By Leigh LeClair, Staff Writer
Well, as we are almost through the second week of the NHL Lockout, College Hockey finally released their preseason rankings. Some surprising entries into the top 15 include Union College and Ferris State, the two schools that were considered underdogs in last year’s Frozen Four Finals.
The top 15 for Week 1 of the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Hockey – USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine
1. Boston College Hockey East
2. Minnesota WCHA
3. Michigan CCHA
4. North Dakota WCHA
5. Union College ECAC
6. Cornell ECAC
7. UMass-Lowell Hockey East
8. Denver WCHA
9. Miami CCHA
10. Notre Dame CCHA
11. Western Michigan CCHA
12. Minnesota-Duluth WCHA
13. Boston University Hockey East
14. Ferris State CCHA
15. Wisconsin WCHA
The CCHA and the WCHA each have 5 representatives in the top 15, Hockey East has 3 and ECAC has 2.
Let’s review the finalists of the Frozen Four and how they are ranked this coming season.
Boston College comes in at number 1 after winning the NCAA Championship last season in Tampa, FL. The number one ranking is the 12th time in 15 years that they have been chosen the preseason favorite. There are 15 returning players from last year’s team. In the lineup for the BC Eagles is freshman defenseman Michael Matheson, a first round draft pick of the Florida Panthers. The Eagles open their season on Oct. 13th against Northeastern.
ECAC conference champs, Union College rank 5th in the preseason poll, according to their team’s website, is the highest preseason ranking in the university’s 22 years. Union lost the semi-final game against Ferris State in the Frozen Four last season. The Dutchmen have 22 returning players from last year’s team, including senior forwards, Wayne Simpson and Kyle Bodie and senior defensemen Greg Coburn, Ryan Forgaad and Shawn Stuart. Sophomore Shayne Gostisbehere, a draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, will also be on the blueline. Junior goalie, Troy Grosenick, a Hobey Baker Award finalist, returns in net. The Dutchmen open their regular season on Oct. 6th against Merrimack.
Minnesota – Duluth, the other Frozen four team, losing to the eventual champs, Boston College, comes in at 12. The UMN-D Bulldogs have 17 returning players from last years’ team. Forward Caleb Herbert, Washington Caps draftee, the leading scorer and seniors Mike Seidel and Keegan Flaherty, are returning forwards. Defending the blue line are returning seniors Wade Bergman, Drew Olson and sophomore Chris Casto. The lone veteran net minder is junior Aaron Crandall. The season starts for UMN-D on Oct 12-13 with a non-conference game against Ohio State University.
Ferris State Bulldogs, ranked 14th for the preseason poll, are the returning CCHA champions and the runner up to the NCAA Champions, Boston College. Seniors returning to the team include LW Kyle Bonis, RW Matthew Kirzinger, RW Eric Alexander, C Travis Ouellette. The Bulldog blueline will be lead by junior defenseman Scott Czarnowczan. They will start with 3 sophomore and 4 freshman defenseman. Rob Granett, junior, will be the veteran net minder. Ferris will open their season on Oct. 19th against Mercyhurst in a non-conference two-game series.
This should be an interesting season in the NCAA with the top teams fighting within their conferences for a trip to Pittsburgh for the Frozen Four at stake.