Buckeyes Preseason Pick In CCHA

Ohio State, which finished second last season in the CCHA regular-season standings and at the Super Six championship, has been anointed as the conference favorite this season.

On Tuesday, the league announced that OSU earned the maximum possible 11 first-place votes in the coaches poll (coaches may not vote for their own teams), and also took home a dominating 45 of 54 first-place votes in the media poll.

Michigan ranked second in both polls, earning seven of the nine remaining first-place votes from the media, while Michigan State and Northern Michigan were the only other teams to garner first-place votes in the media poll.

The Buckeyes, looking to capture their first regular-season CCHA championship, are led by two preseason All-CCHA First Team selections, senior goaltender David Caruso and senior forward Rod Pelley. The roster, which returns 21 letterwinners, also features sophomore forward Tom Fritsche, who was selected to the CCHA All-Tournament and All-Rookie Teams in his first year; and two star defensemen, All-Conference Second Team Nate Guenin, and All-Tournament teamer Sean Collins.

Michigan, which looks to defend its regular-season and Super Six titles, is led by junior forward T.J. Hensick, the CCHA’s 2004-05 scoring champion, and an All-Conference Second Teamer, junior defenseman Matt Hunwick. In search of their 16th straight NCAA tournament bid, the Wolverines will depend on a roster that features 11 freshmen, including defenseman Jack Johnson, who was selected third overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in this year’s NHL Entry Draft.

With a lineup boasting 11 NHL draft picks, Northern Michigan, which returns last year’s Best Defensive Defenseman award winner, senior Nathan Oystrick, and returns its top eight scorers and seven defensemen from last season, sat in third place on both polls. Michigan State, led by junior goaltender Dominic Vicari, was fourth.

A total of 54 members of the media ranked the 12 CCHA teams in projected order of finish for the regular season. Points were awarded on a 12-11-10-9, etc., basis. League coaches ranked the CCHA teams, excluding their own school, in the order they predicted the regular season will end. Points in the coaches poll were tallied on a 11-10-9, etc., basis.

CCHA Preseason Coaches Poll

Rk Team (1st) Points
1. Ohio State (11) 121
2. Michigan (1) 108
3. Northern Michigan 96
4. Michigan State 93
5. Nebraska-Omaha 78
6. Miami 69
7. Alaska Fairbanks 65
8. Bowling Green State 50
9. Notre Dame 36
10. Ferris State 28
11. Lake Superior State 23
12. Western Michigan 22

CCHA Preseason Media Poll

Rk Team (1st) Points
1. Ohio State (45) 622
2. Michigan (7) 581
3. Northern Michigan (1) 494
4. Michigan State (1) 432
5. Nebraska-Omaha 380
6. Alaska Fairbanks 372
7. Miami 368
8. Bowling Green State 300
9. Notre Dame 196
10. Western Michigan 179
11. Lake Superior State 159
12. Ferris State 112