COLUMBUS, Ohio – Defending WCHA tournament champion Ohio State was picked to finish third in this year’s preseason poll, the conference office announced today. Additionally, forward Emma Maltais and goalkeeper Andrea Braendli were named to the WCHA’s Preseason All-Conference team.
The Buckeyes, coming off their first-ever conference tournament title, received 28 total points in a vote of conference head coaches. Wisconsin was picked to win the league, receiving four first-place votes and 34 total points. Minnesota was second with three first place votes (31 points), followed by Ohio State, Minnesota Duluth, Bemidji State, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State.
Maltais, a senior from Burlington, Ontario, was a second team AHCA All-American in 2020 after she set Ohio State’s single-season points record with 59 (19G-40A). She finished sixth nationally and third in the WCHA in scoring. Her total of 40 assists was also a single-season record.
A Top 10 Finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which honors the top player in Division I women’s hockey annually, Maltais will be one of two captains leading the Buckeyes in 2020-21.
Braendli is a junior from Zurich, Switzerland who was a third-team All-WCHA selection in 2019-20 along with being a member of the WCHA All-Tournament Team. She had a 20-5-5 record in 31 games last season and set a single-season program record for wins (20). Her .929 save percentage overall and .928 save percentage in WCHA games was second-best in the league.
In the WCHA Tournament Championship Game vs. Wisconsin, Brandli posted a season-high 41 saves and also recorded her first career point with an assist on the game-winning goal.
Ohio State, ranked No. 5 in the USCHO Division I Women’s Poll, opens its season on Saturday, Nov. 21 when it travels to Minneapolis, Minn. to take on No. 4 Minnesota. The Buckeyes and Gophers square off Saturday and Sunday. Ohio State will open the home portion of its schedule on Friday, Nov. 27 with the first of a two-game series vs. No. 1 Wisconsin.
WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Rk. Team (First Place Votes)
1. Wisconsin (4) 34 pts.
2. Minnesota (3) 31 pts.
3. Ohio State 28 pts.
4. Minnesota Duluth 21 pts.
5. Bemidji State 14 pts.
6. Minnesota State 13 pts.
7. St. Cloud State 6 pts.
Predicted order of finish. Based on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 scale. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.
Preseason WCHA Player of the Year: Daryl Watts, Sr., F, Wisconsin (3 votes)
Others receiving votes: Emma Maltais, Sr., F, Ohio State (2); Grace Zumwinkle, Sr., F, Minnesota (1); Gabbie Hughes, Jr., F, Minnesota Duluth (1)
Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year: Abbey Murphy, Fr., F, Minnesota (4)
Others receiving votes: Anne Cherkowski, Fr., F, Minnesota (1); Emma Gentry, Fr., F, St. Cloud State (1); Casey O’Brien, Fr., F, Wisconsin (1).
F: Emma Maltais, Sr., Ohio State
F: Daryl Watts, Sr., Wisconsin
F: Sophie Shirley, Jr., Wisconsin
D: Ashton Bell, Sr., Minnesota Duluth
D: Emily Brown, Sr., Minnesota
G: Andrea Braendli, Jr., Ohio State
Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically by position): Forwards – Clair DeGeorge, Sr., Bemidji State; Taylor Heise, Jr., Minnesota; Gabbie Hughes, Jr., Minnesota Duluth; Klara Hymlarova, So., St. Cloud State; Grace Zumwinkle, Sr. Minnesota. Defensemen – Grace Bowlby, Sr., Wisconsin; Sophie Jaques, Jr., Ohio State; Olivia Knowles, Sr., Minnesota; Anna Wilgren, Jr., Minnesota State. Goaltender – Calla Frank, So., Minnesota State; Emma Polusny, Sr., St. Cloud State.
Women’s Hockey Partial 2020-21 Schedule
Saturday, Nov. 21 – at Minnesota (4 p.m.)
Sunday, Nov. 22 – at Minnesota (3 p.m.)
Friday, Nov. 27 – vs. Wisconsin (OSU Ice Rink, 6 p.m.)
Saturday, Nov. 28 – vs. Wisconsin (OSU Ice Rink, 3 p.m.)
Friday, Dec. 11 – vs. Minnesota (OSU Ice Rink, 6 p.m.)
Saturday, Dec. 12 – vs. Minnesota (OSU Ice Rink, 3 p.m.)
Friday, Dec. 18 – at Wisconsin (3 p.m.)
Saturday, Dec. 19 – at Wisconsin (3 p.m.)