A year ago the NCHA Women’s Conference raced to its most exciting finish to the regular season in its history. The final seeding for seven of the eight playoff teams came down to the final game; just six points separated six of those teams. How will the league follow that up in 2012-13?
The NCHA coaches believe this year, the 13th year for NCHA Women’s hockey, will include even MORE drama than last year. Six of the top seven leading scorers from a year ago are back, including Player of the Year Dani Schultz of UW-Superior. Five All-Americans are back, from four different teams. Almost every team returns its leading scorer from last season.
The coaches’ poll was the tightest it has ever been, with first-place votes scattered among four different teams. UW-River Falls sits atop the poll for many reasons, one being the Falcons return five players who notched 25-plus points last year. The Falcons have been to the NCAA tournament four straight years and are planning nothing less for 2013.
Other teams receiving first-place votes: UW-Superior, Adrian and St. Scholastica. The Yellowjackets return their top nine scorers and an All-American at forward (Schultz), defense (Kaiti Graham) and goaltender (Shanley Peters). The Lady Bulldogs and Saints feature some of the best young forwards in the league – Adrian’s Hannah McGowan and St. Scholastica’s Nina and Monika Waidacher.
The season opens this Friday night as six teams play
non-conference games. The first weekend of NCHA play is
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