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WCHA Preseason Media Poll: Denver Pioneers, Colorado College Take Top Spots

The Western College Hockey Association Preseason Media Poll has been released and the Denver Pioneers and the Colorado College Tigers are predicted to finish Nos. 1 and 2 this season. This should come as no surprise as the two national polls had the schools at Nos. 4 and 7, respectively. The Pioneers took 16 of the 26 first-place votes, while Colorado College received seven.

Defending Frozen Four champions, the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, are predicted to finish fifth in a stacked conference. The WCHA is the top college hockey conference for the next two years before the National Collegiate Hockey Conference begins play in 2013. Denver, Colorado College, North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota-Duluth will leave the WCHA for the NCHC.

Denver and Colorado College also dominated the preseason awards. Denver's Jason Zucker was voted preseason player of the year. He scored 23 goals and totaled 45 points during the 2010-11 season. Colorado College's Jaden Schwartz finished second. Schwartz, a sophomore, enjoyed a fine rookie campaign with 17 goals and 30 assists after playing in just 30 games.

The Pioneers and Tigers combined to place five players on the preseason all-WCHA team, and Tigers head coach Scott Owens was voted preseason coach of the year.

Our WCHA blog, Western College Hockey Blog, had a vote in the poll and placed Denver at No. 2 and Colorado College at No. 4

Here are the predicted results:

1. Denver (16 first-place votes)
2. Colorado College (7)
3. North Dakota (2)
4. Nebraska-Omaha (1)
5. Minnesota-Duluth
6. Minnesota
7. Wisconsin
(tie) St. Cloud State
9. Alaska-Anchorage
10. Bemidji State
11. Minnesota State
12. Michigan Tech

For more, check out our WCHA blog Western College Hockey Blog.