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09-10-2011, 10:27 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Time for the last WCHA (as we know it) preview
Needless to say by the emoticon I'm not a fan of the direction things are heading. Big10 Hockey has no appeal to me, the poorly named "Super Conference" should be pretty great, Miami is a nice addition to the remaining WCHA schools in that conference, and the WCCCHA will be...ehhhh.
What's done is done, let's hope for a barn-burner of a final season for the greatest conference ever to grace college hockey. I'm usually 1st to do the season preview but I saw some other Badger fan had one my colleague, BigChief, posted. It feels like the W will be a little weaker as a whole this year but still has some contenders to defend the throne it took back from Hockey East last year. I'll go alphabetical and I'd appreciate any input from other fans about any freshman coming in because I haven't dedicated much time to recruits. Without further ado...I give you AA!
The biggest surprise about this team to me last year wasn't that they made the Final Five, okay, maybe it was. Aside from that they had a pretty good freshman class led by playmaker Jordan Kwas and power forward Matt Bailey. Brett Cameron was another frosh to finish top 10 in scoring for the team. They started the year with some very gritty 1 goal losses and hit their stride at the end of the year rattling off 5 wins, including the shocker of beating Minny to get to the Final Five. They finally lost to a CC squad that was really firing on all cylinders.
There is a large incoming class of freshman which I really know nothing about other than they seem to be huge, Shyiak tends to recruit the hosses in his program. 3 of the top 10 scorers are gone including standout Tommy Grant. It remains to be seen if there are some surprise recruits this year like there was last. They'll be returning both starting goalies, both of whom posted decent GAA but not so much in the save%...which leads me to the real weakness of this team, the defense. Until AA starts to get some mobile guys on the backline they won't make much noise in the conference (at least until most of the good teams leave).
This will probably be a rewind of last year without the Final 5 trip; gritty hockey, some quality wins, and a finish near the bottom. AA is nothing, if not consistent.
For an entertaining and informative look at AA hockey go to Donald Dunlap's AA fan blog. You can usually find it featured at College Hockey News. It's most entertaining during North Dakota week. Trust me!
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