Bryan Rust and the Irish were selected to finish first in both the coaches' and media CCHA preseason polls.

Irish Picked To Finish First By CCHA Coaches And Media

Sept. 28, 2011

Farmington Hills, Mich. – For just the second time in six years, the coaches and media agree on who should own the No. 1 position in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s annual preseason polls. Notre Dame received enough points from the conference’s 11 head coaches and 72 media members to be named the preseason favorite in both polls.

In the coaches’ poll, the Fighting Irish captured eight first-place votes and two seconds, while Miami took two first-place votes as well as five seconds to come in just nine points behind the favorite. Michigan had the remaining first-place votes to finish third with Western Michigan placing 10 points back at fourth. Alaska collected 63 total points to finish fifth.

The media also voted in favor of Notre Dame, with Miami coming in second and Michigan again rounding out the top three. The Irish picked up 44 of a possible 72 first-place votes, while the RedHawks garnered 16 and the Wolverines received 12 first-place votes. The Broncos and Nanooks finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the media poll as well.

The Fighting Irish, who finished in second place in the 2010-11 regular season and made it to the Frozen Four, return 17 letter winners including nine of its top 12 scorers, including the one-two punch of sophomore forwards T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) and Anders Lee (Edina, Minn.) who were the top two rookie scorers in the conference last season on the way to all-rookie team honors and second team all-conference selections. Both players were named to the CCHA Preseason all-conference first team. Senior defenseman Sean Lorenz (Littleton, Colo.), the CCHA’s top defensive defenseman as a junior anchors a young Notre Dame blue line along with honorable mention all-CCHA defender Sam Calabrese (Park Ridge, Ill.) and sophomore Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.). Junior goaltender Mike Johnson (Verona, Wis.) was a 20-game winner for the Irish in his second season between the pipes.

The RedHawks are the defending CCHA Tournament champions and return 16 letter winners, including CCHA Preseason all-conference first team selections senior Cody Reichard in goal and junior Reilly Smith at forward.

Michigan returns 16 players from a squad that won the `10-’11 CCHA regular-season title and appeared in the National Championship game, including CCHA Preseason all-conference first team selection sophomore defenseman Jon Merrill.

Western Michigan comes off of a fourth-place regular-season finish led by sophomore forward Chase Balisy, a CCHA Preseason all-conference second team selection.

A total of 72 media members ranked the 11 CCHA teams in projected order of finish for the regular season. Points were awarded on an 11-10-9-8, etc., basis. League coaches ranked the CCHA teams, excluding their own school, in the order they predicted the regular season would end.

The actual results of both polls:

CCHA Coaches Poll (1st)   Points      Media Poll (1st)           Points1.   NOTRE DAME (8)        108        1.   NOTRE DAME (44)        8192.   Miami (2)              99        2.   Miami (16)             7723.   Michigan (1)           93        3.   Michigan (12)          7574.   Western Michigan       83        4.   Western Michigan       6045.   Alaska                 63        5.   Alaska                 4496.   Northern Michigan      60        6.   Michigan State         4397.   Ohio State             56        7.   Ferris State           4258.   Michigan State         51             Northern Michigan      4259.   Ferris State           50        9.   Ohio State             38610.  Lake Superior          30        10.  Lake Superior          29811.  Bowling Green          22        11.  Bowling Green          170