The long grind of another WCHA regular season has come and gone and, as always, it was a five-month, 168-game expedition filled with thrilling wins, heartbreaking losses, overachievement, underachievement, emerging stars, rising stars, unbeaten streaks and some unexpected results.

Minnesota State’s 11th-place finish was the only spot chosen correctly in both the coaches and media preseason polls. Tyler, on the other hand, correctly placed Denver and North Dakota at third and fourth, respectively, and had Bemidji State properly slotted at ninth. Don’t ask how his co-columnist’s preseason picks came out.

Minnesota led from the opening weekend of conference play, waking up each Sunday with at least a share of first place, on its way to a 13th MacNaughton Cup title. The defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs went three months without a loss behind Hobey Baker Award candidate Jack Connolly en route to a runner-up finish in the conference.

Freshman goaltender Juho Olkinuora stepped in when Adam Murray went down and held down the fort until Sam Brittain’s return from offseason knee surgery to help lead the Pioneers to the third seed in the WCHA playoffs. North Dakota overcame a miserable 1-5-0 start, a slew of injuries and a midseason loss of identity to rally to a fourth-place finish behind its annual second-half surge under Dave Hakstol.

A first-half scoring machine, Colorado College’s red-hot offense cooled after the break and it cost the Tigers a few spots in the standings. But behind the Schwartz brothers and goaltender Josh Thorimbert, the Tigers, picked by most to be in a battle for the MacNaughton Cup, held on to postseason home ice as the fifth seed.

Speaking of home ice, St. Cloud State’s 5-2-1 record in its last eight games allowed the Huskies to catch and surpass Nebraska-Omaha to become the sixth and final playoff host. That’s a remarkable end to a season marred by injuries and defections of key players for coach Bob Motzko (more on that later).

Despite UNO’s late-season swoon in which it was swept at home the final two weekends by Minnesota and Denver to fall to seventh, the Mavericks earned at least a point in each series leading up to that. No win was more significant than beating UMD 3-1 on Jan. 14 to end the Bulldogs’ unbeaten streak at 17 games.

Perhaps the WCHA’s most surprising turnaround occurred in Houghton, Mich., where Michigan Tech plucked a ripened Mel Pearson from a bountiful Red Berenson coaching tree to lead the Huskies. Combined with the return of Jordan Baker and Brett Olson along with Josh Robinson’s goaltending, Pearson’s return to his alma mater produced nine more wins and 20 additional points over last season.

Although they finished in ninth place, just one spot ahead of where they ended last season, the Bemidji State Beavers were no pushovers in 2011-12. BSU recorded a winning record (8-7-3) against the five teams immediately above it in the conference standings and succeeded where Nebraska-Omaha and Denver failed by sweeping Alabama-Huntsville.

Wisconsin received an infusion of youth this season, including a pair of freshman goaltenders, and suffered through the growing pains one would expect to be associated with it. But the Justin Schultz-and-Mark Zengerle-led Badgers have caught fire of late and enter the postseason having won four of five overall, including three of four on the road.

While 11th-place Minnesota State is 8-18-2 in conference play this season, it has gone 6-7-1 in league games this calendar year. Decimated by injuries in the first half (coach Troy Jutting reported 11 skaters at one October practice in particular), the Mavericks have played an improved brand of hockey since December.

Has it been a tough year for coach Dave Shyiak and his 12th-place Alaska-Anchorage squad after last season’s Final Five appearance? In a word, yes. But the Seawolves play hard every night and compete to the final whistle. That intensity earned them impressive road wins at Colorado College, St. Cloud State and Minnesota State, while a home win over UMD wasn’t too shabby, either.

To complete our look back at the 2011-12 WCHA season we now offer up to you for your viewing our selections for postseason awards and our All-WCHA teams. Each of us completed an independent ballot and hashed out our differences to compile what you will find below.

All-WCHA first team

F Jack Connolly, Minnesota-Duluth
F Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota
F J.T. Brown, Minnesota-Duluth
D Justin Schultz, Wisconsin
D Ben Blood, North Dakota
G Kent Patterson, Minnesota

Comments: All-American and Hobey Baker Award candidate Connolly is the ultimate no-brainer here with his league-leading 43 points. Bjugstad’s size, strength and scorer’s touch make him a man among boys. And Brown is a lights-out goal scorer with a (football term) motor that never quits. Don’t forget that Brown’s 37 points came without playing on Connolly’s line. Schultz is hands down the best player at his position in the country while Blood is simply a physical and defensive beast who logs a ton of ice time in all situations.

All-WCHA second team

F Drew Shore, Denver
F Travis Oleksuk, Minnesota-Duluth
F Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin
D Nate Schmidt, Minnesota
D Joey LaLeggia, Denver
G Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College

Comments: Shore is the best all-around player on a stacked Denver team while Oleksuk’s 36 points were also not Connolly-reliant. Zengerle was a consistent producer who nearly broke his coach’s consecutive-games scoring streak. Schmidt burst into our consciousness out of nowhere with 34 points overall (3-31–34) after notching only a point in 13 games as a freshman. LaLeggia is on pace to destroy Schultz’s career totals if he stays in college long enough. Thorimbert’s league-leading save percentage and fourth-ranked goals against average (second among those who played more than 15 games) was convincing enough for us.

All-WCHA third team

F Brock Nelson, North Dakota
F Jaden Schwartz, Colorado College
F Jason Zucker, Denver
D Brad Hunt, Bemidji State
D Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State
G Kenny Reiter, Minnesota-Duluth

Comments: This is where it gets difficult and players get left behind. Brock Nelson’s league-leading 20 goals in conference play could not be ignored. Jaden Schwartz is an offensive magician who can hurt you in many ways. Zucker is a speedy, gifted scorer in his own right. Hunt is a force on both ends of the ice, quarterbacking the WCHA’s fourth-ranked power play and logging big minutes on BSU’s league-leading penalty kill. Jensen’s 30 points overall ranks only behind Schultz, LaLeggia and Schmidt. Reiter is second only to Patterson in league in wins, minutes, and shutouts.

Honorable mention: F Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State; F Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College; F Terry Broadhurst, Nebraska-Omaha; F Jordan George, Bemidji State; F Erik Haula, Minnesota; F Danny Kristo, North Dakota; D Brady Lamb, Minnesota-Duluth; D Gabe Guentzel, Colorado College; D Andrew MacWilliam, North Dakota; D Wade Bergman, Minnesota-Duluth; G Dan Bakala, Bemidji State; G Mike Lee, St. Cloud State.

All-WCHA rookie team

F Caleb Herbert, Minnesota-Duluth
F Jean-Paul LaFontaine, Minnesota State
F Kyle Rau, Minnesota
D Joey LaLeggia, Denver
D Andrew Prochno, St. Cloud State
G Juho Olkinuora, Denver

Comments: Herbert played big minutes and produced big points on a national title contender while LaFontaine led his team in scoring and Rau was a factor in all three zones for the MacNaughton Cup champs. LaLeggia’s numbers were obscene for a freshman defenseman and Prochno’s points were huge on a team whose forward corps was decimated this season. Unexpectedly called into action, Olkinuora’s solid, often spectacular, play kept Denver in the hunt for a high seed.

Honorable mention: F Jayson Megna, Nebraska-Omaha; F Matt Leitner, Minnesota State; F David Johnstone, Michigan Tech; D Nick Mattson, North Dakota; D Zach Palmquist, Minnesota State; G Ryan Massa, Nebraska-Omaha.

Individual awards

Player of the year — Jack Connolly, Minnesota-Duluth: Far and away the league’s scoring champion and this season’s Hobey Baker Award winner if there is any justice in this world at all. The best player on a great team who makes anyone who plays with him a better player. Not to mention he’s one of those “character guys” who leads his team by example and represents his team with class on and off the ice.

Defensive player of the year — Justin Schultz, Wisconsin: A two-time national leader in scoring among defensemen, he shared the burden with Zengerle of carrying the Badgers this season. Any other year, he might be our player of the year but he’s by far the best player at his position.

Rookie of the year — Kyle Rau, Minnesota: Denver’s LaLeggia is an excellent puck mover and it’s absurd the amount of points (37) he’s putting up as a freshman at the defenseman position and rebounded nicely after a dry spell before Christmas, but 5-foot-8 Rau (16-18–34) takes the hardware for this category.

Whereas most rookies need time to warm up to the speed and physicality of the WCHA, Minnesota’s pint-sized rookie embraced all of it. His hands are two of the quickest and softest leaguewide. He’s quick in open ice but likes to score the greasy, worker goals around the crease. He doesn’t hesitate to backcheck or put himself in position to take a lick for the betterment of his team. And with all the trash he talks, he does deserve the licks he takes, but that’s not the issue here. Rau is destined to be a star in the WCHA.

Goaltending champion — Kent Patterson, Minnesota: It was difficult to single out one goaltender as the best in the WCHA this season, but Patterson is our pick. Arguments can be made for Denver’s Finnish freshman Olkinuora (.926 save percentage), who came into the season the Pioneers second option to fill in for the injured Sam Brittain, and kept Denver afloat until Brittain returned.

Thorimbert of Colorado College (.927) and Massa of Nebraska-Omaha (.917) were candidates but didn’t get consistent time in goal to raise many eyebrows. St. Cloud State got a boost when Lee returned from hip surgery despite good performances by rookie Ryan Faragher.

Patterson (.915) and Minnesota-Duluth’s Kenny Reiter (.909) have realistically been the only two constants in WCHA goaltending this season, and Patterson has been the better of the two. Patterson has the league’s best goals against average (2.14) and is the only goalie to surpass 2,000 minutes this season. With the exception of a couple meltdowns here and there, Patterson has given the Gophers a chance to win every night.

Coach of the year — Bob Motzko, St. Cloud State: He lost two of his three captains in October in starting goaltender Lee and high-scoring forward Drew LeBlanc and got only one (Lee) back before the end of the year. The loss of forward Cam Reid to the CHL at midseason was another blow for the Huskies who, due to further injury issues, were lining up defensemen at forward in late January into February. But St. Cloud State continued to battle and thanks to a late-season burst captured the final home-ice playoff berth on the season’s final night.

Minnesota’s Don Lucia was considered as was North Dakota’s Hakstol and Michigan Tech’s Pearson. Hakstol’s team’s injury problems are well documented as well and UND got off to a miserable start, but we never got the sense the North Dakota wouldn’t ultimately end up close to where it did. Pearson’s Michigan Tech resurrection was remarkable, too, but it wasn’t enough to sway us in this case. We have no doubt Pearson will one day win this award.

  • Guest

    Motzko over Lucia? I could have lived with Pearson instead, I don’t think St. Cloud squeaking into a home-ice spot and overcoming injuries/defections stands up as quite the accomplishment when you look at what tDon or Pearson have accomplished this season.

    • Tipsy McStagger

      Not crapping the bed and taking the most talented team in the league to first place. What an accomplishment.

      • phoenixfyre1313

        Your calling the Gophers the most talented team in the WCHA?  I can hear the screaming already

        • Guest

          Minnesota has over half its team drafted by the NHL, has highly touted players coming in year in and year out, I would say UofM has at least one of the most talented teams. Mich Tech has 1 player drafted, had 2 wins last year, and won 11 this year. Pearson for COY.

          • Jason

            yeah but they have for awhile now, each year it seems like we get NHL type players and they leave after a year, but this the first year in awhile where they are doing well, you have to give Lucia some credit for that.

        • collegehockeyfan

           I would say with straight talent, the gophers have been the most talented team in the WCHA 6 out of the last 10 years.  The only problem is Lucia hasn’t been able to put together a team that will actually play together until this year.  Not a great accomplishment in my book to say Lucia is the COY, but with how they have done this year, i could see them landing in Tampa in April.

      • I Bleed Maroon And Gold

        The most talented team in the league? That must be why they were picked to finish first in the league by the media and coaches. Oh wait…

        I’m not saying Lucia should win (I actually think Pearson should), but those saying that he shouldn’t because the team was “the most talented” or that “they should have won the league” are misguided in my opinion. 

        The Gophers were one of the youngest teams in the league.  Outside of Patterson and Hansen, the senior class put little on the stat sheet and the junior class did even less.  Defensively we started one junior, three sophmores (two who played little last year), and two freshmen.  Do the Gophers get great recruits every year? Yes, but that can also be said of UND, UMD, DU, CC, etc.

        The fact of the matter is the team overachieved based on preseason expectations and Lucia deserves some serious consideration.  In my opinion, what Pearson did was more impressive and he would be my pick as COY.

        • Scott Reed

          The media and coaches under estimated the gophers and because they did not play down to those low expectations you think the coach deserves the recognition for that?

          And I wonder if I just type the word “gopher” in a post… does Goldy have some program that automatically would click the like button  or does he just “Ctrl +F” to search for the word and click them all himself??

    • Scott Reed

      What did Don do as far as coaching goes? Like Tipsy said they didn’t mess up and have a ton of talent! How hard is that to coach?

      • Jason

        you should be the coach!

        • Scott Reed

          I would have to politely decline the offer. 

          • kp

            I wonder why, after your highly intelligent comments about everything I don’t know why the NHL isn’t calling you.

          • Scott Reed

            I know I was thinking the same thing, the Wild are in trouble and could use some fresh insight. 

          • kp

            I have to admit I found that response to my comment pretty clever, next time I’ll have something better.

  • phoenixfyre1313

    I like all the picks for the 1 through 3rd teams, of course some need to be left off, but all of the selections are bonafide standouts in the WCHA.  The only awards I would disagree with would be the coach of the year, it has to be Mel Pearson for all that he has done to turnaround Michigan Tech, that is far and away the biggest accomplishment of the year in coaching in the WCHA, when the was the last time Tech was fighting for home ice on the last weekend of the season.  The only other argument would be for defenseman of the year, yes Schultz racks up a ton of points, but that isn’t the only quality of a great defensemen.  Maybe someday the award will be given to a defenseman for his defensive prowess rather than his offensive numbers.

    • Jason

      Not to say that Pearson isn’t a good coach, but you have to look at last year when they lost multiple guys for the year. Also, when you are near the bottom for a few years those guys are bound to get better. Like I said Pearson may be a good coach but Tech was due for a turn around. 

      • phoenixfyre1313

        They have been waiting about 20 years for that turnaround and Pearson was the only one who made it happen,

  • GodsSquadForever

    Brock Nelson and J. Schwartz should NOT be third team players.  That Denver freshman defenseman should have been rookie of the year….he has more points than Rau and he is a defenseman.

    • Fan Man

       I know right!  Nelson as the WCHA’s top scorer should be first team and I’m glad these are not actually the end of the year awards and based strictly on biased perspective…

    • Scott Reed

      And Rau doesn’t have much in the way of sportsmanship… every game he is getting into it with somebody else.  Sprotsmanship must not be in the criteria for  ROY.  But character does come into play for more prestigious awards. 

      • Lakes19

        Then that would eliminate any North Dakota player from winning any award every year!! 

        • Scott Reed

          Wow your so comical, I have admitted and will still admit that Frattin’s off the ice actions kept him from winning the Hobey.  But you can’t admit that Rau is classless in his own right… he gets into it with a different player everygame.  Ben Bloods actions in the handshake line were over the line and I do not condone them.  But you can’t tell me Rau doesn’t run his mouth and ask for what he gets. 

          As much as you don’t like UND and love to point out negative things, we have had as many great players characterwise as anybody, you just don’t hear about them because good news is never news, bad news is all we see. 

          • NoDak ButtCrack

            UND = Bad News

          • Scott Reed

            I know we can flag comments, but can we flag people?? you have no worthwhile input on this board at all.  Everybody has teams they don’t like and we take our shots when we can.. but your whole existance here is just to take cheap, not very well thought out, tastless shots at UND. 

            Its so bad I can’t even tell who you cheer for looking back at the history of your posts. Please get a life!

          • Guest

            Chill out Scott…  It doesn’t have to be an insult: UND is definitely bad news for other teams… I know I don’t want my team to play them.  :)

            This guy just wants to get a response out of you…so just try to ignore it.  If you look back at all 164 posts you have submitted I doubt they are all worthwhile inputs.

          • Fan Man

             How in the heck do you figure out how many posts a person has?  I’d like to know

          • Lakes_19

            Im not the guy that said anything negative to begin with.  Is Mr. Rau an agitator? Yes…   Does everyteam have one?  Yes….

            So you being the North Dakota fan had to be negative and take the shot at a Minnesota Player. 

            Im a College Hockey fan and love the rivialries…  But for the most part when you read the comments on USCHO, its always North Dakota Fans who are taking the cheap shots at teams, exspecially at Minnesota.

          • Antilakesbison

            Lakesbison do you think your fooling anyone? Your no hockey fan, you cheer for no hockey team! You just cheer against the Sioux! Everywhere, every time you can, you must live a miserable hate filled life! I feel sorry for a loser like you!

          • Lakes19

            Another Sioux fan..  Wow words hurt so much in a typed email form.  You really got me….

            Please help me be a better person.

          • Scott Reed

            the best part about your post if CrockOGrimaldi going against what you say right afterwards, Gophers fans are just as bad, they just don;t have as much pride in their team as an entire fan base (not as individual fans) and aren’t represented as much on here, 

            I didn’t really take a shot at Rau, I like him as a player and I would love to cheer for him if he was on my team.  I was just pointing out the double standard MN fans have calling out UND players and not recognizing it in their own players. 

        • guest

          I’d say Hobey winner Duncan was as high a character guy as anybody in the league…

          • Guest

            Duncan was also the least deserving player to ever win the award. He was the 3rd best player on his line

          • nogofer

            You are wrong on so many levels.

      • I Bleed Maroon And Gold

        Rau probably talks a lot of trash, but you know he’s not the only one.  The amount of trash talked is one of the aspects of the game that we as fans simply can’t judge as well.  Does he talk more than most? Yeah, probably.  I wish he wouldn’t, but that’s out of my control.  Rau “Gets into it” with somebody in most games, but in my opinion that’s because of a combination of things: his mouth, he’s an easy target because he’s undersized, he’s undersized and still plays physical, and he’s offensively talented.  Those things are going to make him a target on most nights.

        And as another poster implied, those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones if you know what I mean…I will say I was glad to read you didn’t condone Blood’s actions like some other fans were doing after it happened.

        • Scott Reed

          I agree there are a lot of factors, but his size doesn’t get him more than his mouth does.  Danny Kristo is listed as 3 inches taller and only 10lbs heavier and has better scoring number (17-23-40) than Rau (16-18-34) and Kristo doesn’t draw all the attention like Rau does.  I think another key part your missing (and this is not exclusive to Rau) is immaturity.  He is a young kid with a lot of talent, lets face it, he has been the best everywhere he has been untill now.  I don’t think he likes that very much.  I do respect him and I think he is a good player, but his body can’t cash the checks his mouth is writing.  If Denver plays the gophers again… he better watch out!!!

          And as far as Blood goes, I was dissapointed that they gave his “A” back for senior night.  He is over rated in my opinion, a big goon who thinks he is a lot better with the puck than he is. 

          • Jason

            Is Kristo a freshman..? I honestly don’t know so if he isn’t I think that’s why he might not be getting as much attention as Rau is…

          • Scott Reed

            No he isn’t a freshman, and I’m not talking about attention, I’m talking baout “mixing it up” on the ice after whistles and behind plays when the officials have to break it up.  Rau gets into those situations a lot! and my opinion is that its his fault more often than not because of his mouth. 

          • Jason

            ah confusion the meaning of attention. *sudden clarity clarence*

          • Jason

            underneath the horrible grammar/mistakes you should be able to figure out the basic meaning of what I said.

  • guest

    If any MN coach should be considered for COY, it should be Guentzel.  Those guys didn’t magically buy into what Lucia was selling…

    Top COY consideration should be Gwoz or Hak for what both those teams lost over last year and the injuries they had to deal with.  I think this is Hak’s best coaching job of his career…

    • Scott Reed

      You know not many people are going to agree with you for UND to have COY when they started so high and had to fight their way back into 4th place.  I agree with you though, they lost so much talent and the injuries this season were devistating, not to mention one of the most inconsistant goaltending years for the Sioux in a long time. 

      • guest

        UND was rated too high to start and that was based on reputation and not legitimate analysis, but it was a tricky ranking to start the season given what the top teams lost…

        My main point is that Lucia would probably be 6th on my list for COY… Pearson, Gwoz, Hak, Motz, and Sandy all above him in my opinion… and that opinion is mainly based upon the firing of Hill and the hiring of Guentzel above what Lucia actually did with the team.

        • Scott Reed

          One of the biggest factors for UND is goaltending, we get a record setting performance last year, and this year… he is playing more to his talent level.  Last year he was helped so much by the team on the ice in front of him.  And our goalie coming back after a year like that had to look promising during the preseason analysis and ranking.

          But I agree that Lucia should not be considered in the discussion for coach of the year.  I do like what UND has done coaching wise with the loss of talent from last year, our top two freshman prospects being out for the season, and all the other injuries.  Not to mention the big nickname issue that won’t go away…  Dave has my approval for this year!

        • collegehockeyfan

          Agreed with this completely.  I think Pearson should have had this hands down.  What he did with that team in one year is remarkable.  Yeah Hak, Lucia and Gwoz did well with what they had this season, but you also have to remember this is expected EVERY season with these teams.  I would speculate that these are the easiest recruiting schools in the conference.  Food for thought.

  • Mr Hockey

    Who ever put this list together didn’t watch a lot of the WCHA. Ben Blood is not a 1st team WCHA defenseman. Hunt from BSU or Lamb from UMD should’ve been placed ahead of him. LeLeggia from Denver or Schmidt from Minnesota would’ve been better choices as well. Rau had a good year and as a Gopher STH I watched him quite a bit but come on guys, Joey LeLeggia had a much better year. Rau did score a lot of big goals. Motzko for COY? Seriously! On what basis? This one is hands down Lucia, I know he has his haters but all differences aside, he did do a good job with a young team picked to finish 6th by the WCHA coaches.

    • Jason

      I agree with you on the Blood argument, I really liked Lamb when I watched him play and he should have gotten some love. 

    • nogofer

      And all this from the guy who said good teams find ways to avoid getting swept…  Ahem…

  • SiouxAlumDenver

    Hak should be coach of the year, and the only real competitor against this would be Pearson.  But you can’t give the award to a coach with a losing record.  Lucia has the best top to bottom team in the WCHA, they should have won the league.  The reason they weren’t picked to is because of underachievement in the past 4 years. They didn’t overcome any adversity all season, Lucia shouldn’t be considered.  North Dakota had over 290 points lost from last year to this due to graduation or early departure, decimated by injuries throughout the year and still securing a 4th place finish with home ice.  Hak should have at least 3 of these awards over his career.  He runs the table last year but doesn’t win it (same reason Lucia shouldn’t win this year), and this year it took some great coaching to patch this team together night in and night out.  Motzko? Good thing you guys don’t get a vote because that is just ridiculous. 

    • HotLunch

      Oh, Bioux Hioux!

    • collegehockeyfan

       I would consider Pearson’s efforts over Hak’s this year.  Having the second best freshman class in the country next to Miami, and finishing middle of the road.  That’s expected.  Pearson took a team from rock bottom to be a team that wont lose every night.

  • Vizoroo

    Knew somebody out there would take the Rau pill. Didn’t see Rau’s name on any of the All WCHA teams. Joey Leggs is there! Joey Leggs is ROY.!

    I’d take Drew Shore over Brown or Bjugs.

    • Jason

      uhhh…Brown is probably the most explosive player/quickest in the WCHA while Bjugstad has the size and strength of a defenseman and the skating ability/puck handling of a forward. I’m not saying Shore is bad but I’d rather have Brown or Bjugstad.

    • MN college hockey guy

      C’mon, shore over bjugs and brown??? Have you ever seen brown skate?? I haven’t, he’s too fast and bjugs could dangle from one side of the mall of America to the other with out moving his feet…although shore did prove to me how good he is the last time goldy was in Denver.

  • Vizoroo

    Good pick on Jussi Olkinuora!

  • Jakemarc

    Ben Blood- first team???? how is he even considered for any of the teams? Here is a guy who only bring size to the table.  No talent what so ever.  he is more of a liability to his team than anything. 

    • Jason

      well put. Blood’s statistics are pretty awful when you look at them.

    • Farley

       You obviously are just a Blood/Sioux hater. Blood is a beast who not only logs time on PK but also is a work hours at equal strength. Yes, the Rau thing was stupid but he paid for it in many ways. Anyone who doesn’t think Blood is the man simply hasn’t watched Sioux hockey.

      • Jason

        I don’t understand how he is the man. He just a big body who takes stupid penalties. When I look at his stat line across the board he is similar to the Gopher’s Seth Helgeson, who I think is a terrible player and I’m a Gopher fan. I’ve watched Blood play throughout his career and I can safely say he’s a bruiser who doesn’t get very many points and takes stupid penalties. 

        • Farley

          Yes, Blood doesn’t have the points of other D-men, but that isn’t his role. Blood plays his position and role as good as any D-man in the league. His +/- is outstanding, which, IMHO, is the most important thing for any D-man. And, with the time he logs, he keeps us in many games where guys like Helgeson would be riding the bench.

          • Jason

            First of all, as much as I don’t like it, Helgeson doesn’t ride the bench. Second, the last time I checked most of his time logged is in the penalty box. Third, yes he does play his role well, as a bruiser. You are telling me that a bruiser who has terrible stats and takes way too many penalties deserves to be on the first team? I’m sorry that’s laughable.

        • Fan Man

           Who led the Nation in +/- last year…   Oh ya, that would be Ben BLOOD!  

          • Jason

            ohhhh these are the All-WCHA teams from LAST year. Why didn’t anyone tell me this?

    • collegehockeyfan

       Blood wasn’t an offensive powerhouse, but you take his defensive ability it puts him right up there.  Anyone mention +/- here, that’s a big factor for D-men.  There were a lot of solid D in the WCHA, it’s hard to just pick two, because there are so many different styles of defense men. 


    If Terry Broadhurst of UNO makes the list, then Matt White of UNO is at least as deserving, if not more.

  • Bakunin

    to even consider Mel Pearson as coach of the year is laughable.   Just because he got Tech to 8th place does not warrant COY.  Had he gotten Tech home ice, I might agree, but 8th place is not that impressive.

    Lucia has the easiest program in the WCHA to recruit to, and since everyone loves Minnesota so much year after year, there is no excuse for that program to have been in the pathetic state it was in over the past few years.  Lucia this year simply “did what he was supposed to do”.

    Hakstol had a program that lost immense amounts of scoring last year, dealt with injuries that would have caused most programs to collapse, and had the NCAA unfairly levy sanctions on the program for a nickname dispute that shouldn’t even be an issue in the first place.  Yet Hak yet again pulled his guys together and put together a great 2nd half.  You might say a 4th place finish doesn’t warrant COY consideration, but all things have to be considered here, and what Hakstol has done with the team this year makes the Coach of the year a no-brainer.

    Furthermore, how you leave Danny Kristo off your ballot is beyond me, except I’ve always known you two to have a ridiculous bias against North Dakota. 

    Theresa needs to be covering the WCHA again.  These two clowns are unacceptable.

    • xTEDxTHExREDx

      wahh wahh wahhh

    • xTEDxTHExREDx

      Danny Kristo needs to worry more about keeping his shoes on in the winter time and perhaps drinking a little less before getting preoccupied with tyler and brians WCHA first team list.

      • Fan Man

         And umm yes you are still a tool…   Nice dis though, pretty original   Glad to see your degree from the U of M got you somewhere

        • Fire17

          And that was even a better comeback…  Now were trying to compare degree programs at WCHA schools….

          Who is the tool?

          • Fan Man

            Obviously not me! If ur an ivy leaguer, why are you on a wcha blog?

  • CrockOGrimaldi

    I think Hak should get the Jack Adams Award, Grimaldi should get the Calder, Blood the Norris and Kristo the Hart Trophy.  They should automatically give every trophy to North Dakota and they should also rename the conference for them.  And they should just give them the national championship trophy at the beginning of the year.  And they should also give the North Dakota fans two or three votes each in the elections

    • xTEDxTHExREDx


    • Sioux4Ever

      And you say Sioux fans have an attitude and are cocky.  Hope your goofers choke

      • HotLunch

        C’mon it was funny

        • Fan Man

           Funny that I agree with him hahahahaha

      • Husky

        How do you know that was not a Mankato guy???

        • Scott Reed

          Actually thats a great point, CrockO never actually cheers for a team, he just hates on the Sioux all the time.  I wonder what color he painted the walls in his cave…

    • Scott Reed

      I think we should call it the WWWSP, the Who Will Win Second Place, because obviously the Sioux get the title every year.  And you must be crazy to think every Sioux fan gets two or three votes in the election, thats reserved for season ticket holders!  

    • SIOUXFAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

       what is your deal with Grimaldi?

    • J_ott

      Crocko knows nothing about hockey.. Get back to your roller blades

  • Kevinbhart

    Coach Mel didn’t make your list? Really. Pathetic guys. I’m sick of Tech being an after thought for you guys.

  • Tylersucksbrian

    Thank goodness coaches and 2 media reps from each team voted instead of you guys.  Motzko? Not a top 3 finisher for coach of the year.  What a pair of clowns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Please do something other than pretending to know anything about hockey!