. Union College

11. Colgate

12. Ferris State

13. Cornell

14. Michigan State

15. Denver