After an eighth place finish in Hockey East last season, UConn Men’s Hockey is seeing expectations rise as the Huskies were picked to finish seventh in this year’s poll by the coaches.
Boston University, who finished fifth in the standings last year, received 10 of the 12 first place votes and top position going into the 2016-’17 season. The Terriers and the Huskies split last year’s series, which included an upset over the then-No. 8 BU at the XL Center.
The other Huskies came next in the poll as Northeastern was tabbed to finish second coming off a season where it won the Hockey East tournament. Northeastern beat UConn in both of their match ups last season.
Notre Dame finished third last season and is selected to finish third again. The Irish also swept the Huskies, including an 8-2 drubbing at Barclays on Halloween weekend.
They are followed by UMass Lowell, who received a first place vote. The Riverhawks were runners-up in last year’s Hockey East tournament after a fourth place finish in the regular season. The Huskies earned their first-ever Hockey East sweep last year against Lowell, winning 2-1 on a third period comeback on the road followed by a 4-3 victory over the then-No. 5 team in the nation.
Last year’s top seed, Providence College, was selected to finish fifth. The Friars got the better of the Huskies in both of their games last season.
Boston College, who finished tied atop the standings with Providence last year, was picked sixth. The Eagles beat up on UConn during their eight game losing streak in Hartford but the Huskies were able to battle to a tie at Conte Forum.
Last year’s Hockey East tournament opponent for the Huskies, Vermont, was picked to finish eighth after a ninth place finish last season. The Catamounts went 4-0-0 against UConn last season, but except for a 4-2 finish with an empty-netter, each matchup was decided by one goal.
Merrimack is ninth in the poll after a seventh place finish in Hockey East last year. The Warriors tied the Huskies in two games last season.
New Hampshire was picked to close out the top-10 after finishing in the same spot last year. The Huskies and the Wildcats did battle on the final weekend of the season last year, which included a dramatic come-from-behind overtime win at Whittemore Center in Durham to give UConn the opportunity to host a Hockey East quarterfinal for the first time.
The UMass Minutemen, who finished in the cellar of Hockey East last year, were picked 11th. UMass won two games in Hockey East last year, both against the Huskies.
Maine was was picked to finish last by the poll. Both games with UConn last year were in Orono, Maine with UConn finishing 1-0-1. The teams will play at Frozen Fenway this year.
The national television schedule for the conference was also released today and has the Huskies playing on games produced by American Sports Network and shown throughout New England on NESN. The home game against UMass, on December 9, will now be a 6:30 p.m. puck drop and was picked up by the network. The other game selected to be broadcast was the game against Vermont in Burlington, which is on January 20. That game will now begin at 6:00 p.m.