WAKEFIELD, Mass. - The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team, led by eighth-year head coach Brian McCloskey, received three first-place votes and a total of 50 points to enter the 2009-10 Hockey East season as the favorite, the league announced Tuesday with the release of its preseason poll. This marks the sixth consecutive year that UNH is No. 1 in the Hockey East Preseason Coaches Poll.
The Wildcats were followed closely in the poll by Boston College (47 points; three first-place votes), Boston University (46) and Providence College (43; two). The University of Connecticut (31), Northeastern University (27), University of Vermont (22) and University of Maine (14) complete the eight-team poll.
UNH returns 12 players from last year's team that advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fourth consecutive year and finished with a 24-6-5 overall record. And the Wildcats welcome 10 newcomers, including two transfer student-athletes, as they take aim at a seventh consecutive Hockey East regular-season crown and fifth straight league tourney title in 2010.
New Hampshire faces off against the Durham Jr. Lightning (Provincial Women's Hockey League) in a Sept. 26 (5 p.m.) exhibition game at the Whittemore Center. UNH officially opens the season Oct. 3 (2 p.m.) against UConn at the Whitt.
Tickets for all women's ice hockey home games are available at the Whittemore Center Box Office, online by clicking here, or calling 1-800-745-3000. Season tickets are available by calling 603-862-4000, ext. 5.
Saturday's exhibition game vs. the Durham Jr. Lightning will be available for free at www.unhwildcats.tv.
2009-10 HOCKEY EAST WOMEN'S PRESEASON COACHES POLL
Rk. Team (FPV) Pts.
1. New Hampshire (3) 50
2 Boston College (3) 47
3. Boston U. 46
4. Providence (2) 43
5. Connecticut 31
6. Northeastern 27
7. Vermont 22
8. Maine 14