Three teams received first-place votes, but Alabama-Huntsville edged Bemidji State as the coaches’ choice atop the 2005-06 College Hockey America preseason poll.
The Chargers, runners-up in the CHA regular season and playoff championship last season, earned three of five possible votes (coaches could not vote for their own teams) and 22 points.
The two-time defending Peters Cup champion (regular season) and last year’s McLeod Trophy winner (tournament), Bemidji State received two first-place votes and tallied 21 points.
Wayne State received the remaining first-place vote and earned 19 points in the voting. The remainder of the poll featured Niagara with 14 points, Robert Morris (eight points) and Air Force (six points).
After posting a pair of shutouts in the CHA championship and four during the 2004-05 campaign, Bemidji State sophomore goalie Matt Climie was selected as the preseason player of the year. En route to a league-best 1.80 goals against average, Climie allowed three or fewer goals in 15 of his 18 decisions while earning CHA All-Rookie honors, followed by being named the most valuable player of the CHA championship.
Alabama-Huntsville senior Jeremy Schreiber and Niagara senior Andrew Lackner are repeat selections on the preseason team, with Schreiber earning a unanimous selection for the third year in a row.
Schreiber is a two-time first-team All-CHA honoree who ranks fifth in career scoring in the league’s annals with 65 points. Last season, he tied for the league lead among defensemen with 23 points, including 21 assists, which led all CHA blueliners.
Lackner, on the other hand, scored 12 points last season and has 33 in 109 career games. He was recognized for anchoring the Purple Eagles’ blueline with his defensive play.
The forwards are led by the league’s top goal-scorer in 2004-05, Alabama-Huntville senior Bruce Mulherin, who scored 24 in 31 games. His 0.77 goals per game were second nationally and he set a CHA record with a .199 shooting percentage.
The 2004 and 2005 CHA rookies of the year round out the forwards with Bemidji State junior Luke Erickson and Wayne State sophomore Stavros Paskaris earning preseason honors for the first time. Erickson was second in the CHA in assists (27) and tied for fifth in scoring (38) last season. He has averaged a point per game in his first two collegiate seasons, scoring 23 goals and 70 points in 70 games.
Paskaris earned league rookie of the year honors last season after leading all CHA freshmen in goals (12), assists (21) and points (33). He also tied for the league lead with five shorthanded points.
Climie was also named to the preseason team in goal heading into his sophomore season. His 1.80 goals against average was the lowest by a CHA netminder since Niagara’s Greg Gardner posted a 1.53 GAA during the 1999-2000 season, which included an NCAA-record 12 shutouts.
2005-06 CHA Coaches’ Poll
Rk Team (1st) Pts
1. Alabama-Huntsville (3) 22
2. Bemidji State (2) 21
3. Wayne State (1) 19
4. Niagara 14
5. Robert Morris 8
6. Air Force 6
Preseason All-CHA Team
Pos Name Year School
F Luke Erickson, Jr., Bemidji State
F Bruce Mulherin, Sr., Alabama-Huntsville
F Stavros Paskaris, So., Wayne State
D Jeremy Schreiber, Sr., Alabama-Huntsville
D Andrew Lackner, Sr., Niagara
G Matt Climie, So., Bemidji State
Preseason Player of the Year