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Wisconsin, Minnesota picked as co-favorites in WCHA women’s preseason poll

September 18, 2018
Annie Pankowski led the Badgers in goals (25) and points (55) in her junior season in 2016-17, when she was a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award for the second time.
Annie Pankowski led the Badgers in goals (25) and points (55) in her junior season in 2016-17, when she was a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award for the second time.

The University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team is the co-favorite to win the Western Collegiate Hockey Association title in 2018-19.

League coaches split on predicting the champion, with UW and Minnesota tying at the top of the annual preseason poll. The Badgers got four first-place votes to Minnesota’s three. Coaches weren’t allowed to vote for their own team.

UW, which has won three straight WCHA regular-season titles, also had three players on the preseason all-WCHA team selected by the coaches. Forwards Emily Clark and Annie Pankowski, both seniors coming off an Olympic redshirt season, joined senior defenseman Mikaela Gardner.

The rest of the preseason all-WCHA team: Minnesota senior forward Kelly Pannek and junior forward Sarah Potomak; Ohio State junior defenseman Jincy Dunne; and Minnesota Duluth junior goalie Rooney.

After UW and Minnesota, Ohio State was picked for third and Minnesota Duluth fourth. Bemidji State, St. Cloud State and Minnesota State were selected for fifth through seventh.

Rooney, who won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team last season, was picked as the preseason WCHA player of the year. Minnesota forward Taylor Heise was the preseason pick as rookie of the year.

The Badgers open the season Sept. 28-29 at home against Lindenwood.

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