Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Coaches pick Gophers to finish second in WCHA women's hockey

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under WCHA news Updated: September 20, 2011 - 2:16 PM

Kevin Pates of the Duluth News Tribune has good sources around the WCHA.

On Tuesday afternoon, he published the preseason WCHA women's hockey poll based on coaches' votes:

2011-12 WCHA Coaches Preseason Poll     
First-place votes in parentheses
1.    Wisconsin (6)    47
2.     Minnesota (2)    44
3.    Minnesota Duluth    35
4.    North Dakota    34
5.    Ohio State    24
6.     Bemidji State    20
7.     Minnesota State    13
8.    St. Cloud State    7
(Note: coaches could not vote for their own teams; points were awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system.)

I checked on the WCHA web site for the poll and, when it was not there, called Doug Spencer, WCHA associate commissioner for public relations. He said it will be release Wednesday. OK.

It's not surprising that the unofficial official poll above has the Badgers rated No. 1. Wisconsin finished the 2010-11 season with a 27-game unbeaten streak and has 18 players back. They were 37-2-2 last season, won the WCHA regular season and playoffs titles and the NCAA title.

Senior forward Hilary Knight of the Badgers is the preseason pick for Player of the Year, once again according to Pates. She has 112 goals over three season. Gophers forward Meghan Lorence is among the three favorites for Rookie of the Year.

U RATED 4TH NATIONALLY

The Gophers were rated No. 4 in uscho.com's preseason national poll released Monday. Wisconsin was No. 1, followed by Boston University and Cornell. Close behind the Gophers in the top 10 were No. 6 UMD and No. 7 North Dakota of the WCHA.

The public will get their first look at the Gophers at 10 a.m. Saturday during the maroon and gold scrimmage at Ridder Arena.

They open the season in the East-West Showcase at Ridder on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. The Gophers play Union the first night, Syracuse the second.

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