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Preseason Top 16: #3 Notre Dame


Last Season

The Irish struggled mightily last season, collapsing in the second half of the season en route to a 12-13-3 finish in the CCHA and an 8th place finish in the league.

It was the best of times….

Notre Dame started out hot, winning 7 of their first 11 CCHA games and going 7-1-3 in that stretch. They also had a nonconference win over Boston College during that stretch.

It was the worst of times…

Notre Dame suffered through a 5 game losing streak at the end of the regular season, getting swept by Ferris State and Miami and also losing one to Bowling Green.  

The Coach - Jeff Jackson (Michigan...

Preseason Top 16: #4 North Dakota


Last Season

After finishing  4th in the regular season North Dakota won their third straight WCHA postseason championship and earned a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Their season ended with a loss to Minnesota in the final eight.

It was the best of times….

North Dakota was again at its best in the second half of the year, a tradition under Dave Hakstol, and they rattled off a 8 game winning streak and won 14 of their final 18 games of the season. They were 8-9-0 in WCHA play on January 20th and finished the league at 16-11-1.

It was the worst of times…

North Dakota sputtered...

WCHA Bloggers Preseason Poll and Awards

The North Dakota blog A Tradition of Excellence has been doing a preseason poll and some awards for a couple of years now, and for some reason I was entrusted with a ballot this year.

You can see the full results here, but my picks are below:

Standings Prediction

1. Minnesota

2. North Dakota

3. Wisconsin

4. Denver

5. St. Cloud

6. Omaha

7. Colorado College

8. Duluth

9. Michigan Tech

10. Bemidji State

11. Alaska Anchorage

12. Minnesota State

Awards

Player of the year: Mark Zengerle, F, Wisconsin

Rookie of the year: Rocco Grimaldi, F, North Dakota

Defenseman of the year: Joey LaLeggia,...

Preseason Top 16: #5 Michigan


Last Season

The Wolverines finished in a tie for second in the CCHA and followed that up with a runner up finish in the CCHA tournament. The Wolverines earned a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament but were upset in the first round by Cornell.

It was the best of times….

Michigan was struggling at the start of CCHA play, but permanently turned their season around with a 9 game unbeaten streak, including 2 nonconference games over Boston College and Michigan State. In all the Wolverines went from 4-6-2 in the league to 8-6-4 in the CCHA.

It was the worst of times…

Immediately preceding th...

Preseason Top 16: #6 Cornell


 

Last Season

Cornell pulled an upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament over Michigan, and were a goal away from advancing to the Frozen Four.

It was the best of times….

Cornell had two separate 7 game unbeaten streaks this year, the latter of which featured a tie and a win over eventual ECAC champions Union.

It was the worst of times…

Other than their season ending loss to Ferris State, Cornell's worst stretch was a 5 game winless streak that preceded (and coincided with) their big unbeaten streak. The winless stretch featured the Big Red being swept by Colgate.

Preseason Top 16: #7 Western Michigan

Last Season

The Broncos overcame a bit of a slow start (4-4-2 in their first 10 games) in the CCHA to finish in a tie for second in the CCHA regular season and then capped it off with a CCHA tournament championship. As a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament Western lost their opening game to North Dakota.

It was the best of times….

Western tied and won in a home and home against Ferris State to move into that second place tie in the CCHA, then swept Lake State in the first round of the CCHA playoffs before very convincing 5-2 and 6-2 wins over Miami and Michigan in the tournament semifinals and championship.

I...

Preseason Top 16: #8 UMass-Lowell

*quick note: if you read nothing else in this preview please read the season prediction paragraphs. Thanks.


Last Season

UMass-Lowell completed one of the most surprising single season turnarounds in college hockey history, going from finishing last in Hockey East with just 10 points in 2011 to finishing 2nd with 35 points last season.

It was the best of times….

Lowell made a surprising run to the NCAA tournament, but the seeds were laid early as they began the Hockey East season 7-3, rattling off five wins in a row including a sweep over New Hampshire and a win over eventual ...

Preseason Top 16: #9 Union



Last Season

The Dutchmen won their second straight ECAC regular season title and won their first ever ECAC tournament championship, both of which helped them earn a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The season of firsts continued for Union as they advanced to the program's first ever Frozen Four, eventually losing in the semifinals to Ferris State

It was the best of times….

It has to be the first Frozen Four win in the history of the program. Union controlled play in much of the first two periods, but Ferris State made the most of their chances, scoring three unanswered goals to win it. The key goal c...

Preseason Top 16: #10 Ferris State


 

Last Season

The Bulldogs had a dream season last year, winning the CCHA regular season title and advancing to the program's first Frozen Four. The Bulldogs defeated Union in the semifinals before losing to Boston College in the national championship game.

It was the best of times….

It has to be the first Frozen Four win in the history of the program. Union controlled play in much of the first two periods, but Ferris State made the most of their chances, scoring three unanswered goals to win it. The key goal came when Troy Grosenick gave up a rare easy rebound that was capitalized on by Kyle Bonis to...

Preseason Top 16: #11 Wisconsin


Last Season

Despite having the best player in college hockey last year the Badgers struggled all season. Sure they were young, and have virtually everyone back, but they also weren't very good and when they were it wasn't for very long, with only two winning streaks longer than two games. They didn't have many extended losing streaks either but a five gamer combined with an inability to play well for long periods of time doomed them to a 10th place finish in the WCHA.

It was the best of times….

The Badgers put together a four game winning streak late in the season with two wins over Bemidji State ...