Dartmouth, Cornell Split ECAC Vote

Dartmouth, with three players on the all-ECAC media preseason team, was tabbed to come in first place by the media in the league’s preseason poll, announced at its Media Day on Tuesday.

Cornell, a second-place finisher last season and Frozen Four team in 2003, was tabbed for first place in the coaches poll. Dartmouth and Colgate followed.

Dartmouth forward Lee Stempniak and defenseman Grant Lewis were named to the media and coaches preseason teams. Hugh Jessiman was also on the media team.

“We appreciate that people are recognizing our team and the hard work our players have put in,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said. “It’s nice to see that our team is well thought of, but it won’t mean anything until we can get on the ice and prove things to ourselves and others.”

Cornell led the coaches poll with 108 points and received four first-place votes. Colgate and Dartmouth tied for second place with 102 points and two first-place votes each, while Harvard was picked fourth with 98 points and matched the Big Red with four No. 1 votes. Clarkson and Rensselaer round out the top half of the poll in fifth (82 pts.) and sixth (68) place, respectively.

On the media side, the Big Green was the top choice taking 13 first-place votes and 304 points. Cornell earned the No. 2 spot by the media with 285 points and 11 first-place nods. Colgate, with three first-place votes and 269 points and Harvard with 247 points were tabbed third and fourth, respectively. The media selected Clarkson and Rensselaer in the same way as the coaches, ranking the schools fifth and sixth.

Dartmouth (14-11-9, 10-5-7 ECAC in 2003-04) has been in title contention for the past few years but is still looking to bring championship hardware home to Hanover. The team has one of the league’s top players in Stempniak, a senior who is a returning first-team all-league and all-America pick.

With the selection of first place, the Big Green has garnered its highest prediction ever.

Cornell, which returns most of its roster intact, will also contend to be in the national picture again. Juniors Matt Moulson and Shane Hynes lead the offense. Both Dartmouth and Cornell have strong recruiting classes as well.

Clarkson and Harvard played for the ECAC tournament championship last year. The long-time ECAC powers are in the process of moving back up the ranks, as the Golden Knights took a big leap forward last year. Harvard made the NCAAs for the third straight season last year, but will be under a new coach in Ted Donato. The former NHL player and Harvard star has never coached at any level.