WCHA coaches, media tab Bemidji State fourth in preseason polls

WCHA coaches, media tab Bemidji State fourth in preseason polls
Monday, September 21, 2015
WCHA coaches, media tab Bemidji State fourth in preseason polls

EDINA, Minn. – Western Collegiate Hockey Association coaches and media have picked the Bemidji State University men’s hockey team to finish fourth in the Mankato Free Press Western Collegiate  Hockey Association Coaches’ and the Bemidji Pioneer WCHA Media preseason polls released today.

Minnesota State University, Mankato, the reigning MacNaughton Cup and two-time defending Broadmoor Trophy champions, have been tabbed as the favorite to win the MacNaughton Cup again in 2015-16 in both polls, gaining eight of the 10 possible first-place votes from the league’s coaches and 12-of-39 first-place votes from media around the league.

The same four schools – Minnesota State (first), Bowling Green (second / third), Michigan Tech (third / second) and Bemidji State (fourth) – finished 1-4 in both the coaches’ and media polls, with the Falcons and Huskies flip-flopping in the two rankings.

The two polls flip-flopped on third and fourth place finishers, with WCHA coaches placing Michigan Tech in the higher slot and the media tabbing Bowling Green University third. University of Alaska was picked fifth in both ledgers; but, while coaches slotted University of Alaska Anchorage sixth and Michigan Tech seventh, media reversed that order. Bemidji State University, Lake Superior State University and University of Alabama Huntsville rounded out both polls.

Bowling Green and Michigan Tech split the two remaining coaches’ first-place votes, while the Falcons compiled 79 overall points to the Huskies’ 78. MTU garnered nine media first-place votes after a 2014-15 campaign that saw the Huskies ascend to the top of the national polls, win 29 games and advance to its first NCAA tournament since 1981. Bowling Green, which logged eight media first-place votes, had the country’s seventh-best winning percentage last year at .654 (23-11-5) and narrowly missed postseason play.

Bemidji State, the consensus preseason pick to earn the WCHA’s final home-ice playoff spot, closed the 2014-15 season by going 13-7-5 over its last 25 games – a .620 winning mark that was among the top-15 in the country beginning Nov. 29.

Alaska, Ferris State, Northern Michigan and Alabama Huntsville occupied the same 4-8 spots in both polls, followed by Alaska Anchorage (ninth /tenth) and Lake Superior State (tenth / ninth).

Ferris State senior goaltender C.J. Motte, a returning Hobey Baker Award finalist, was selected as the league’s Preseason Player of the Year by WCHA coaches after tallying a 19-6-2 record, .927 save percentage and 2.29 goals-against average in conference play last year. Minnesota State senior forward Matt Leitner, who tallied a league-best 39 points in league games last year and ranks third among all active Division I players with 121 career points, was the media’s choice.

A pair of senior forwards – Alaska’s Tyler Morley (coaches) and Minnesota State’s Bryce Gervais (media) split the Preseason Player of the Year votes. Morley finished second in the league scoring race last season with 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) in conference play, while Gervais led the league with 27 goals overall and 20 in WCHA contests.

Ferris State freshman forward Corey Mackin, the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s most valuable player last season for his play with the Coquitlam Express (British Columbia Hockey League), earned the coaches’ nod as WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year. Media analysts tabbed Bowling Green freshman Stephen Baylis as its Newcomer of the Year, after the forward took home Central Canada Hockey League MVP honors with the Carleton Place Canadians.

2015-16 Mankato Free Press WCHA Men’s Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year
Tyler Morley, Sr., F, Alaska (7 votes)

Others receiving votes: Bryce Gervais, Sr., F, Minnesota State (2); Alex Petan, Sr., F, Michigan Tech (1)

Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year
Corey Mackin, Fr., F, Ferris State (6 votes)

Others receiving votes: Stephen Baylis, Fr., F, Bowling Green (2); Max Coatta, Fr., F, Minnesota State (1); Mitch Hults, Fr. F, Lake Superior State (1)


Preseason All-WCHA Team

Forwards
Tyler Morley, Sr., Alaska; Bryce Gervais, Sr., Minnesota State; Alex Petan, Sr., Michigan Tech

Defensemen
Shane Hanna, Jr., Michigan Tech; Casey Nelson, Jr., Minnesota State

Goaltender
Jamie Phillips, Sr., Michigan Tech

Others receiving votes: Forwards—Brandon Hawkins, So., Bowling Green. Defensemen—Mark Friedman, So., Bowling Green; Brock Maschmeyer, Jr., Northern Michigan. Goaltenders—Carmine Guerriero, Jr., Alabama Huntsville; Olivier Mantha, So., Alaska Anchorage; Mathias Dahlström, Jr., Northern Michigan; Michael Bitzer, So., Bemidji State.


2015-16 Bemidji Pioneer WCHA Men’s Hockey Preseason Media Poll

Preseason WCHA 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).

Preseason WCHA Rookie 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

Forwards
Alex Petan, Sr., Michigan Tech; Bryce Gervais, Sr., Minnesota State; Tyler Morley, Sr., Alaska

Defensemen
Casey Nelson, Jr., Minnesota State; Shane Hanna, Jr., Michigan Tech

Goaltender
Jamie Phillips, Sr., Michigan Tech

Others receiving votes: 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. 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. Goaltenders— Michael Bitzer, So., Bemidji State; Carmine Guerriero, Jr., Alabama-Huntsville; Mathias Dahlström, Jr., Northern Michigan.

Participants
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; Scott Williams, Lakeland Sports & KBUN Bemidji; Ryan Zuke, Big Rapids Pioneer.

Bemidji State, which finished 16-17-5 overall and posted a 12-11-5 mark in WCHA play to finish fourth in the league, wrapped up the 2014-15 campaign dropping consecutive games to Ferris State University, 4-1 and 3-2 (3OT), after securing its first home WCHA Playoff series. BSU opens its 2015-16 home slate Oct. 4 when it hosts the University of Manitoba for a 1:37 p.m. exhibition matchup. The Beavers officially lift the lid on the season Oct. 9-10 when it clashes with regional rival University of Minnesota Duluth in a nonconference home-and-home series. The Beavers and Bullodgs get the season underway at 7:07 p.m. Friday at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, before returning to Sanford Center for a 7:07 p.m. opening faceoff Saturday.

For more information on the Bemidji State men’s hockey program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers or @BSUMHockey), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.

Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).

(Portions of this release courtesy the WCHA)

--bsu--

PROUD SPONSORS OF BEAVER ATHLETICS