BLOOMINGTON -- Like the media did Monday, the coaches of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association have picked the Bemidji State men’s hockey team to finish second in the league. Additionally, sophomore defenseman Elias Rosén has been selected to the Coaches’ Preseason All-WCHA Team.
Minnesota State was the coaches’ pick to repeat as regular-season champion, securing 86 points and six first-place votes when the WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll was revealed Tuesday.
The Beavers edged Bowling Green by one point, 79-78, to be tabbed second. The Falcons garnered three first-place votes and BSU earned one. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.
With the exception of Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan, the coaches’ predicted finishing order matched the media’s. MTU edged NMU for fourth by one point in the coaches’ poll, whereas NMU held a one-point advantage over their rivals in the media poll.
The bottom half of the coaches’ poll was rounded out by Lake Superior State (49), Alaska (40), Ferris State (35), Alaska Anchorage (28) and Alabama Huntsville (18).
Minnesota State junior goalie Dryden McKay and Bowling Green senior forward Brandon Kruse shared WCHA Preseason Player of the Year honors with four coaches voting for each of them. BGSU senior forward Connor Ford and Michigan Tech junior forward Trenton Bliss received one vote apiece.
Rosén was joined by Alaska junior Chris Jandric on the blue line for the Coaches’ Preseason All-WCHA Team. Kruse and Northern Michigan junior Griffin Loughran were among the four forwards selected after a tie between Ford and Minnesota State sophomore Lucas Sowder for the final spot. McKay was given the nod at goaltender.
BSU junior forward Owen Sillinger and senior goalie Zach Driscoll each received three votes from coaches.
MSU defenseman Akito Hirose was awarded WCHA Coaches’ Preseason Rookie of the Year by collecting three votes in a tight race.
2020-21 WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Rank/Team (1st Place Votes)/Points
1. Minnesota State (6) 86
2. Bemidji State (1) 79
3. Bowling Green (3) 78
4. Michigan Tech 64
5. Northern Michigan 63
6. Lake Superior State 49
7. Alaska 40
8. Ferris State 35
9. Alaska Anchorage 28
10. Alabama Huntsville 18
Coaches could not vote for their own teams. Based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2 scale.