BOSTON — Entering a new season in Hockey East, it is not last year’s tournament champions, nor the NCAA Tournament runners-up that top the preseason rankings — that honor belongs to Boston College.
The Eagles received eight of 11 available first-place votes, topping the poll with 97 points and beating out UMass, which lost to Minnesota-Duluth in the national championship last April. Providence ranked third with 78 points.
Reigning tournament champion Northeastern (73 points) placed fourth with the one remaining first-place vote, and Boston University (72) was one point behind in fifth. UMass Lowell (53), New Hampshire (40) and Maine (39) were picked to complete the eight-team playoff field, while UConn (38), Vermont (19) and Merrimack (11) rounded out the poll.
Here are the full rankings:
1. Boston College (8) 97
2. UMass (2) 85
3. Providence 78
4. Northeastern (1) 73
5. Boston University 72
6. UMass Lowell 53
7. New Hampshire 40
8. Maine 39
9. UConn 38
10. Vermont 19
11. Merrimack 11
The Eagles return a bevy of scorers from last season, when they finished 10-11-3, including Hockey East First Team All-Star and senior captain David Cotton (23-13-36). BC has also added a highly-touted freshman class which includes a school-record three first-round NHL draft picks and five total draft selections.
BC did upset No. 2 seed Providence and No. 1 seed UMass in the postseason before becoming the first 7-seed ever to reach the Hockey East Championship Game.
The Eagles open the season when they face Wisconsin on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. ET. Hockey East coverage on NESN begins on Oct. 5 with Maine and Providence dropping the puck at 4 p.m. ET.