A week ago I took part in the 3rd Annual WCHA Blogger & Website Preseason Poll as one of 18 participants and thought it would be a good idea to break down my own picks for the final year of the conference as we know it going from 12 to 1. Coming in at tenth is a team that had home ice in the first round of the WCHA playoffs last year after finishing fifth, Colorado College.
It's odd having the Tigers as low as tenth in the WCHA given their run of success but one team seems to underachieve every year and (as much as I hope to be wrong) I see Colorado College being that team. Ending the season going 3-7 in their last ten games - including being swept at home by Michigan Tech - doesn't help matters but it is who CC lost which hurts more. Leading point scorer Jaden Schwartz signed a contract with the St. Louis Blues after his sophomore year while Nick Dineen and Gabe Guentzel graduated.
The Tigers do get back the elder Schwartz, senior and 23 goal scorer Rylan, to lead an offense which lost nearly 40% of its scoring with Alexander Krushelynski (20 points) and William Rapuzzi (15 points). Mike Boivin leads a defense which returns everyone besides Guenzel and the Tigers have two strong goalies in Josh Thorimbert and Joe Howe. They will have to lead things early in a conference full of offensive talent as CC searches for secondary scoring to emerge like freshman Hunter Fejes (Phoenix Coyotes).
One thing that may help Colorado College in the WCHA is the fact they don't have their first conference game until November 2nd against Wisconsin. They will be tested against three NCAA tournament teams from last year in Air Force, Cornell and UMass-Lowell but the experience gained against those three and Clarkson could help the Tigers when conference games begin.
Agree with the picks? Disagree? Sound off below.
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