WCHA coaches and members of the media both agree that Minnesota State is poised to repeat as conference champions.
The Mavericks were named the top team in both preseason polls released Monday. Minnesota State, which won both the regular season and conference tournament before being upset by RIT in the NCAA Tournament opening round, received 8 of 10 first place votes. Bowling Green finished second ahead of Michigan Tech by a single point.
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
The media poll featured a closer first place vote. Michigan Tech leapfrogged ahead of the Falcons and finished only two points behind the Mavericks in second place. The Huskies, coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1981, received nine of the 29 first-place votes. Minnesota State had 12 while Bowling Green had the remaining 8.
(Full disclosure: Both Chris Dilks and Nate Wells of SB Nation College Hockey participated in the Media Poll. You can read their votes here.)
The rest of the two polls matched up with one exception. Bemidji State was the highest team outside the top tier, finishing fourth. Alaska was fifth while Ferris State is sixth and Northern Michigan seventh.
Alabama-Huntsville is in eighth with Lake Superior State and Alaska-Anchorage flip-flopping between ninth (UAA in the coaches poll) and tenth (UAA in the media poll).
Both groups completely agreed on the WCHA Preseason team.
Preseason All-WCHA Team
Forward—Tyler Morley, sr., Alaska
Forward—Bryce Gervais, sr., Minnesota State
Forward—Alex Petan, sr. Michigan Tech
Defenseman—Shane Hanna, jr., Michigan Tech
Defenseman—Casey Nelson, jr., Minnesota State
Goaltender—Jamie Phillips, sr., Michigan Tech
In addition, Morley (coaches) and Gervais (media) were named WCHA Preseason Player of the Year. Ferris State freshman forward Corey Macklin (coaches) and were named Preseason Freshman of the Year.
1. Minnesota State 89 (8 first place votes)
2. Bowling Green 79 (1)
3. Michigan Tech 78 (1)
4. Bemidji State 61
5. Alaska 55
6. Ferris State 51
7. Northern Michigan 49
8. Alabama Huntsville 29
9. Alaska Anchorage 27
10. Lake Superior State 22
(Points accumulated on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2 system. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.)
1. Minnesota State (12 first place votes), 265
2. Michigan Tech (9), 263
3. Bowling Green (8), 250
4. Bemidji State, 184
5. Alaska, 164
6. Ferris State, 142
7. Northern Michigan, 138
8. Alabama Huntsville, 88
9. Lake Superior State, 54
10. Alaska Anchorage, 47
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate