WCHA Preseason Polls released for 2019-2020

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BLOOMINGTON, Mn. Following a strong finish in 2018-19, which included a berth in the WCHA semifinals, the Northern Michigan University ice hockey team has been pegged to finish fourth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference (WCHA) as announced by the league, Wednesday, in their preseason coaches’ poll.

Garnering 61 points in the 2019-20 Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the Wildcats are projected to finish fourth after ending each of the last two seasons second in the final regular season standings. They are picked to finish two points ahead of Michigan Tech.

In the preseason media poll the Wildcats tallied 72 points for third overall, behind only Minnesota State and Bowling Green.

Both the coaches and media also named 2019-20 Wildcats captain Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minn.) to the Preseason All-WCHA Team while Beaulieu received votes for the WCHA Preseason Media Player of the Year.

Of the rookie class, Jett Jungels (Edina, Minn.), Hank Sorensen (Wayzata, Minn.) and Mason Palmer (Plymouth, Minn.) all received votes for WCHA Preseason Media Rookie of the Year.

The Wildcats who finished last season with a 21-16-2 record, including an 18-8-2 conference record, return 14 members who saw the ice in 2018-19 and plan to add 11 new faces to the lineup for the coming season.

Of the returners, the rising senior defenseman Beaulieu was named to the All-WCHA First Team at the conclusion of the regular season last year, as well as receiving conference honors as the 2018-19 WCHA Defenseman of the Year.

The incoming Wildcat class includes two goaltenders, four defensemen and four forwards who look to make their mark on the ice in the coming years. Junior Ben Newhouse will also suit up for the Wildcats in 2019-20, having sat out last season due to transfer requirements.

The Wildcats open their season October 11-12 as they host Michigan State a the Berry Events Center. Puck drop for Friday night’s game is set for 7 p.m. before a 6 p.m. start on Saturday.

2019-20 Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Rank Team (1st Place Votes) Points

1. Minnesota State (9) 90

2. Bowling Green (1) 82

3. Bemidji State 63

4. Northern Michigan 61

5. Michigan Tech 59

6. Lake Superior State 58

7. Alaska 39

8. Ferris State 38

9. Alabama Huntsville 30

10. Alaska Anchorage 20

Coaches could not vote for their own teams. Based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2 scale.

WCHA Preseason Player of the Year (Votes)

Marc Michaelis, Sr., F, Minnesota State (9)

Others receiving votes: Parker Tuomie, Sr., F, Minnesota State (1)

WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year (Votes)

Nathan Smith, Fr., F, Minnesota State (8)

Others receiving votes: Colby Bukes, Fr., D, Minnesota State (1); Samuel Solensky, Fr., F, Bemidji State (1)

Preseason All-WCHA Team (Votes)

Forwards: Marc Michaelis, Sr., Minnesota State (10); Parker Tuomie, Sr., Minnesota State (9); Brandon Kruse, Jr., Bowling Green (6)

Defensemen: Philip Beaulieu, Sr., Northern Michigan (9); Alec Rauhauser, Sr., Bowling Green (4)

Goaltender: Dryden McKay, So., Minnesota State (9)

Others receiving votes: F - Max Johnson, Jr., Bowling Green (3); Brian Halonen, So., Michigan Tech (1); Max Humitz, Sr., Lake Superior State (1); D - Connor Mackey, Jr., Minnesota State (4); Collin Saccoman, Sr., Lake Superior State (1); Ian Scheid, Sr., Minnesota State (1); G - Matt Jurusik, Sr., Michigan Tech (1)

2019-20 WCHA Preseason Media Poll

Rank Team (1st Place Votes) Points

1. Minnesota State (10) 100

2. Bowling Green 89

3. Northern Michigan 72

4. Michigan Tech 68

5. Bemidji State 62

6. Lake Superior State 57

7. Ferris State 37

8. Alaska 27

9. Alabama Huntsville 26

10. Alaska Anchorage 12

Predicted order of finish. Based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.

WCHA Preseason Media Player of the Year (Votes)

Marc Michaelis, Sr., F, Minnesota State (26)

Others receiving votes: Brandon Kruse, Jr., F, Bowling Green (10); Philip Beaulieu, Sr., D, Northern Michigan (8); Max Johnson, Jr., F, Bowling Green (8); Dryden McKay, So., G, Minnesota State (5); Parker Tuomie, Sr., F, Minnesota State (3)

Based on a 3-2-1 scale.

WCHA Preseason Media Rookie of the Year (Votes)

Nathan Smith, F, Minnesota State (24)

Others receiving votes: Jett Jungels, F, Northern Michigan (5); Dallas Tulik, F, Ferris State (5); Blake Pietela, G, Michigan Tech (4); Hank Sorenson, F, Northern Michigan (4); Ryan Sandelin, F, Minnesota State (3); Cade Borchert, F, Minnesota State (3); Logan Pietela, F, Michigan Tech (3); T.J. Lloyd, D, Bowling Green (2); Mason Palmer, D, Northern Michigan (2); Parker Saretsky, F, Michigan Tech (1); Louis Boudon, F, Lake Superior State (1); Cameron Babiak, D, Bowling Green (1); Dustin Manz, F, Lake Superior State (1); Samuel Solensky, F, Bemidji State (1)

Based on a 3-2-1 scale.

Preseason Media All-WCHA Team (Votes)

Forwards: Marc Michaelis, Sr., Minnesota State (9); Parker Tuomie, Sr., Minnesota State (8); Brandon Kruse, Jr., Bowling Green (6)

Defensemen: Philip Beaulieu, Sr., D, Northern Michigan (9); Alec Rauhauser, Sr., D, Bowling Green (8)

Goaltender: Dryden McKay, So., Minnesota State (9)

Others receiving votes: F - Max Johnson, Jr., Bowling Green (5); Max Humitz, Sr., Lake Superior State (2); D - Collin Saccoman, Sr., Lake Superior State (2); Seamus Donohue, Jr., Michigan Tech (1); G - Zach Driscoll, Jr., Bemidji State (1)