Both the coaches and media have UAH finishing just out of the WCHA playoffs this season, picking the Chargers to finish ninth in the standings. The WCHA coaches and media polls were released Wednesday during the conference’s preseason teleconference.
The Chargers have a lot of freshmen on a club that won eight games last season and finished eighth in the league. That leaves a lot of uncertainty.
But UAH head coach Mike Corbett is high on this recruiting class, quite possibly the highest-rated since his tenure began in 2013.
“I like their speed, and we’ve also added a little bit of size,” Corbett said “We’ve got some guys in the 6-0 to 6-2 range that can get up and down the rink.
“There’s guys who have played a lot of junior hockey who can not only contribute in college hockey but also be leaders for our team.”
Returning players such as senior Austin Beaulieu and junior Christian Rajic will also provide that leadership, Corbett said.
Junior goaltender Mark Sinclair, who posted two shutouts last season, will be very important with several underclassmen on the back line. “It’s great when you have a guy back there you can trust,” Corbett said.
A more in-depth preview on this year’s Charger squad will come in the next two weeks. The season starts on October 5 with UAH visiting UMass Lowell.
Minnesota State was easily the top pick in both polls, getting all 10 first-place votes in the media poll and nine in the coaches poll (because coaches couldn’t vote for their own team).
The Mavericks won both the regular-season and playoff championships last season, and three stars from that team return to make the preseason All-WCHA team (player of the year pick Marc Michaelis, forward Parker Tuomie, and goaltender Dryden McKay).
Bowling Green was picked second in both polls, while there was some fluctuation from third to eighth place.
2019-20 Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches Poll:
1. Minnesota State (9 first-place votes), 90 points.
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, 36.
9. UAH, 30.
10. Alaska Anchorage, 20.
2019-20 WCHA Preseason Media Poll:
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. UAH, 26.
10. Alaska Anchorage, 12.