The 1997-98 ECAC Men’s Division I Ice Hockey Poll was released today, and the Rensselaer Engineers were voted the top school this season.
“We’ve gotten a lot of respect from the coaches,” said RPI head coach Dan Fridgen. “And it’s reflected in this preseason poll.”
RPI received nine of 12 first-place votes, as it did in the 1993-94 poll. That year, RPI finished third in the standings and in the ECAC tournament.
“RPI has everyone back,” said Princeton head coach Don Cahoon. “And on paper they should be the team to beat.”
“I was so impressed with that RPI team last year,” said Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet. “And with everyone back they should make a run.”
“RPI is the consensus team,” said St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh. “They will probably be first in the poll and with every right.”
“RPI has got to be one of the teams to beat,” said Clarkson head coach Mark Morris. “They’ve got firepower and great goaltending.”
“You’re going to see how good RPI is,” added Vermont head coach Mike Gilligan.
Clarkson received the remaining three first-place votes to finish second.
“You have to start with Clarkson,” said Harvard head coach Ronn Tomassoni. “They have got a great nucleus coming back.”
“Clarkson is impressive,” said Gaudet. “They’re a team that will knock your lights out.”
“Clarkson has a great defense,” said Cahoon. “And it starts with their goaltending.”
Cornell, the defending two-time ECAC champions, finished third in the voting, while Princeton received its highest-ever preseason ranking — fourth. The highest the Tigers had previously been voted was seventh in 1988-89.
“Cornell has superior goaltending,” said Morris. “That is a great start.”
“Princeton will be there as well,” said Gilligan. “They were tough last year.”
“Our league is as tough as any league out there,” said Brown head coach Roger Grillo. “And anyone can finish anywhere from first place to last place.”