DULUTH, Minn.--Returning most of its roster from a team that went 20-7-2 overall, won the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season Peters Cup crown and advanced to the national semifinals, Adrian College has been picked to finish first by the league coaches in the upcoming NCHA men's regular season. That announcement was made by the league office on Wednesday.
Following division titles for each program and a postseason run that nearly concluded with the two teams playing in the NCAA Division III national championship game, Adrian edged past St. Norbert College in the preseason coaches' poll.
The Bulldogs (20-7-2 overall, 17-3-0 NCHA) had their season come to a close in the NCAA semifinals, eventually finishing as the No. 3-ranked team in the country. This season, they come out at the top of the conference poll by garnering 118 total points and eight of the 12 possible first-place votes. Adrian is seeking its eighth conference tournament title in 11 years of existence, and first Harris Cup since 2016.
Adrian returns the top three point-scorers from the conference last season in senior left wing Kyle Brothers (1st/8 goals-28 assists-36 points), junior left wing Trevor Boyd (19-17-36/first in goals) and junior defenseman Cory Dunn (9-27-36). Boyd and Dunn were All-NCHA members, as was junior forward Bryan Yim (14-15-29) and junior goalie Kevin Entmaa (15-7-2, 2.27 GAA). Boyd and Dunn both earned coaches' All-America awards, and sophomore forward Vincent Paquette (14-15-29) was named the 2017 NCHA Freshman of the Year. In all, the Bulldogs return 90.8 percent of their goal-production and 93.7 percent of the assists, as well as their top two goalies.
Fans can catch their first glimpse of the 2017-18 edition of the Bulldogs at 2 p.m. Sunday in the annual Black and Gold intrasquad scrimmage at Arrington Ice Arena. There is no admission charge so fans are encouraged to come out to the arena to see the team prepare for the US Under-18 exhibition that will be hosted on Saturday, Oct. 28 (7:30 p.m.). Click on the link for ticket information for that contest versus Team USA.
St. Norbert was just behind, recording 114 points and the other four first-place votes. The Green Knights finished last season at 22-6-1 overall (15-4-1 NCHA), also falling in the NCAA semifinals. They finished as the No. 4 team in the final poll. NCHA All-League honorees Tanner Froese (13-9-22), Sean Campbell (7-7-14) and All-American T.J. Black (17-3-1, nation-best 1.31 GAA and 6 shutouts) lead the team in 2017-18.
The College of St. Scholastica, which went 13-13-1 last season, placed third in the poll with 95 points. Mark Whitley (3-14-17) leads the defense into the new season, with newcomer Brett Radford (10-11-21) named to the NCHA All-Freshman Team a season ago.
The next group in the poll consists of four teams, with Marian University (fourth, 78 points), MSOE (fifth, 77), Concordia University Wisconsin (sixth, 73) and Lake Forest College (seventh, 69) all tightly packed.
The Sabres return Derek Thorogood (10-15-25, 13th NCHA) and Jake Howie (8-16-24) to pace the offense, while All-American and NCHA All-Leaguer Gianni Mangone (10-12-22) is an offensive threat on the defensive end of the ice. MSOE lost NCHA All-League honoree Gage Christianson (15-13-28) to graduation, but does return James Ring (7-18-25). Meanwhile, the Foresters will need to replace NCHA Player of the Year and All-American Jack Lewis (17-15-32).
Eighth through 10th place in the coaches poll were tight, with Northland College (11-13-2 last year) finishing eighth with 48 points, Aurora (4-19-2) ninth with 45 and Lawrence University (6-16-3) 10th with 43.
Finlandia University and league newcomer Trine rounded out the poll with 16 points each.
(Editor's note: The NCHA office contributed to parts of this news release.)
MEN'S NCHA COACHES POLL
1. Adrian 118 (8 first-place votes)
2. St. Norbert 114 (4 first-place votes)
3. St. Scholastica 95
4. Marian 78
5. MSOE 77
6. Concordia Wisconsin 73
7. Lake Forest 69
8. Northland 48
9. Aurora 45
10. Lawrence 43
11. Finlandia 16
12. Trine 16
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