Like last year, I'm going to nerd it up and talk about some of the interesting aspects of the 94X WCHA Preseason Media Poll.
The full poll results can be found here.
We had four teams receive first-place votes (Denver, Colorado College, North Dakota, and Nebraska-Omaha). Among the 26 votes, there were only three (all having UNO picked seventh) that didn't have these four teams all in the top six.
Denver was picked in the top three on 24 of 26 ballots. Colorado College was in the top three on 21 of 26. North Dakota was picked in the top three on 23 ballots.
UMD is the fifth-place selection, somewhat comfortably ahead of Minnesota. The Bulldogs were picked to finish in front of the Gophers on 16 of 26 ballots. UMD was picked second on two ballots, while the Gophers were second on one ballot.
UMD was not an easy team to place, as they had the two second-place votes, two for third, seven for fourth, seven for fifth, three for sixth, four for seventh, and one eighth-place vote.
(This seems to be a trend. The national polls released Monday showed a high number of first-place votes for UMD, considering that the rankings show UMD in eighth and tenth place in those surveys. With as many first-place votes as UMD got, it's clear without seeing all the votes that the Bulldogs were not high on a lot of other ballots, and may have been completely left off a few.)
Minnesota holds down the final home-ice position, largely because the Gophers were picked to finish in the top six on all but three ballots.
Wisconsin and St. Cloud State are tied for seventh. The Huskies were only picked for a home-ice slot on five ballots, with one fourth-place vote. Four voters picked SCSU sixth. As for Wisconsin, the high-water mark was fifth place, and the Badgers received five sixth-place votes. The teams were separated by one spot on 15 of 26 ballots, and were no more than four places apart on any ballot.
Alaska-Anchorage has never hosted a first-round WCHA playoff series. One of our voters thinks it will happen this year. Two others voted UAA seventh.
After a run to the WCHA Final Five last year, Bemidji State isn't getting much respect. Their highest placement was eighth (two ballots).
Minnesota State is decisively in 11th place, ahead of Michigan Tech. The Mavericks were picked as high as eighth (one ballot - ninth on two ballots). Tech got two ninth-place votes and two tenth-place votes, but was picked last on 14 of 26 ballots. MSU was picked last on ten.
Despite being a clear choice for last place in the poll, first-year Michigan Tech coach Mel Pearson received five votes for Preseason Coach of the Year, which was won by Colorado College's Scott Owens (nine).