Ann Arbor — Michigan head coach Red Berenson predicted last week the Wolverines would be the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten Hockey title.
Well, Berenson knows what he’s talking about as the league coaches voted Michigan as the team to beat in the preseason coaches poll released Monday by the Big Ten office.
Michigan was followed in the voting by Minnesota, Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Minnesota defeated the Wolverines in the Big Ten championship game last season and the Gophers were the lone representative in the NCAA Tournament’s 16-team field.
Michigan has 19 letterwinners back from its 22-15 (12-8 Big Ten) team of a year ago, which advanced to the Big Ten title game with wins over Wisconsin (5-1) and Michigan State (4-1) at Joe Louis Arena before the 4-2 loss to the Gophers.
The Spartans finished 17-16-2 (11-7-2), winning 10 of their final 15 games, including five shutout victories during that span.
The Big Ten also selected its preseason players to watch list, which included forwards JT Compher and Kyle Connor of Michigan, Mackenzie MacEachern of Michigan State, Hudson Fasching and Justin Kloos of Minnesota, Anthony Greco and Nick Schilkey of Ohio State, David Goodwin and Eric Scheid of Penn State and Grant Besse of Wisconsin, defenseman Zach Werenski of Michigan and goaltender Jake Hildebrand of Michigan State.
Compher, Werenski, Hildebrand and Fasching were unanimous selections. Connor is entering his freshman season at Michigan.
Big Ten Hockey Preseason Coaches Poll
3. Michigan State
4. Penn State
5. Ohio State