Sept. 25, 2012
Tuesday morning, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association released that the University of Minnesota has been voted by the coaches as the preseason favorite to win the 2012-13 league crown. Freshman Hannah Brandt was also tagged as the unanimous Preseason Rookie of the Year.
The Golden Gophers, who have been voted the unanimous preseason No. 1 team in the nation by both USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine, return 15 letterwinners from last year’s squad which won the 2011-12 NCAA National Championship. Included in those 15 returners is the Gophers’ leading scorer from the past two seasons, Amanda Kessel, and the Frozen Four MVP and three-time Patty Kazmaier Award nominee, Noora Raty. Minnesota also adds depth to their roster as they bring in six talented freshmen and one sophomore transfer.
Among those freshmen is standout forward Hannah Brandt, who was tagged the unanimous WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year. Brandt, who was arguably the top recruit in the nation, was a member of the United State U-18 Team that won a gold medal at the 2011 World Championships and also played on the U.S. National Team that went 6-0 at the 2011 Twelve Nations Invitational.
The Maroon & Gold grabbed six of the eight first-place votes to reach a league-high 48 points, while Wisconsin and North Dakota each received one first-place vote and tied for second in the preseason poll with 40 points.
Minnesota Duluth, with 32 points, was selected to finish fourth, followed by Ohio State in fifth place, Bemidji State in sixth, Minnesota State in seventh and St. Cloud State in eighth.
Wisconsin senior forward Brianna Decker, the 2012 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner and reigning WCHA Player of the Year, was the coaches’ preseason choice for WCHA Player of the Year. She had four votes, while Kessel and North Dakota forward Jocelyne Lamoureux, last season’s league scoring champion, each received two.
2012-13 WCHA Head Coaches’ Pre-Season Poll
Rk Team (1st place votes) Points
1 Minnesota (6) 48
2 North Dakota (1) 40
Wisconsin (1) 40
4 Minnesota Duluth 32
5 Ohio State 24
6 Bemidji State 19
7 Minnesota State 12
8 St. Cloud State 9
(Note: coaches could not vote for their own teams in the poll and points were awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system)
WCHA Pre-Season Player of the Year (votes)
Brianna Decker, Sr., F, Wisconsin (4); Amanda Kessel, Jr., F, Minnesota (2) and Jocelyne Lamoureux, Sr., F, North Dakota (2).
WCHA Pre-Season Rookie of the Year (votes)
Hannah Brandt, Fr., D, Minnesota (8).