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Wisconsin Tops WCHA Preseason Poll

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey Championship Photo by Justin Berl/NCAA Photos/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The WCHA announced the results of their preseason coaches poll, and in no real surprise, defending national champions Wisconsin are the favorites to win the league according to the coaches.

The Badgers picked up seven of eight first place votes(Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team), with Ohio State picking up the other remaining vote.

Here is how the coaches see the league shaking out this year:

  1. Wisconsin(7) 49
  2. Ohio State(1) 40
  3. Minnesota 37
  4. Minnesota Duluth 34
  5. Minnesota State 25
  6. Bemidji State 16

6. St. Cloud State 16

8. St. Thomas 7

The poll results aren’t a huge surprise, as they mostly mirror what was more of less the consensus of how things ended last year(give-or-take a shady decision made in a smoke-filled room). But it’s perhaps interesting to not see as big a gap between second and third place given the additions Ohio State made from the transfer portal this summer, or to see Minnesota Duluth behind Minnesota, despite the Bulldogs addition of Elizabeth Giguere, , while the Golden Gophers will be without some key players this year due to Olympic centralization.

Wisconsin’s Daryl Watts, inexplicably not one of the players missing due to Olympic centralization this year, was named the preseason player of the year for the second consecutive season. Watts begins the season as the NCAA’s 13th-leading scorer all-time, and will look to move up the leaderboard with her bonus Covid year.

Minnesota’s Taylor Heise, Wisconsin’s Sophie Shirley, Minnesota Duluth’s Gabbie Hughes, and Ohio State’s Andrea Braendli also received votes.

There was a three-way tie for top freshman in the league with votes split between Minnesota’s Peyton Hemp and Wisconsin’s Sara Wozniewicz and Marianne Picard.

The league’s preseason All-WCHA team was as follows:

F-Gabbie Hughes, UMD

F- Daryl Watts, UW

F-Sophie Shirley, UW

D-Emily Brown, UM

D-Grace Bowlby, UW

G-Andrea Braendli, OSU