The Northern Collegiate Hockey Association drops the puck on its 32nd year of NCAA Division III hockey Saturday when UW-Stout travels for a non-conference game against MCHA foe Marian. The NCHA posted a 13-2-1 record in games against the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association last season.
This year marks the final year of membership for teams who are also members of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference: UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout and UW-Superior. UWEC, UWRF and Superior were all charter members of the NCHA when it formed in 1980. UWSP became a member in 1987 and Stout joined in 1996.
The results of the NCHA coaches’ poll placed St. Norbert as the favorite to win the league in 2012-13. St. Norbert is coming off back-to-back NCAA championships and returns 22 letter-winners to its roster. Two of the returners are junior defenseman Reid Campbell and sophomore goalie David Jacobson, both All-NCHA and All-American selections from a year ago.
Stevens Point and Superior were the only teams besides St. Norbert to receive first-place votes in the poll. The Pointers bring back dynamic goal-scorer and All-NCHA selection Kyle Heck while the Yellowjackets’ roster features a solid, All-NCHA defenseman in Jeff Forsythe.
The first weekend of conference play is Oct. 26-27 when Stevens Point and St. Norbert play a home-and-home series, Stout visits Eau Claire and St. Scholastica makes the short trip to rival Superior.
The holiday break ends with four straight days of hockey: St. Scholastica plays at St. Norbert Dec. 27-28 and UW-Stevens Point travels to Michigan to play a pair of games with Adrian. On Jan. 4-5 the East meets the West when Nichols and Curry play Superior at Wessman Arena.
NOTES: St. Norbert has won three NCAA titles in the past five years, NCHA regular season and playoff championships the past three straight years and at least a share of the regular season crown 10 of past 11 years.
2012-13 NCHA Coaches’ Poll
1 St. Norbert (5) 60
2 UW-River Falls 48
3 UW-Stevens Point (1) 40
4 UW-Superior (1) 34
5 UW-Eau Claire 34
6 St. Scholastica 28
7 UW-Stout 8
* First-place votes in parentheses
2011-12 NCHA Final Standings
W L T Pts
St. Norbert (21-5-5) 12 4 2 26
St. Scholastica (15-8-5) 9 5 4 22
UW-River Falls (16-9-2) 10 6 2 22
UW-Stevens Pt. (14-11-4) 8 6 4 20
UW-Superior (10-10-7) 4 7 7 15
UW-Eau Claire (13-12-3) 5 11 2 12
UW-Stout (8-17-2) 4 13 1 9
Top Returning Scorers
Brett Corcoran, CSS, 17-16-33; Cullen Bradshaw, SNC, 8-22-30; Kyle Stroh, SNC, 11-18-29; Kyle Heck, UWSP, 20-7-27; Joe Perry, SNC, 10-16-26; Tyler Miller, CSS, 10-16-26; Geoff Shewmake, UWRF, 14-9-23.
Returning All-NCHA Players
Brett Corcoran, Sr., F, St. Scholastica; Kyle Heck, Jr., F, UWSP; Jordan Singer, Jr., F, UWEC; Reid Campbell, Jr., D, St.N; Jeff Forsythe, Jr., D, UW-Superior; David Jacobson, So., G, St.N; Scott Lewan, Jr., G, UWRF.