BOSTON — Boston College was voted the overwhelming favorite in the Hockey East pre-season coaches’ poll. The Eagles garnered eight of a possible 10 first-place votes (coaches couldn’t vote for their own team) to easily outdistance their cross-town rivals at Boston University. However, the Terriers, as well as two traditional powerhouses, Maine and New Hampshire, weren’t far behind.
Boston College coach Jerry York lost only three players and returns center Brian Boyle and goalie Cory Schneider from a team last year that came within a whisker of sending the NCAA championship game against Wisconsin into overtime, eventually losing 2-1.
Defending Hockey East regular season and tournament champion Boston University, knocked out of the NCAAs by BC, has battle-tested senior John Curry supplying solid goaltending, and a fleet of relentless forwards, including last year’s Hockey East Rookie of the Year, Brandon Yip, returning for coach Jack Parker, who is coming off consecutive “Coach of the Year” performances.
To the north, Maine’s Black Bears, behind a potent offense and 6-foot-7 goalie Ben Bishop, are eager to repeat last year’s impressive run to the Frozen Four, while Coach Dick Umile’s Wildcats hope to find a scoring touch to complement the team’s rugged defense.
Providence and Vermont look to build on strong 2005-06 seasons, when the Friars rallied around first-year Coach Tim Army to finish fifth and the Catamounts made considerable noise in their inaugural Hockey East season.
Hockey East Coaches’ Poll, 2006-07
1. Boston College (8) 89 points
2. Boston University 78
3. Maine (2) 75
4. New Hampshire 67
5. Vermont 57
6. Providence College 52
7. Massachusetts 37
8. Northeastern 35
9. UMass Lowell 32
10. Merrimack 18
(First-place votes in parentheses)