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Defending MacNaughton Cup and Jeff Sauer Trophy winner tabbed as the preseason league favorite by league coaches and media
Minnesota State Tops The 2019-20 WCHA Preseason Polls
Defending MacNaughton Cup and Jeff Sauer Trophy winner tabbed as the preseason league favorite by league coaches and media

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – September 18, 2019 – Defending WCHA regular-season and playoff champion Minnesota State is the favorite to repeat as league champions, garnering nine first-place votes in the eighth annual Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches Poll and all 10 votes in the WCHA Preseason Media Poll.


Coaches Poll

The Mavericks, who finished 32-8-2 (22-5-1 in WCHA) last season, received a maximum 90 points in the coaches' poll (coaches could not vote for their own teams). Bowling Green was second with 82 points and one first-place vote.

From there, coaches are expecting another tight race with just five points separating third through sixth place. Bemidji State was third with 63 points, followed by Northern Michigan with 61, Michigan Tech with 59 and Lake Superior State with 58.

Alaska was picked seventh with 39 points, and Ferris State was eighth with 38. Alabama Huntsville was ninth with 30 points., and Alaska Anchorage rounded out the poll with 20.

Minnesota State senior forward Marc Michaelis was the coaches' pick as WCHA Preseason Player of the Year, receiving nine votes. The Mannheim, Germany, native had 42 points a season ago, including 19 goals, in 42 games, with 10 goals and 24 points coming in conference play. In three seasons at MSU, Michaelis has racked up 51 goals and 118 points in 117 games.

Mavericks freshman Nathan Smith was the pick for Preseason Rookie of the Year, getting eight votes. The Hudson, Fla., native comes to MSU from Cedar Rapids of the USHL where he led the RoughRiders in scoring with 18 goals and 53 points in 59 games last season. He is a 2018 third-round draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets.

The Preseason All-WCHA Team included Michaelis and two MSU teammates, fellow senior forward Parker Tuomie and sophomore goaltender Dryden McKay. Bowling Green had two players, junior forward Brandon Kruse and senior defenseman Alec Rauhauser. Northern Michigan senior Philip Beaulieu was the other defenseman.


Media Poll

Minnesota State also topped the WCHA Media Poll, garnering all 10 first place votes for a total of 100 points. Bowling Green (89) was second, followed by Northern Michigan (72), Michigan Tech (68) and Bemidji State (62) to round out the top five.

Lake Superior State (57), Ferris State (37), Alaska (27), Alabama Huntsville (26) and Alaska Anchorage (12) rounded out the media poll.

The media poll voting board was made up of one representative from each of the league's 10 markets.

Minnesota State senior forward Marc Michaelis was also the media pick as WCHA Preseason Player of the Year, receiving eight first place votes and 26 points in the 3-2-1 voting scale. Bowling Green's Brandon Kruse was second with 10 points and one first place vote. Northern Michigan's Philp Beaulieu and Bowling Green's Max Johnson tied for third with eight points with Johnson receiving the final first place vote.

Mavericks freshman Nathan Smith was the overwhelming media choice for Preseason Rookie of the Year, collecting 24 points on eight first place votes. Ferris State Dalals Tulik and Michigan Tech's Blake Pietila picked up the remaining first place votes.

The media's All-WCHA Team also mirrored coaches' selections with Michaelis, Kruse and Minnesota State's Parker Tuomie at forward, Beaulieu and Bowling Green's Alec Rauhauser at defenseman and Minnesota State's Dryden McKay at goaltender.

The full results for both polls are as follows.


2019-20 Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Rk 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
Marc Michaelis, Sr., F, Minnesota State (9)

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


WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year
Nathan Smith, Fr., F, Minnesota State (8)

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


Preseason All-WCHA Team

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 (5)

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
Rk 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.


Preseason Media WCHA Player of the Year
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; Dryden McKay, So., G, Minnesota State (5); Parker Tuomie, Sr., F, Minnesota State (3)

Based on a 3-2-1 scale.


Preseason Media WCHA Rookie of the Year
Nathan Smith, F, Minnesota State (24)

Others receiving votes: Jett Jungels, F, Northern Michigan (5); Dallas Tulik, F, Ferris State (5); Blake Pietila, G, Michigan Tech (4); Hank Sorenson, F, Northern Michigan (4); Ryan Sandelin, F, Minnesota State (3); Cade Borchert, F, Minnesota State (3); Logan Pietila, 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 (Points)

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)


2019-20 WCHA Media Poll Voters

The voting board for the 2019-20 WCHA Media Poll consisted of one media representative from each Men's League market.

Alabama Huntsville: Justin Bradford, Penalty Box Radio
Alaska Anchorage: Kurt Haider, Seawolf Radio
Alaska: Bruce Cech, Nanook Radio
Bemidji State: Austin Monteith, Bemidji Pioneer
Bowling Green: Nick Piotrowicz, Toledo Blade
Ferris State: John Raffel, Big Rapids Pioneer
Lake Superior State: Bill Crawford, LSSU Radio
Michigan Tech: Daver Karnosky, Houghton Daily Mining Gazette
Minnesota State: Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press
Northern Michigan: Ryan Stieg, Marquette Mining Journal


WCHA Preseason Media Teleconference Audio

WCHA President and Men's League Commissioner Bill Robertson (Opening Statement)


Alabama Huntsville Head Coach Mike Corbett


Alaska Anchorage Head Coach Matt Curley


Alaska Head Coach Erik Largen


Bemidji State Head Coach Tom Serratore


Bowling Green Head Coach Ty Eigner


Ferris State Head Coach Bob Daniels


Lake Superior State Head Coach Damon Whitten


Michigan Tech Head Coach Joe Shawhan


Minnesota State Head Coach Mike Hastings


Northern Michigan Head Coach Grant Potulny


About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Men’s League

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association, among the most historic, tradition-rich and successful conferences in all of collegiate athletics, will mark its 68th season of men's competition in 2019-20. The 10-team NCAA Division I conference consists of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Chargers), the University of Alaska Anchorage (Seawolves), the University of Alaska (Nanooks), Bemidji State University (Beavers), Bowling Green State University (Falcons), Ferris State University (Bulldogs), Lake Superior State University (Lakers), Michigan Technological University (Huskies), Minnesota State University (Mavericks) and Northern Michigan University (Wildcats). For more information, visit wcha.com.