Adrian Edges St. Norbert To Top NCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Following division titles for each program and a postseason run that nearly concluded with the two teams playing in the NCAA National Championship, Adrian College edged past St. Norbert College to be picked by league coaches to place first in the upcoming Northern Collegiate Hockey Association regular season, according to the results of the coaches’ preseason poll announced today by the league office.
The Bulldogs (20-7-2 overall, 17-3-0 NCHA) had their season come to a close in the NCAA semifinals, eventually finishing as the No. 3 team in the country. This season they come out at the top of the conference poll, garnering 118 total points and eight of the 12 possible first-place votes.
Adrian returns the top three point-scorers from the conference last season in Kyle Brothers (1st/8-28-36), Trevor Boyd (19-17-36/first in goals) and Cory Dunn (9-27-36). Boyd and Dunn were All-NCHA members, as was Bryan Yim (14-15-29) and goalie Kevin Entmaa (15-7-2, 2.27 GAA). Vincent Paquette (14-15-29) was named the NCHA Freshman of the Year.
St. Norbert was just behind, recording 114 points and the other four first-place votes. The Green Knights finished last season at 22-6-1 overall (15-4-1 NCHA), also falling in the NCAA semifinals. They finished as the No. 4 team in the final poll. NCHA All-League honorees Tanner Froese (13-9-22), Sean Campbell (7-7-14) and All-American T.J. Black (17-3-1, nation-best 1.31 GAA and 6 shutouts) lead the team in 2017-18.
The College of St. Scholastica, which went 13-13-1 last season, placed third in the poll with 95 points. Mark Whiteley (3-14-17) leads the defense into the new season, with newcomer Brett Radford (10-11-21) named to the NCHA All-Freshman Team a season ago.
The next group in the poll consists of four teams, with Marian University (fourth, 78 points), MSOE (fifth, 77), Concordia University Wisconsin (sixth, 73) and Lake Forest College (seventh, 69) all tightly packed.
The Sabres return Derek Thorogood (10-15-25, 13th NCHA) and Jake Howie (8-16-24) to pace the offense, while All-American and NCHA All-Leaguer Gianni Mangone (10-12-22) is an offensive threat on the defensive end of the ice. MSOE lost NCHA All-League honoree Gage Christianson (15-13-28) to graduation, but does return James Ring (7-18-25). Meanwhile, the Foresters will need to replace NCHA Player of the Year and All-American Jack Lewis (17-15-32).
Eighth through 10th place in the coaches poll were tight, with Northland College (11-13-2 last year) finishing eighth with 48 points, Aurora (4-19-2) ninth with 45 and Lawrence University (6-16-3) 10th with 43.
Finlandia University and league newcomer Trine rounded out the poll with 16 points each.
MEN’S NCHA COACHES POLL
1. Adrian 118 (8 first-place votes)
2. St. Norbert 114 (4 first-place votes)
3. St. Scholastica 95
4. Marian 78
5. MSOE 77
6. Concordia Wisconsin 73
7. Lake Forest 69
8. Northland 48
9. Aurora 45
10. Lawrence 43
11. Finlandia 16
12. Trine 16