Monday, March 5, 2012

2011-12 All-WCHA Ballot

The regular season is now in the books, and the WCHA bloggers have opted to supplement the annual preseason blogger poll with the First Annual Blogger All-WCHA Poll. Look for the full results of the poll to be posted by Friday morning. In the interest of full disclosure, you will find my completed ballot below, with brief commentary. In a league as talented as the WCHA,  it's never easy to come up with a "shortlist" of the year's top performers, so feel free to voice your disapproval/approval/suggestions via the comments:

All-WCHA First Team
F – Jack Connolly, UMD - Fantastic season for the senior Bulldog, could nab the Hobey.
F – Jaden Schwartz, CC - Dominant puck possession and passing skills, a treat to watch.
F – JT Brown, UMD - Speedy, quick, edgy. Love his game.
D – Justin Schultz, UW -  The dominant offensive defenseman had a remarkable season.
D – Ben Blood, UND - Tough as nails workhorse, became significant offensive factor.
G – Kent Patterson, UM - Historic year for the Gopher goalie, seemed to win games all on his own.

All-WCHA Second Team
F – Jason Zucker, DU - Love his motor, speed, and shot.
F – Brock Nelson, UND - Pure sniper with incredible hands and instincts.
F – Danny Kristo, UND - Displayed the ability to take over games, much improved defensively.
D – Joey LaLeggia, DU - Incredible freshman blue liner had a season for the ages.
D – Nate Schmidt, UM - Sophomore took a big step this season, clutch performer.
G – Josh Thorimbert, CC - Took over CC's #1 goalkeeper job and ran with it.

All-WCHA Third Team
F – Nick Bjugstad, UM - Big forward had a phenomenal season. Can't believe he's only third team.
F – Mark Zengerle, UW - As Schultz & Zengerle go, so goes UW. Can't believe he's only third team.
F – Drew Shore, DU - Wonderful all-around forward. Can't believe he's only third team.
D – Scott Kishel, UMD - Underrated d-man had a breakout year for UMD.
D – Nick Jensen, SCSU - Smooth & steady, helped keep injury ravaged Huskies in it.
G – Dan Bakala, BSU - Steady presence in the crease for the Beavers.

All-WCHA Rookie Team
F – Kyle Rau, UM - The UM freshman has a knack for the big goal.
F – JP LaFontaine, MSU - Dynamic force for the young Mavericks.
F – Caleb Herbert, UMD - Was a big factor for the Bulldogs from the get-go.
D – Joey LaLeggia, DU - See All-WCHA Second Team
D – Andrew Prochno, SCSU - Very nice freshman season for the poised Husky.
G – Juho Olkinuora, DU - With Sam Brittain out for most of the year, the Fin stood tall for Denver.

WCHA Player of the Year – Jack Connolly, UMD - Flip a coin between Connolly and Schultz? Can't go wrong either way, really, but my vote goes to Jack as team success gives him the ever-so narrow edge.

WCHA Defensive Player of the Year – Justin Schultz, UW - Brilliant year for the Wisco blue liner. No brainer pick.

WCHA Rookie of the Year – Joey LaLeggia, DU - Tough call between LaLeggia and Rau, but what LaLeggia has done as a freshman defender is truly special.

WCHA Coach of the Year – Dave Hakstol, UND - Hakstol and his staff took a young, raw, injury riddled team and built it into a unit as good as any in the league by the year's end. Bob Motzko, Don Lucia, Mel Pearson, and Scott Sandelin also deserve credit for great coaching jobs this season.


  1. Scott Kishel??? I'm a Bulldog fan and there is no way he belongs in here. He's somewhere between the 5th and 7th best dman on their team. In fact, he's been benched regularly the last couple weeks.

    He gets some points on the powerplay, but he is not a premier dman. If you want a Bulldogs dman, you should have chosen Lamb.

    1. When making my picks I felt very comfortable with five of my six All-WCHA defensemen. The choice for the sixth spot, eventually filled by Kishel, was based on numbers (2G, 11A, +14 in conference play) as I’ve only watched a smattering of UMD, BSU, MSU, etc. hockey this season. Thanks for the input though-it’s much appreciated.

  2. Speaking of UMD... Where is Travis Oleksuk on this list? He's having a fantastic season.

    1. Oleksuk was obviously very much on the radar, and it's certainly not a question of whether he has the qualifications to make All-WCHA, because the numbers and skill are certainly there. The question is which player would he replace?

    2. He could replace Kristo.

  3. Kishel has been a healthy scratch a half-dozen times. Wow. And no Kenny Reiter? Holy crap.

    1. I fully admit I didn't due my due diligence on Kishel. That pick was based on his numbers, and I assumed his DNP's were health related. I've since been told by the commenter above, Bruce Ciskie, you, & others that Lamb should have been the choice. Concerning Reiter, he's another whose numbers and ability warrant inclusion, but so do Bakala's.

  4. I've said it before, Drew Shore is to DU as Jack Connolly is to UMD. He deserves a 1st Team Selection. And IMO he has been better than Zucker this year.

  5. Forgot to add--good choice with LaLeggia and Jussi.

  6. Jussi Olkinuora has been GREAT 4 this season! Huge saves and fine playing!