Here’s how I see the race for home ice shaking out…
1. North Dakota: Locked and loaded for a title run.
2. St. Cloud State: The only question mark is on the blue line. After Lauridsen, there’s not much experience on the back end.
3. Minnesota-Duluth: The Bulldogs have the depth and experience to make a run at the MacNaughton Cup and more.
4. Denver: The Pios lost Rhakshani and Ruegsegger to graduation and three more (Cheverie, Colborne, and Wiercioch) left early for the NHL. I still have a feeling Denver will be a force in the second half.
5. Wisconsin: Wisconsin was decimated by graduation and early departures, so 5th might be high. Call it a hunch that Eaves will secure home ice with his young team.
6. Minnesota: There’s talent on the ice, but we’ve seen more talented Gopher teams finish in the bottom half.
7. Colorado College: Yet another young team with potential; Scott Owens often gets his teams to overachieve.
8. Bemidji State: The Beavers will score, but will it be enough?
9. Nebraska-Omaha: It’s tough to pick a Dean Blais team to finish this low, but I think they’re a year away from really contending.
10. MSU-Mankato: Young up front, but experienced on the back end. If the Mavs can keep games close early, Jutting could have his squad in the mix for home ice.
11. Alaska-Anchorage: Ten freshmen and 40 minutes of returning experience in net means the Seawolves will be lucky to win five WCHA games.
12. Michigan Tech: Goaltender Kevin Genoe will keep them in games, but that’s about it.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment and leave your predicted order of finish below.