MINNEAPOLIS — Voters in the preseason USCHO.com/CSTV Division I men’s poll showed their respect for both defending national champion Wisconsin and runner-up Boston College Monday, making the Badgers and the Eagles the preseason co-favorites, each with a total of 688 poll points.
Wisconsin received 17 first-place votes (out of 40) compared to Boston College’s 10, but the remaining voters tended to rate the Badgers lower than the Eagles, leading to the overall tie for No. 1.
The range of opinions on UW reflects the program’s heavy offseason losses to graduation and early departure after the national championship, while BC returns comparatively more of its core talent.
Another WCHA team hard-hit by offseason departures, Minnesota, came in at No. 3 in the inaugural poll, picking up five first-place votes in the process. Fourth was BC’s Hockey East archrival, Boston University, which earned three first-place votes. CCHA member Michigan State was fifth with one first-place nod.
The next five slots in the poll were headed by No. 6 North Dakota, which earned one first-place pick. The Fighting Sioux were followed by Michigan (two first-place votes), No. 8 Miami, ninth-ranked Denver and then No. 10 New Hampshire.
Maine was No. 11, followed by three straight ECACHL teams: Harvard, Cornell and then Colgate, which garnered the remaining first-place vote to start the season.
No. 15 Colorado College and No. 16 St. Cloud State were next, giving the WCHA a nation-best six teams in the Top 20. Ohio State came in at No. 17, followed by Dartmouth, Northern Michigan and Clarkson to round out the rankings.
NCAA play for the 2006-07 season begins with a spate of games on the weekend of Oct. 6-8, including the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game between Minnesota and Maine at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., the Ice Breaker preseason tournament in Oxford, Ohio, and Northern Michigan taking on Wisconsin in Green Bay, Wis.