The Merrimack College women’s ice hockey team has been selected to finish ninth in its second season of competition in the 2016-17 Women’s Hockey East Preseason Coaches’ Poll, as announced by the league offices on Tuesday afternoon.
The Warriors garnered 26 points in the poll to rank in the bottom spot of the league, falling just 12 points behind eighth-place Maine and 16 points behind Providence in the seven spot.
Receiving 78 points in the poll and six first-place votes of a possible eight, defending Hockey East Champions and National Runner-Up Boston College has been selected to repeat as league champion. The Eagles enter the season ranked third in the USCHO poll after posting a 40-1 record in 2015. Last year’s Hockey East Runner-up Boston University ranked second in the poll with 72 points and two first-place votes and will enter the season ranked 10th in the nation.
The final ranked team in Hockey East to open the year in ninth-ranked Northeastern round out the top-three in the poll, snagging 66 points and the final first-place vote. The league’s coaches predict the 2017 Hockey East Semifinals will feature the same four teams, as Connecticut ranks in the fourth spot with 56 points after reaching the semis at Lawler Rink last season.
The victim of the Merrimack women’s ice hockey program’s first-ever win, New Hampshire cracks the top-five in the poll, while Vermont is tied with the Wildcats for the fifth spot at 45 points. Providence ranks in at the seventh spot with 42 points, with Maine behind them in eighth with 38 points.
Lead by head coach Erin Hamlen into their second year of competiton, the Warriors will look to begin building on the learning experiences of last season when they take the ice for an exhibition against Canadian club team Cambridge Rivulettes on Saturday at Lawler Rink at 7:00 p.m. They’ll open the 2016-17 season next Friday, September 30 when they travel to Minnesota to take on St. Cloud State.
2016-17 Women’s Hockey East Preseason Coaches’ Poll
|Rank||Team (First-Place Votes)||Points|
|1||Boston College (6)||78|
|2||Boston University (2)||72|