Huskies Bantle named WCHA Preseason Media Rookie of the Year

Courtesy: Michigan Tech University Athletics

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.(Michigan Tech/WBUP) – Carson Bantle was named the WCHA Preseason Media Rookie of the Year, and Michigan Tech was picked fifth in the WCHA Preseason Media Poll the league announced on Monday (Nov. 9).

Junior defenseman Colin Swoyer received a vote for Preseason Player of the Year and Preseason All-WCHA. Junior forward Trenton Bliss picked up a vote for the Preseason All-WCHA team, and defenseman Jed Pietila received a vote for Preseason Rookie of the Year.

In the poll, the Huskies received 67 points with one point shy of Northern Michigan. Minnesota State was the top choice with a perfect 100 points and all 10 first-place votes. Bemidji State (90) and Bowling Green (76) were second and third. Lake Superior State (44), Alaska (40), Ferris State (33), Alaska Anchorage (21), and Alabama Huntsville (12) were picked below Tech in six through 10.

Bantle was drafted by the Arizona Cotoyets in the fifth round of the 2020 NHL Draft in early October. He was the captain of the Madison Capitols in the USHL last year and had 49 points in 49 games.

Swoyer appeared in 39 games for the Huskies last year and led the team with 17 assists while scoring four goals. He received the team’s Gitzen-Loutit Memorial Award as the outstanding defensive player. He was also sixth in the WCHA in blocked shots and enters the season with 32 career points in 75 games.

Bliss tallied 27 points with 12 goals and 15 assists to share the team lead and receive the Gary Crosby Memorial Award as the leading scorer. The alternate captain has appeared in 73 career games and totaled 42 points.

Jed Pietila played 128 career games in the NAHL and was the captain of the Austin Bruins last season. He tallied 29 points with eight goals and 21 assists in 2019-20, ranking 17th amongst league defensemen in points.

The 100th season of Michigan Tech hockey begins on November 21-22 at Lake Superior State. The Huskies play rival NMU the next weekend for the first of three two-game sets this season.

The media poll voting board was made up of one representative from each of the league’s 10 markets.

2020-21 WCHA Preseason Media Poll

Rank Team (1st Place) Points
1. Minnesota State (10) 100
2. Bemidji State 89
3. Bowling Green 76
4. Northern Michigan 68
5. Michigan Tech 67
6. Lake Superior State 44
7. Alaska 40
8. Ferris State 33
9. Alaska Anchorage 21
10. Alabama Huntsville 12

Predicted order of finish. Based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.

WCHA Preseason Media Player of the Year (Votes)
Dryden McKay, Jr., G, Minnesota State (25)

Others Receiving Votes: Griffin Loughran, Jr., F, Northern Michigan (21); Owen Sillinger, Jr., F, Bemidji State (5); Zach Driscoll, Sr., G, Bemidji State (2); Brandon Kruse, Sr., F, Bowling Green (2); Nathan Smith, So., F, Minnesota State (2); Connor Ford, Sr., F, Bowling Green (1); Colin Swoyer, Jr., D, Michigan Tech (1).

WCHA Preseason Media Rookie of the Year (Votes)
Carson Bantle, F, Michigan Tech (16)

Others Receiving Votes: Akito Hirose, D, Minnesota State (14); Tanner Edwards, F, Minnesota State (3); Connor Gregga, F, Minnesota State (3); Anton Malmstrom, D, Bowling Green (3); Lukas Sillinger, F, Bemidji State (3); Aaron Myers, F, Bemidji State (3); Ondrej Pavel, F, Minnesota State (3); Grant Johnson, F, Northern Michigan (3); Jed Pietila, D, Michigan Tech (2); Jake Livingstone, D, Minnesota State (2); Jett Jungels, F, Northern Michigan (2); Logan Stein, G, Ferris State  (1); Joshua Wildauer, F, Lake Superior State (1); Mack Byers, F, Northern Michigan (1).

Preseason Media All-WCHA Team (Votes)

F Griffin Loughran, Jr. Northern Michigan (10)
F Connor Ford, Sr., Bowling Green (7)
F Owen Sillinger, Jr., Bemidji State (5)
D Elias Rosén, So., Bemidji State (9)
D Jake Willets, So., Ferris State (6)
G Dryden McKay, Jr., Minnesota State (10)

Other Forwards Receiving Votes: Brandon Kruse, Sr., Bowling Green (3) Lucas Sowder, So., Minnesota State (2); Nathan Smith, So., Minnesota State (1); Jared Spooner, Sr., Minnesota State (1); Trenton Bliss, Jr., Michigan Tech (1).

Other Defensemen Receiving Votes: Chris Jandric, Jr., Alaska (2); Colin Swoyer, Jr., Michigan Tech (1); Tim Theochardis, Jr., Bowling Green (1); Jack McNeely, Sr., Minnesota State (1).

Other Goaltenders Receiving Votes: None

2020-21 WCHA Media Poll Voters
• Alabama Huntsville: Justin Bradford, Penalty Box Radio
• Alaska Anchorage: Kurt Haider, Seawolf Radio
• Alaska: Bruce Cech, Nanook Radio
• Bemidji State: Austin Monteith, Bemidji Pioneer
• Bowling Green: Nick Piotrowicz, Toledo Blade
• Ferris State: John Raffel, Big Rapids Pioneer
• Lake Superior State: Bill Crawford, LSSU Radio
• Michigan Tech: Adam Niemi, Houghton Daily Mining Gazette
• Minnesota State: Kevin Dudley, Mankato Free Press
• Northern Michigan: Ryan Stieg, Marquette Mining Journal