St. Norbert Takes Top Spot In NCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Following a season that culminated with a victory in the NCAA National Championship game, St. Norbert College has been 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.
After claiming their fifth NCAA National Championship in the past 11 seasons, the Green Knights (27-4-1, 15-3-0 NCHA) came out on top with 119 points and 10 of the 12 first-place votes.
NCHA All-League goalie T.J. Black headlines the returners after finishing second in the nation with his 1.44 goals-against average, first with 27 wins and third with a .940 save percentage. NCHA All-Freshman honorees Peter Bates (11-17-28 points), Keegan Milligan (12-13-25) and defenseman Luke Davison (6-13-19) also return for the Green Knights.
Adrian College (24-6-0, 17-1-0), which saw its postseason run end in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals after spending much of the regular season as the No. 1 team in the national polls, came in second with 112 points and the other two first-place votes.
The Bulldogs graduated a talented group at offense, but lean heavily on three-time All-NCHA defenseman Cory Dunn (3-27-30) as well as goalie Kevin Entmaa, who posted a 16-4 mark last year with a .932 save percentage and 1.88 GAA.
Marian University (20-8-1, 12-6-0), fresh off the first-ever league and school at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and a finish in the Top 15 in the country, came in third with 96 points. The Sabres graduated a talented core, but have Hunter Vorva returning in goal after going 20-8-1 with a .924 save percentage and 1.93 GAA.
The College of St. Scholastica went 15-11-1 last season, placing fourth in the poll with 85 points. Kyle Star (6-17-23) leads the offense into the new season after topping the Saints in scoring last winter.
Concordia University (77 points/16-9-2 in 2017-18) and Lake Forest College (74 points/15-11-2) make up the next two tightly-contested spots at fifth and sixth in the poll, as Brayden Barker (6-18-24) looks to improve on an inaugural campaign for the Falcons, one in which he was named NCHA Freshman of the year. The Foresters are led by NCHA All-League goalie Louis-Philippe De Courcy, who posted a .928 save percentage and 2.15 GAA a year ago.
Seventh through 10th place in the coaches poll were also tight, with Aurora University (5-15-5 last year) finishing seventh with 54 points, MSOE (11-14-2) eighth with 50, Lawrence University (10-15-2) ninth with 48 and Northland College (9-13-3) 10th with 43.
Trine University (20 points) and Finlandia University (14) rounded out the poll.
MEN’S NCHA COACHES POLL
1. St. Norbert 119 (10 first-place votes)
2. Adrian 112 (2 first-place votes)
3. Marian 96
4. St. Scholastica 85
5. Concordia Wisconsin 77
6. Lake Forest 74
7. Aurora 54
8. MSOE 50
9. Lawrence 48
10. Northland 43
11. Trine 20
12. Finlandia 14