Sep 212015
 

At least the Chargers are expected to make the playoffs this time.

The WCHA preseason coaches and media polls were released during the league’s media teleconference Monday, and UAH finished eighth in both polls.

“We’re still building our foundation, but I like what our foundation is right now,” UAH head coach Mike Corbett said. “We brought in a few extra players to bring depth to our program.

“As for the polls, they’re great. They’re motivational. They’re going up on our board, and we’re going to continue to use them as motivation. Respect is something you’ve got to earn day to day. We did some nice things last year, but now we’ve got to earn it all over again.”

The Chargers were picked to finish last in their first two seasons in the WCHA. UAH did finish last in 2013-14, but finished eighth last season to earn its first WCHA playoff berth, where the Chargers swept at Michigan Tech in two games. The first game was three-overtime thriller, won by the Huskies 1-0 as Carmine Guerriero made a WCHA-record 76 saves.

Guerriero did receive a vote in each poll for preseason all-WCHA. “He’s the guy who carried the load last year,” Corbett said. “With our added depth and the experience the players have gotten in our league, he doesn’t have to make 40 (saves) a night, but the great thing for us is we know he can.”

In the coaches poll, Minnesota State was the clear favorite to win the MacNaughton Cup again, getting eight first-place votes. Bowling Green and Michigan Tech got each of the other two first-place votes.

Minnesota State also took first in the media poll, but did not get a majority. The Mavericks had 12, Michigan Tech had nine, and Bowling Green got eight.

UAH opens the season on Oct. 9-10 at Propst Arena against Connecticut. The WCHA schedule begins two weeks later at home against Alaska Anchorage.

2015-16 Mankato Free Press WCHA Men’s Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Team (1st Place Votes) Pts.
1. Minnesota State (8) 89
2. Bowling Green (1) 79
3. Michigan Tech (1) 78
4. Bemidji State 61
5. Alaska 55
6. Ferris State 51
7. Northern Michigan 49
8. UAH 29
9. Alaska Anchorage 27
10. Lake Superior State 22

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year: Tyler Morley, Alaska
Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year: Corey Mackin, Ferris State
Preseason All-WCHA Team:
G Jamie Phillips, Michigan Tech
D Shane Hanna, Michigan Tech
D Casey Nelson, Minnesota State
F Tyler Morley, Alaska
F Alex Petan, Michigan Tech
F Bryce Gervais, Minnesota State

Carmine Guerriero received one vote for Preseason All-WCHA.

2015-16 Bemidji Pioneer WCHA Men’s Hockey Preseason Media Poll

Team (1st Place Votes) Pts.
1. Minnesota State (12) 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. UAH 88
9. Lake Superior State 54
10. Alaska Anchorage 47

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year: Bryce Gervais, Minnesota State
Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year: Stephen Baylis, Bowling Green
Preseason All-WCHA Team:
G Jamie Phillips, Michigan Tech
D Shane Hanna, Michigan Tech
D Casey Nelson, Minnesota State
F Tyler Morley, Alaska
F Alex Petan, Michigan Tech
F Bryce Gervais, Minnesota State

Carmine Guerriero received one vote for Preseason WCHA Player of the Year. Jetlan Houcher received one vote for Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year. Guerriero and Max McHugh each received one vote for Preseason All-WCHA.

Geof Morris and Michael Napier of UAHHockey.com voted in the media poll. Here are our ballots:

Geof’s ballot:

  1. Bowling Green
  2. Minnesota State
  3. Michigan Tech
  4. UAH
  5. Alaska
  6. Bemidji State
  7. Northern Michigan
  8. Ferris State
  9. Lake Superior State
  10. Alaska Anchorage

Player of the Year: Carmine Guerriero, UAH
Newcomer of the Year: Stephen Baylis, Bowling Green
Preseason All-WCHA:
G Carmine Guerriero, UAH
D Shane Hanna, Michigan Tech
D Casey Nelson, Minnesota State
F Tyler Morley, Alaska
F Max McHugh, UAH
F Teddy Blueger, Minnesota State

Michael’s ballot:

  1. Michigan Tech
  2. Bowling Green
  3. Minnesota State
  4. Bemidji State
  5. Alaska
  6. Northern Michigan
  7. UAH
  8. Ferris State
  9. Lake Superior State
  10. Alaska Anchorage

Player of the Year: Jamie Phillips, Michigan Tech
Newcomer of the Year: Brett Boeing, Michigan Tech
Preseason All-WCHA:
G Jamie Phillips, Michigan Tech
D Shane Hanna, Michigan Tech
D Casey Nelson, Minnesota State
F Tyler Morley, Alaska
F Alex Petan, Michigan Tech
F Bryce Gervais, Minnesota State

More from Mike Corbett on the media teleconference:

  • On defense: “On defense, we played three freshman most of the year. Frank Misuraca had a breakout season. We’re going to have some good legs back there and be able to move the puck a little bit more, and not weather as many storms as we’ve had to the past couple of years.”
  • On offense: “Up front, we’re led by Max McHugh, a sophomore. He made the all-rookie team last year. He’s come back we feel a step faster and stronger. Our scoring, everyone is going to have to chip in, and Max is one who’s going to be skating against others’ top lines most nights. I like the kids we have up front. I think we’re going to be able to score a few more goals.”
  • On recruiting: “We’re not the sexiest program out there. We know that. We might not get a lot of help from junior coaches. But there’s plenty of players out there. And more than anything, getting kids who are up to the challenge of building this program. It’s easy to put on the jersey. It’s not easy to build a program and be the underdog every day. It’s not easy to get disrespected a lot of times. You’ve got to get strong mental kids who have that fire in their eyes, and I think we’ve got that with the kids that are coming in.”
  • On impact freshmen: “I think the guy who comes in with the pedigree is Jetlan Houcher, who scored 85 goals in juniors. He’s more of a shooter, and I think we’re going to be able to put Jetlan in a position to do what he does. We still have room on the depth chart to do that right now. With as many freshmen as we have, part of our recruiting was giving them the opportunity to be the players they want to be. Kurt Gosselin … is going to be able to add offense to the backline for us. When the puck is kicked low to high, he’s going to be able to make plays. He’s going to be able to improve our power play and help our offense 5-on-5.”

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