Badgers tabbed as top pick to win WCHA in coaches preseason poll - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Badgers tabbed as top pick to win WCHA in coaches preseason poll

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MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin women’s hockey team was picked to win the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, according to a preseason poll of league coaches released Wednesday.

The defending WCHA regular season and tournament champions, UW earned 48 points and six first-place votes, while Minnesota collected 44 points and a pair of first-place votes to finish second in the coaches’ poll.

North Dakota (36) and Minnesota Duluth (30) were pegged to finish third and fourth, respectively, in the WCHA. Rounding out the poll was Bemidji State (27), St. Cloud State (16), Ohio State (13) and Minnesota State (10). Coaches could not vote for their own teams.

Wisconsin won the WCHA last season for the fifth time in program history thanks to a 24-3-1-1 conference ledger. UW went on to win the WCHA tournament title for a second-straight season before bowing out in the semifinals of the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four in Durham, New Hampshire.

Senior netminder Ann-Renee Desbiens, the 2016 USCHO Player of the Year, was selected as the conference’s preseason player of the year after winning the WCHA Player of the Year honor last year. The La Malbaie, Quebec, native received five of the eight votes for the award, while junior Annie Pankowski also received a vote.

A pair of Badgers were involved in a three-way tie for the WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year award, as UW’s Presley Norby and Abby Roque each received two votes, as did Minnesota’s Lindsay Agnew.

Wisconsin opens the 2016-17 season on the road at St. Cloud State on Sept. 23-24. Faceoff for UW’s season-opener is set for 6 p.m. on Sept. 23, while the series finale on Sept. 24 begins at 3 p.m.

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