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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

CCHA Releases Annual Polls

Despite a strong showing in the CCHA Playoffs last season media pollsters and coaches have predicted LSSU to finish 9th and 7th respectively in the CCHA this season.

Both polls rewarded Miami of Ohio, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Michigan for finishing in the top four of the league last season with each team being put into the preseason polls again this season. Look for a team predicted to finish in the bottom of the league to make their mark this season as Miami and Notre Dame have the past two seasons.

"We're excited about our cluster. The last 11 or 12 years, we've had a deal with Joe Louis to play a home game here. This season we'll have Michigan and Michigan State and Northern Michigan in our building. Our season tickets have more than doubled from last season as of today so a lot of people are excited about getting some good opponents in our rink. Our goal is just to improve on last year. I think if we can just continue to build every year to get better and better and better I think good things will happen. The goals never change; probably for everybody here we want to get to Joe Louis. It just starts with working hard everyday and hopefully good things will work out at the end of the year. We have a couple big losses in Jeff Jakaitis in net and Derek A. Smith on defense. I think we have some guys that are ready to emerge and take that opportunity. We've been blessed at Lake State with great goaltending for a lot of years and I expect that to continue. The only other issue I've got is we have one senior on scholarship so we're a little young. I'm just hoping for some leadership to emerge over the first three weeks and the next couple of months to really solidify our team. I thought a key reason why we had some success at the end last year was our leadership." Head Coach Jim Roque was quoted as saying by

No Lakers where selected to the Preseason All CCHA teams this season.

Coaches Poll
1. Miami (5) 114
2. Michigan State (6) 113
3. Notre Dame (1) 105
4. Michigan 92
5. Ohio State 77
6. Nebraska-Omaha 68
7. Lake Superior 52
8. Northern Michigan 48
9. Ferris State 44
10. Western Michigan 41
11. Alaska 25
12. Bowling Green 13

Media Poll
1. Michigan State (25) 701
2. Miami (21) 667
3. Notre Dame (13) 656
4. Michigan (4) 596
5. Ohio State 414
6. Nebraska-Omaha 412
7. Western Michigan 352
8. Ferris State 279
9. Lake Superior State 270
10. Northern Michigan 248
11. Alaska 212
12. Bowling Green 108


Media and Coaches Agree to Disagree Again

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – For the second straight year, the coaches and media disagree over who should hold down the No. 1 position in the CCHA’s annual preseason polls. The conference’s 12 head coaches ranked Miami first while the media voted for defending NCAA champion Michigan State. Defending regular-season and playoff champion Notre Dame placed third in each category.

The RedHawks edged out the Spartans for top honors in the coaches poll despite finishing with one fewer first-place vote (five) compared to Michigan State (six). The Irish are the only other team picked by a coach to finish on top. For the second consecutive year, the Spartans garnered the most first-place votes in both rankings as they are also the top choice of 25 media members. Notre Dame attracted 13 first-place votes in media balloting with Michigan rounding out selections with the remaining four.

The RedHawks, guided by three-time CCHA Coach-of-the-Year Enrico Blasi, have 20 players returning, including both starting goaltenders, all eight defensemen who suited up last season for the team with the third-best defensive numbers in the conference, and impact senior forwards Ryan Jones and Nathan Davis. Jones, a 2004 draft pick of the Minnesota Wild, is the league’s top returning goal scorer after having notched 18 in conference action and 29 in overall games last season. Davis, selected by Chicago in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, was one of just nine players in the nation in 2006-07 to reach the 50-point plateau (21-29-50).

The Spartans also bring back 20 players from a squad that captured the school’s third national championship, and the eighth won by a CCHA member, on April 7 in St. Louis. Michigan State is backstopped by junior goaltender Jeff Lerg, who is 5-1-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and .949 save percentage in NCAA Tournament play, and led offensively by the potent all-junior combination of leading scorer Tim Kennedy (18-25-33), Frozen Four winning goal-scorer Justin Abdelkader and Pittsburgh draft pick Tim Crowder.

The Irish have 16 lettermen back, including their top five scorers led by Eric Condra (14-34-48) and 2007 All-Rookie Team picks Ryan Thang (20-21-41) and Kevin Deeth (17-22-39). On defense, another All-Rookie Team member, Kyle Lawson, will be joined by freshman Ian Cole, the first, first-round NHL draft choice in school history, who went 18th overall to St. Louis.

A total of 63 members of the media ranked the 12 CCHA teams in projected order of finish for the regular season. Points were awarded on a 12-11-10-9, etc., basis. League coaches ranked the CCHA teams, excluding their own school, in the order they predicted the regular season will end. Points in the coaches poll were tallied on a 11-10-9, etc., basis.

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