The University of Wisconsin women's hockey team may be the unanimous No. 1 in the preseason national rankings, but isn't the consensus choice to win the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season title.
The Badgers were anointed as favorites to defend their league championship, receiving six of the eight coaches' votes in a poll released Wednesday, and senior Hilary Knight was tabbed the preseason Player of the Year for the second straight season.
But Minnesota garnered two first-place votes en route to runner-up status. Minnesota Duluth was picked for third place.
Wisconsin opens its season Friday against Lindenwood (Mo.) in the opener of a two-game series at the Kohl Center. Faceoff is 7 p.m., and all fans will be admitted free as the Badgers are honored for winning their fourth NCAA title last spring.
A pregame ceremony will feature a highlight video and the unveiling of the national championship banner, and fans will receive a commemorative puck while supplies last.
Knight, who last year was a Top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award — which eventually went to teammate Meghan Duggan — received six votes for Player of the Year, with Badgers junior assistant captain Brianna Decker named on the other two ballots.
Knight, a two-time All-American who skated for the U.S. in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, already owns the school record with 112 career goals.