Knights Tabbed Again In ECAC

For the second year in a row, the Golden Knights of Clarkson were chosen as preseason favorites in the ECAC by the head coaches of the league.

Clarkson, with six of 12 first-place votes, gathered 138 points in the balloting. The Knights were also picked to finish first last season, and went on to prove the prognosticators correct by taking both the regular-season title and the ECAC tournament crown. In doing so, Clarkson became the first team since Harvard in 1994 to finish first after being picked tops in the preseason.

The Golden Knights were also the pick of the ECAC media, garnering eight of the nine first-place votes and 107 points.

Last season’s sleeper team, St. Lawrence, got four first-place votes and 125 points total to finish second in the coaches’ balloting, while the other two first-place votes went to Rensselaer and Colgate, third and fourth with 108 and 107 points, respectively.

Rounding out the top half of the coaches’ poll, at fifth and sixth, were Harvard and Cornell. Yale was next, while Vermont, Dartmouth and Brown followed as the coaches’ predicted playoff teams.

Princeton and Union brought up the last two spots.

The media poll was similar, with Rensselaer second, St. Lawrence third and Colgate fourth, Harvard, Cornell and Yale in fifth, sixth and seventh place, but Princeton in eighth, followed by Dartmouth, Brown, Vermont and Union.

Meanwhile, on the women’s side, defending AWCHA and ECAC champion Harvard was named the preseason favorite. The Crimson obtained nine of 13 first-place votes.

Last season’s pick, New Hampshire, got three of the remaining first-place votes and finished second, while Brown got the last first-place vote to take third.

Northeastern, Dartmouth and Princeton placed fourth through sixth, while Providence, Niagara, St. Lawrence and Cornell made up the rest of the top ten.

Maine, Boston College and Yale rounded out the poll.

In men’s Division III, the coaches picked Elmira, Norwich, Middlebury and Fitchburg State to finish first in the West, East, NESCAC and Northeast conferences, respectively.

Elmira finished atop the ECAC West poll with two of the four first-place votes, edging out RIT. In the East, NCAA tournament participant Norwich outdistanced second-place UMass-Boston by 117 points to run away with that preseason crown. Salem State was third, one point behind UMB.

Five-time defending NCAA champions Middlebury got the nod in the newly-reconstituted NESCAC, while in the ECAC Northeast, last year’s champions, Fitchburg State, edged UMass-Dartmouth by a mere six points.

Among the women, defending ECAC D-III champ Middlebury was picked to finish first again.

Bowdoin and Colby finished behind Middlebury, while Sacred Heart and Rensselaer were picked to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.