Tuesday, October 07, 2008

CHN's WCHA Season Preview

The College Hockey News has released its WCHA season preview in two parts. (1) & (2) Not a lot of change from the other polls around the college hockey media. Personally I do not have a problem with this poll. Like I have mentioned in the past, these polls mean nothing once the puck drops. If anything it could fire the teams up to play better and show they are better than a _______ ranking.

1. Denver
2. Colorado College
3. Minnesota State Mavericks
4. North Dakota Fighting Sioux
5. Minnesota
6. St. Cloud State
7. Wisconsin Badgers
8. Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs
9. Michigan Tech Huskies
10. Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves

Here is what Dan Myers of the CHN Staff had to say about the Unversity of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. The biggest question for the Sioux is who is going to be the starting goaltender? I believe that question is going to be answered in a few weeks. I am predicting Freshman Brad Eidsness is going to be the man between the pipes.

North Dakota Fighting Sioux
Coach: Dave Hakstol
Last season: 28-11-4 overall, 18-7-3 WCHA

How they finished: North Dakota won the Midwest Regional and lost to eventual national champion Boston College in the national semifinals. UND was one of the nation’s top teams down the stretch, going unbeaten during an 18-game stretch from the beginning of January through mid-March, which has been a trend in recent years.

Changes: North Dakota lost two of their best players early to the NHL in forward T.J. Oshie and defenseman Taylor Chorney. Oshie and Chorney were arguably the two best players in the entire WCHA. They also lost senior goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux to graduation and will try to replace him with any number of untested options.

Strengths: Despite losing quality talent in all areas, North Dakota will bring in a number of blue-chip recruits to replace them. Chorney will be a tough loss, but the Sioux have a ton of talent at defense, which will be led by Joe Finley -- a towering force who stands at 6-foot-7. Chay Genoway is one of the conference’s most underrated talents. Freshmen Ben Blood and Corey Fienhage should step in and contribute immediately.

Weaknesses: Who is going to start in net? The favorite seems to be senior Aaron Walski -- who despite his advanced age, has played in only three games. Freshman Brad Eidsness and Graeme Harrington will also see plenty of time in net. The battle for the No. 1 job has not been decided. Is it because all three are playing well? Or is it because none of the three have stepped up? Only Hakstol knows the answer to that.

Outlook: Unlike years past, one can imagine North Dakota not finishing among the top two or three in the WCHA. They still might -- plenty of talent returns to the fold in Grand Forks, including oft-forgotten former Hobey Baker Award winner Ryan Duncan. But UND has no proven goaltender and in a conference like the WCHA, that could be a problem. Of course, they said the same thing about Colorado College last season.

Projected Finish: 4th


  1. I'm just shocked to see the Pios at the top of the list.

  2. I was too, I think DU is good but I think UND is better. Call me a homer.


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