WCHA preseason polls predict a second-place finish for Minnesota

Brian Deutsch

The Minnesota men’s hockey team was picked to finish second behind North Dakota in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association preseason poll this week.

The Sioux, who have gone to three consecutive Frozen Fours, garnered votes from seven of the ten conference coaches while the Gophers were the only other team to receive first place nods.

Minnesota is the two-time defending WCHA champion.

Additionally, Sioux forward Ryan Duncan was named the WCHA preseason player of the Year – beating out teammates junior forward T.J. Oshie, junior defenseman Taylor Chorney and Gophers’ sophomore forward Kyle Okposo.

Last season, Duncan became just the second player in Sioux history to win the Hobey Baker Award, which is given to the best player in college hockey.

Wisconsin forward Kyle Turris earned the WCHA rookie of the year honor.

Minnesota will open the 2007-2008 season with the Icebreaker Invitational at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Oct. 12.

Marvin named preseason player of the year

For the women’s team Minnesota junior forward Gigi Marvin was named the WCHA preseason player of the year earlier this week while the Gophers were predicted to finish in third place this season.

Marvin led Minnesota with 38 points and was named first-team all-WCHA last year.

The Warroad, Minn. native picked up five votes in the polls while Ohio State defender Tessa Bonhomme, Wisconsin’s junior Jessie Vetter and junior Erika Lawler garnered one vote each.

The Badgers were selected to repeat as conference champions and will attempt to win their third-straight national championship.

Wisconsin forward Hillary Knight was picked as the WCHA Rookie of the Year, while Gophers’ forward Emily West garnered one vote in the polls.

The Minnesota women’s hockey team begins a new era under interim coach Brad Frost next weekend when it hosts the Nike Bauer Women’s Classic.