UW-River Falls Tops in Coaches' Poll
The Northern Collegiate Hockey Association preseason coaches' poll results have labeled defending regular season champion UW-River Falls as the favorite for the upcoming 2011-12 season. The Falcons received an impressive ten first-place votes, solidifying them as the clear front-runner to repeat.
There's plenty of reason for optimism in River Falls, as the Falcons return their top three scorers from last year. Their leading scorer, now-sophomore Kait Mason (Eagan, Minn. / Eagan), was a 20-20 player last year, putting up 40 points in route to All-NCHA and All-American honors.
UW-Superior and Adrian finished in second and third, respectively, in the poll. The Yellowjackets were the only other team besides UW-River Falls to receive a first-place vote, most likely because of their balanced scoring attack and a stingy defense that allowed less than two goals per game last year. Adrian is looking to build off its NCAA tournament appearance last March, this year under new coach Chad Davis. The Lady Bulldogs also return All-American goalie Emily Michelin (Highland, Mich. / Little Caesars), who posted eight shutouts in her freshman season a year ago. Her five conference shutouts tied the NCHA record for most in a season (Kristy Faechner, UW-Superior, 2003-04).
Eight of the 11 conference teams will open their seasons this weekend, all in non-conference games and mostly against teams from the neighboring MIAC.
2011-12 Women's Coaches' Poll
|1||UW-River Falls (10)
* First-place votes in parentheses