MADISON, Wis. –- With the Wisconsin men’s hockey season less than two weeks away, media from the WCHA have chimed in with their thoughts on how the upcoming 2012-13 college hockey season will unfold. The annual 94X WCHA Preseason Media Poll out of Duluth, Minn., released its results on Wedensday.
If the media are accurate, Badger fans should see improved results over last year’s hockey squad.
Wisconsin was picked to finish in fourth place by a panel of 25 media members. Defending league regular-season champion Minnesota was chosen to repeat the performance, while North Dakota, the only other school with a first-place vote, grabbed the second spot in the poll. Denver slipped in ahead of the Badgers at No. 3.
Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State were picked to grab the final two home playoff spots as the fifth and sixth teams, respectively.
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.
Junior forward Mark Zengerle, a 2012 Third-Team All-WCHA pick, grabbed a spot on the Preseason All-WCHA team for Wisconsin’s lone individual honor. Zengerle also earned three votes for preseason player of the year. Wisconsin’s sophomore goaltender Joel Rumpel earned two votes for the Preseason All-WCHA squad, while freshman forward Nic Kerdiles earned five votes to finish second in the voting for the preseason rookie of the year.
The Badgers open the season on Saturday, Oct. 6, with their first official practice in the morning, then their first game, an exhibition tilt at 8 p.m., that night against the U.S. Under-18 Team at the Kohl Center.
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
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)
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)
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