For a long time I was more familiar with SCSUs team than any other WCHA team. Since the old WCHA's collapse and reassembly ... I haven't given their hockey program a second thought. So I know little more about them than I do ASU. They're *17 in the preseason poll. Let's learn a little about this year's Huskies.
The Huskies scored 109 goals last season. They lost 52 of those goals to graduation and early departure. Highest returning scorer is senior David Morley who bagged 17 last year. Sophomore Patrick Russell had 10 goals in his rookie year. After that it's all single digit goal scorer returnees. Secondary scoring last season was pretty much by committee.
They have 3 NHL draftees on the squad. Giant-sized defenseman Ben Storm at 6ft 7in 230lbs is a 6th round pick by Colorado. Sophomore Judd Peterson is a 7th rounder for Buffalo and freshman D Will Borgen is a 4th round pick for Buffalo as well. Storm didn't have pretty +/- last season and doesn't appear to be an offensive threat. Peterson picked up 4 goals and 3 assists in his 37 game 1st season. Borgen does have offensive talent and I'd expect like our Wyatt Ege we'll see Borgen quarterbacking a power play unit.
The lack of flashy scoring returnees isn't likely a big deal as Bob Motzko has been recruiting very consistent high-quality and/or elite players throughout his career at SCSU. He knows how to put together a competitive team and finds guys every year who grow into replacements for the elite players who graduated or signed. Most of his squad comes out of the USHL and played the very competitive Minnesota High School circuit prior to that.
It wouldn't be inaccurate to call this a rebuilding year for SCSU and as such Motzko is going to be depending on his upperclassmen to perform well. I'll be curious in the first two games of the season how many freshmen he puts in the lineup both nights.
The more freshman he plays the better for UAA. Collectively our freshman are perhaps better than their freshman and our sophomores produced better (22 goals) in a horrible season than their's did (21 goals) in what was a really really nice season for the Huskies where they fell one win short of getting into the Frozen Four.
I think Seawolves match up pretty well against the Huskies. There's no doubt that SCSU will be favored but I say don't be afraid to highlight UAA on your "Pick-Em" for this game. Sure, it'd be an upset but I don't see any reasons why UAA can't win.