In each of the past 10 years, either Wisconsin or Minnesota has won the WCHA Women’s League regular-season title, so it’s no surprise that the conference’s coaches think highly of the Badgers and Gophers this season.
On Monday, WCHA coaches picked Wisconsin to win the conference and the Gophers as a close second in their preseason poll. The Badgers received 34 points and four of seven first-place votes; Minnesota had 31 points and the other three first-place votes. Ohio State, last season’s WCHA tournament champion, was third with 28 points, followed by Minnesota Duluth (21), Bemidji State (14), Minnesota State Mankato (13) and St. Cloud State (six).
Wisconsin forward Daryl Watts was named preseason player of the year.
Gophers forward Abbey Murphy received four votes and was named preseason rookie of the year.
The All-WCHA first team included Watts, Ohio State’s Emma Maltais and Wisconsin’s Sophie Shirley at forward, the Gophers’ Emily Brown and Minnesota Duluth’s Ashton Bell on defense, and Ohio State goalie Andrea Braendli.
Phoenix native picks U
The Gophers received a national letter of intent from forward Matthew Knies, a Phoenix native who is playing hockey for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL this season.
The 18-year-old Knies, 6-2 and 205 pounds, had 14 goals and 31 assists for Tri-City in 44 games in 2019-20. He played for the Phoenix Junior Coyotes Under-16 AAA team in 2018-19, collecting 24 goals and 13 assists in 25 games.
Knies’ parents, Miroslav and Michaela Knies, moved their family from Slovakia to the United States before Matthew was born.
McKee wins U23 title
Former Gopher Mitch McKee won the won the 61-kilogram division at the U23 Junior Nationals wrestling meet over the weekend in Omaha. McKee, a two-time All-America, went 5-0, including a 10-0 victory in the final. He is now eligible for the 2021 Junior World Team Trials.
• Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Emma Drangstveit, a senior from Lakeville, was chosen winner of the WIAC Women’s Cross-Country Scholar-Athlete Award. Drangstveit has a 3.50 GPA majoring in psychology with a minor in family studies, while being a part of three Blugolds conference championship teams.