UAA picked 9th, UAF 3rd in WCHA preseason poll

dwoody@adn.comSeptember 24, 2013 

Given the massive retooling of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's membership for the upcoming season -- six of 10 teams are new to the circuit -- it's difficult to know how much weight to give preseason predictions.

For what it's worth, UAA (4-25-7 last season) was picked to finish in ninth place and UAF (17-16-4) was ticketed for third in the inaugural Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer WCHA Preseason Media Poll.

Minnesota State-Mankato secured the top spot. The Mavericks (24-14-3 last season) are returning WCHA members who last season seized an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament behind the grand goaltending of Stephon Williams of Fairbanks. They received 22 of 25 first-place votes.

Ferris State of Michigan (16-16-5), which along with UAF is among five new WCHA members that arrive from the now-defunct Central Collegiate Hockey Association, was picked to finish second. Bowling Green (15-21-5), another former CCHA squad, was picked to finish fourth, behind the Nanooks.

Picked to finish last was Alabama-Huntsville (3-21-1), which enters the WCHA after three seasons as a Division I independent program.

The upcoming season heralds significant changes in the landscape of Division I, where two power conferences debut:

• The six-team Big Ten includes three former CCHA programs, two former WCHA programs and a newcomer in Penn State.

• The eight-team National Collegiate Hockey Association features six former WCHA members and two former CCHA members.

The restructured WCHA, meanwhile, now features schools much like UAA -- that is, those that primarily compete in Division II athletics but play Division I hockey.

UAA is entering its first season under coach Matt Thomas, who came from the pro ranks -- the ECHL's Stockton Thunder -- to replace Dave Shyiak.

Wednesday will bring the inaugural Mankato Free Press WCHA Men's Head Coaches Preseason Poll.

Find Doyle Woody's blog at or call him at 257-4335.


Team (First-Place votes) Total Points 2012-13 record

1. Minnesota St.-Mankato (22) 244 24-14-3

2. Ferris St. (2) 218 16-16-5

3. UAF 168 17-16-4

4. Bowling Green 149 15-21-5

5. Michigan Tech 144 13-20-4

6. Northern Michigan 137 15-19-4

7. Lake Superior St. 117 17-21-1

8. Bemidji St. (1) 108 6-22-8

9. UAA 54 4-25-7

10. Alabama-Huntsville 36 3-21-1

Preseason Player Of The Year -- Matt Leitner, F, Minnesota St.-Mankato

Others receiving votes: Garrett Thompson, F, Ferris St.; Stephon Williams, G, Minnesota St.-Mankato

Preseason Rookie Of The Year -- Zach Stepan, F, Minnesota St.-Mankato

Others receiving votes: Thomas Scholl, G, Bowling Green; Brendan Harms, F, Bemidji St.; Mathias Dahlstrom, G, Northern Michigan; Cliff Watson, D, Michigan Tech

Preseason All-WCHA Team


Matt Leitner, Minnesota St.-Mankato; Alex Petan, Michigan Tech; Ryan Carpenter, Bowling Green.

Others receiving votes: Cody Kunyk, UAF; Reed Sekel, Northern Michigan.


Jason Binkley, Ferris St.; Zach Palmquist, D, Minnesota St.-Mankato.

Others receiving votes: Stephan Vigier, Northern Michigan; Matt Prapavessis, Bemidji St.; Ralfs Freibargs, Bowling Green; Colton Paraynko, UAF; CJ Ludwig, Northern Michigan


Stephon Williams, Minnesota St.-Mankato

Others receiving votes: CJ Motte, Ferris St.; Andrew Walsh, Bemidji St..

Anchorage Daily News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service