Tuesday, October 1, 2013

More preseason hype

The first U.S. College Hockey Online poll of the season was released on Monday, and Minnesota State came in tied for 11th in the nation by the preseason rankers. The Mavericks are tied with Michigan in that spot; they finished 13th in the poll following the Frozen Four last April. Minnesota State is the only WCHA team in the top 20, however, Ferris State, Michigan Tech, Alaska and Bowling Green did receive votes. Here is the poll (WCHA teams in bold):

1. UMass-Lowell (19 first-place votes), 844 points
2. Miami (14), 837
3. Wisconsin (2), 740
4. Boston College, 728
5. Minnesota (1), 660
6. Yale (8), 644
7. North Dakota, 636
8. Notre Dame, 575
9. St. Cloud state, 513
10. Quinnipiac, 419
11. t-Michigan, 417
11. t-Minnesota State, 417
13. New Hampshire, 354
14. Providence, 271
15. Rensselaer, 266
16. Union, 258
17. Denver, 241
18. Western Michigan, 117
19. Boston University, 113
20. Niagara, 94
Others receiving votes: Cornell 80, Ferris State 67, Harvard 18, Minnesota Duluth 18, Nebraska Omaha 16, Air Force 14, Michigan Tech 14, Canisius 12, Colorado College 11, Ohio State 11, Alaska 10, Mercyhurst 10, Michigan State 6, Rochester Institute of Technology 5, Bowling Green 4, Brown 4, Dartmouth 2, Merrimack 2, Robert Morris 2.


The Mavericks also received a little more attention this week when USCHO named goaltender Stephon Williams one of its 10 goaltenders to watch this season. Kind of a strange quote from an unnamed opposing coach, though: "Williams goes in there with not a lot of expectations, you know, a new team. He was really, really good. ... He's a very good goalie."


All of the attention that MSU is getting this fall isn't just because of the their favorite status in the new WCHA. They were going to get it regardless of the conference affiliation. Not that it matters, but where  would they have been picked had the conferences stayed intact. On the above poll, MSU is the fifth team from the old league, coming in behind Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and St. Cloud State and getting ranked ahead of Denver, Duluth, Omaha, Michigan Tech and Colorado College.


Some news from out east: Providence, Minnesota State's season-opening opponent, gave coach Nate Leaman a contract extension on Friday. It was announced during the grand re-opening of the renovated  Schneider Arena. Leaman is entering his third season with the Friars.

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