WAUKESHA, Wis. – The Concordia University Wisconsin Men's Hockey team has been picked to finish seventh in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association, according to the preseason coaches' poll which was released by the league Wednesday.
The Falcons are coming off an 8-19 season a year ago, which included a 4-14 mark. CUW reached the NCHA Tournament, falling in the opening round to top-seeded Adrian.
The NCHA will be under a new format this season on the men's side as the league is going back to a two-division setup. CUW will play in the five-team South division this year and will need to finish in the top three of the South standings to reach the playoffs.
The preseason poll was conducted for all 11 teams, regardless of division, and the coaches tabbed Adrian as the top team in the NCHA heading into the season. Of the five teams in the South Division, the Falcons were slated fourth behind Adrian (99 poll points, 9 first-place votes), Lake Forest (69 points), Marian (50). CUW received 47 points and Aurora, the final school in the South this season, had 11.
The North will have six teams this season as MSOE was selected via a blind draw as the geographic transition team and will lay this season in the North, before playing in the South next season. St. Norbert (91, Two First-Place votes) was tabbed as the top team in the North and was second in the overall poll. MSOE (76), St. Scholastica (71), Lawrence (40), Northland (29) and Finlandia (22) represent the other teams in the North.
The playoffs will feature six teams this season, three coming from each division. The two division winners receive byes to the semifinal round. The quarterfinal round of the playoffs will be single-elimination, as will the championship, but the semifinal round will be a two-game format, with a mini-game if necessary.