September 30 2009, 1:00 PM
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association coaches and media have picked the University of Denver Pioneers to win the MacNaughton Cup as the regular-season conference champion of the WCHA, reports The Denver Post. Three DU players also made the All-WCHA first team: Rhett Rakhshani, Patrick Wiercioch, and Marc Cheverie. The honor comes a day after the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Preseason Poll ranked DU number two in the nation, just behind Ohio's Miami University (via DenverPioneers.com). DU is ahead of defending national champion Boston University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Notre Dame. The Pioneers open the season against number 15 Vermont on October 9 and 10. A few weeks ago, the Most Valuable Network wrote that the Pioneers aren't likely to show much offensive weakness, although they are somewhat young defensively. Still, MVN picked DU to finish first in the WCHA. The Post calls the current crop of Pioneers potentially the "finest group assembled" in 16 years. Rakhshani says the team obviously has a lot of skill, potential, and character, before making a very astute observation: "But what's said before the season doesn't mean much."