Preseason favorite Adrian, who was ranked No. 4 in the USCHO.com poll, will have another battle on its hands for the Harris Cup from familiar foes, including Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) and Marian, who would like to represent the conference in the NCAA tournament at the end of the season. Meanwhile, other schools in the MCHA are preparing to make some noise. Adrian received four first place votes in the preseason MCHA Coach’s Poll, with MSOE receiving three and Marian picking up one lone first place vote.
2011-12 Coach’s poll: First
2011-12 USCHO prediction: First
2010-11 Overall record: 25-4-1
2010-11 Conference record: 18-1-1
2010-11 Finish: First
Key departures: The senior class of 2011.
Key returning players: Zach Graham (Jr.), Jordan Watts (Sr.), Andrew Dovey (Sr.), Chris Stansik (Sr.), Josh Cousineau (So.).
Key freshman: James Hamby, Scott Shackell, Justin Basso, Ryan Lowe.
Outlook: The preseason favorite Bulldogs have to replace the firepower lost with last year’s famed senior class, but is it a case of just reloading? Coach Ron Fogarty’s No. 4 team returns a speedy and quick group that will finish its checks. The looming question will be if the freshman combo of goalies can step in and keep the crease clean for the new D-III powerhouse.
Milwaukee School of Engineering Raiders
2011-12 Coach’s poll: Second
2011-12 USCHO prediction: Second
2010-11 Overall record: 21-6-1
2010-11 Conference Record: 16-3-1
2010-11 Finish: Second
Key departures: Kyle Ostapina, Aaron Humphries.
Key returning players: Toomey (Sr.), Brad Tierney (Sr.), Todd Krupa (Sr.), Jordan Keizer (Jr.).
Key freshman: Cole Gibson, Chris Fink, Josh Keizer.
Outlook: The Raiders have the talent and experience to be the team to beat in the MCHA this season. Coach Mark Ostapina’s team returns several players, including MCHA Player of the Year Conner Toomey, from a team that finished 21-6-1 overall last season and 16-3-1 in conference play.
2011-12 Coach’s poll: Third
2011-12 USCHO prediction: Third
2010-11 Overall record: 19-8
2010-11 Conference record: 15-5
2010-11 Finish: Third
strong>Key returning players: Dakota Dubetz (Jr.), Tommy Fitzpatrick (Jr.), Josh Baker (So.).
Key freshman: Bryce Wilson, Thomas Nosella, Aaron Leonard.
Outlook: The Sabres finished second in the MCHA tournament last year, but were disappointed with that result. Coach Jasen Wise’s team is returning 16 players, so they have experience to make a run at the conference title.
2011-12 Coach’s poll: Fourth
2011-12 USCHO prediction: Fourth
2010-11 Overall record: 14-13-1
2010-11 Conference record: 10-10
2010-11 Finish: Fourth
Key returning players: Matt Hughes, Ben DiMarco, William Thoren, Jameson Raymond.
Key freshmen: Gustav Lindgren, Phil Bushbacher.
Key departures: Evan Johnson.
Ooutlook: The Vikings are picked to finish fourth in the league. Coach Mike Szkodzinski’s biggest question is who will replace Evan Johnson, the number one goalie in the history of the Lawrence program. Five players, two juniors and three freshman will be battling for playing time.
2011-12 Coach’s poll: Fifth
2011-12 USCHO prediction: Fifth
2010-11 Overall record: 9-16-2
2010-11 Conference record: 8-10-2
2010-11 Finish: Fifth
Key players: Collin McIntosh, Brady Vandenberk, Kraig Wright, Mike Lennon.
Key freshmen: Skylar Ell, Garrett Nystedt, Sean Devlin.
Ooutlook: After completing the most successful season in school history, the Lumberjacks look to improve even more under seventh year coach Steve Fabiilli.
2011-12 Coach’s poll: Seventh
2011-12 USCHO prediction: Sixth
2010-11 Overall record: 3-21
2010-11 Conference record: 3-17
2010-11 Finish: Seventh
Key returning players: Cameron Goude, Charlie Benik, Nemanja Jankovic.
Key freshmen: Cedrik LaFrance, Travis Armstrong, Jordan Passino.
Outlook: Coach John McCabe will begin his second season in Hancock Mich., by bringing in 15 freshmen, who should compete for important roles for the Lions.
Lake Forest Foresters
2011-12 Coach’s poll: Sixth
2011-12 USCHO prediction: Seventh
2010-11 Overall record: 5-21-1
2010-11 Conference record: 5-14-1
2010-11 Finish: Sixth
Key departures: Tyler Gross, Jordan Cutler, Zach Kozak.
Outlook: First year coach Ryan McKelvie will bring in 14 freshmen to compete for ice time for a team that finished 5-21-1 overall in 2010-2011.
2011-12 Coach’s poll: Eighth
2011-12 USCHO prediction: Eighth
2010-11 Overall record: 2-22-1
2010-11 Conference record: 2-17-1
2010-11 Finish: Eighth
Key returning players: Graylyn Douglas, Greg Douglas, Jake Furey, Brad Lukacz.
Outlook: After a two-win season last year for an inexperienced Falcons team, they hope this season will be a season of change. Fifth year coach Tony Hrkac will look to improve on last year’s record with 20 returning players.