HYANNIS, Mass. - The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team garnered 95 points to place fifth in the ECAC Coaches' Preseason Poll that was released Monday afternoon.
Dartmouth College, which tied for third with New Hampshire in the 1999-2000 regular season, received nine first-place votes and 130 points to sit atop the poll. The Big Green was followed by Brown and Harvard with 113 points each and Northeastern (99 points). Brown, winners of both the regular season and the tournament, received the other three first-place votes.
St. Lawrence (91), Providence (62), Niagara (58), Princeton (57) and Cornell (33) round out the top 10. Boston College and Maine tied with 29 points and Yale rounded out the 13-team league with 11 points.
Led by ninth-year head coach Karen Kay, New Hampshire returns 18 letterwinners from a team that went 24-10-0 last year. The Wildcats will rely upon senior captain Michelle Thornton (Gloucester, Ontario) to lead the offense and sophomore goaltender Jennifer Huggon (Plymouth, Mass.) to backbone the defense. Thornton is the team's top returning scorer and has 119 career points. Huggon became the No. 1 goalie as the season progressed and her .922 save percentage is the fourth best single-season mark in school history.
New Hampshire opens the regular season Oct. 22 against Concordia University. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 3 p.m.