BLOOMINGTON -- The Bemidji State men’s hockey team was picked to finish second in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Preseason Media Poll when it was released Monday. The Beavers were slotted behind only Minnesota State, the unanimous choice to repeat as regular-season champion for the fourth consecutive season.
Additionally, junior forward Owen Sillinger and sophomore defenseman Elias Rosén were selected to represent BSU on the Preseason Media All-WCHA Team.
Sillinger picked up All-WCHA Second Team honors last season after posting a career-high 34 points from 14 goals and 20 assists, tying Adam Brady for the team scoring lead.
Rosén was named to the All-WCHA Third Team and the All-Rookie Team in 2019-20 for his 24-point freshman campaign that saw the blueliner total five goals and 19 assists.
Sillinger and Rosén are the first Bemidji State duo to receive Preseason All-WCHA honors since Gerry Fitzgerald and Michael Bitzer prior to the 2017-18 season.
The top two teams in the poll are unchanged from the final 2019-20 WCHA standings as the Mavericks (100 points) and Beavers (89) were slotted at the top of the predicted finishing order. MSU garnered all 10 first-place votes, and BSU received nine of 10 second-place votes.
Elsewhere, Bowling Green earned 76 points to take third, while Northern Michigan edged Michigan Tech to get the nod for fourth by one point, 68-67. Lake Superior State (44), Alaska (40) and Ferris State (33) round out the top eight, while Alaska Anchorage (21) and Alabama Huntsville (12) were tabbed to finish ninth and 10th, respectively.
Minnesota State junior goalie Dryden McKay was selected WCHA Preseason Media Player of the Year with 25 votes and accordingly secured a spot on the Preseason Media All-WCHA Team.
Northern Michigan junior forward Griffin Loughran took second in the player of the year voting with 21 votes and Sillinger third with five votes. Bemidji State goalie Zach Driscoll was among five others to receive votes, garnering two.
Joining McKay, Sillinger and Rosén on the All-WCHA team were Loughran and Bowling Green senior forward Connor Ford, as well as Ferris State sophomore defenseman Jake Willets.
Michigan Tech forward Carson Bantle collected WCHA Preseason Media Rookie of the Year honors with 16 votes, ahead of Minnesota State defenseman Akito Hirose’s 14. Beaver forwards Lukas Sillinger and Aaron Myers garnered three votes apiece.
The media poll voting board was made up of one representative from each of the league’s 10 markets.
Bemidji State, ranked No. 15 and 16 in the national preseason polls, opens the season at home against No. 4/5 Minnesota State, Nov. 20-21.
2020-21 WCHA Preseason Media Poll
Rank/Team (1st Place Votes)/Points
1. Minnesota State (10) 100
2. Bemidji State 89
3. Bowling Green 76
4. Northern Michigan 68
5. Michigan Tech 67
6. Lake Superior State 44
7. Alaska 40
8. Ferris State 33
9. Alaska Anchorage 21
10. Alabama Huntsville 12
Predicted order of finish. Based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.