NMU hockey notebook: WCHA coaches agree with media, pick Wildcats to finish sixth

MARQUETTE – The Northern Michigan University hockey team has been picked to finish sixth in the WCHA in 2013-14 by both the coaches and media in preseason polls released Tuesday and today with Minnesota State as the consensus favorite.

Ferris State was picked to finish second in both polls, with Alaska taking third in the Bemidji Pioneer Preseason Media Poll released Tuesday.

Michigan Tech was selected to finish third in the Mankato Free Press Preseason Coaches Poll released this morning.

The Huskies, picked fifth by the media, even garnered a first-place vote from one of the league’s 10 coaches while MSU received the other nine.

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team in the poll, meaning Tech’s vote came from MSU.

In the media poll, MSU had 22 of the 25 first-place votes, FSU was awarded two and one went to Bemidji State, which still wound up eighth in the media poll and seventh in the coaches’ poll.

Bowling Green State was slotted fourth in both polls. with Alaska taking fifth in the coaches poll.

Lake Superior State was picked to finish seventh by the media and eighth by the coaches. Both polls had Alaska Anchorage ninth and Alabama Huntsville 10th.

Minnesota State received the most recognition in the preseason media and coaches awards.

Both groups named MSU junior forward Matt Leitner the preseason Player of the Year and Mavericks freshman forward Zach Stepan the preseason Rookie of the Year.

The preseason All-WCHA teams were also identical, featuring Leitner, BGSU junior forward Ryan Carpenter, Tech sophomore forward Alex Petan, MSU junior defenseman Zach Palmquist, FSU junior defenseman Jason Binkley and MSU sophomore goaltender Stephon Williams.

NMU junior forward Reed Seckel, senior forward Stephan Vigier and senior defenseman C.J. Ludwig received votes on the media’s preseason all-league team, as did freshman goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom for the media’s preseason top rookie.

In the coaches’ awards, NMU freshman forward Shane Sooth received a vote for Rookie of the Year, as did Ludwig for all-league defenseman.

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WCHA ANNOUNCES ONLINE STREAMING PACKAGE

All 140 WCHA regular season games will be available online this season through WCHA TV on America ONE, the league announced Tuesday.

Season passes cost $125 prior to Oct. 1 or $150 after. A 30-day pass is $45 and a 24-hour pass is $8. Games are viewable on a Mac or PC.

To view WCHA TV on a mobile device using iOS or Android, the cost is $1 per day.

NMU hockey games can be accessed through WCHA.com, or by visiting NMUWildcats.com.

NMU also offers streaming coverage of football, volleyball and basketball games through America ONE, with football and volleyball passes currently being advertised for $50.

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SALMINEN SUSPENSION REDUCED TO FIVE GAMES

NMU freshman forward Sami Salminen of Helsinki, Finland, will miss the Wildcats’ first five regular season contests because he played in games against professional hockey teams in Finland, which is a violation of NCAA amateur rules.

Salminen was originally scheduled to sit the two home exhibitions Oct. 5-6, but he was ruled eligible for both games after appeal.

Salminen will miss the season-opening road series at Wisconsin on Oct. 11-12 and the home-openers against Nebraska-Omaha on Oct. 18-19. He’ll also sit out the WCHA opener Oct. 25 against Michigan Tech in Marquette. His first game back will be the following night against the Huskies in Houghton.

Salminen tallied 13 goals and 14 assists in 48 games with the Wichita Falls Wildcats of the NAHL last season.

Prior to that, he scored 21 goals and 24 assists in 41 games with Jokerit U20 of the Finland Junior League in 2011-12.