NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich men’s ice hockey team will open the 2011-12 season ranked third in the United States College Hockey Online.com (USCHO) Preseason Poll.
The Cadets are coming off a 22-6-3 season which saw them reach their third Division III Frozen Four in the last four years. NU also won their unprecedented 13th straight ECAC East regular season title and ninth ECAC East Tournament crown.
Norwich received one first-place vote and had 265 points, falling just short of Oswego State for the No. 2 spot, who had 266 points. Defending national champion St. Norbert topped the poll with 16 of the 20 first-place votes and 296 points. Adrian and Plattsburgh State rounded out the top five with 216 and 214 points respectively.
Primelink and Northfield Savings Bank Tournament invader Elmira was sixth with 178 points, while in-state rival Castleton was seventh with 154. The Spartans were the only other ECAC East team ranked.
Bowdoin, UW-Superior, Hamline, Neumann, SUNY-Geneseo, Utica, Milwaukee School of Engineering and Curry rounded out the rest of the poll.
Norwich head coach Mike McShane returns 20 players from last year’s squad, including seven of the top 10 scorers highlighted by Pier-Olivier Cotnoir (21 goals, 17 assists, 38 points), Travis Janke (12-27-39) and Kyle Thomas (16-12-28).
NU opens its 2011-12 campaign on Sunday, Oct. 23 with an exhibition game at Division I Dartmouth. Face off is set for 4 p.m. at the Big Green’s newly renovated Thompson Arena.
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