Defending Champ Denver Leads Preseason Poll

Defending national champion Denver is the preseason favorite of voters in the men’s Division I poll, released Monday.

The Pioneers, who defeated North Dakota 4-1 last April to take their second consecutive national championship, received 17 first-place votes and totaled 662 points to edge out Minnesota, a strong No. 2 with 13 first-place votes and 653 points.

Denver and Minnesota were among six WCHA teams ranked in the newly-expanded top 20, including five in the top 10.

Hockey East favorite and defending champion Boston College was third, picking up two first-place votes. The Eagles were closely trailed by Cornell, the ECACHL’s defending titleist and the preseason pick by the coaches in that conference. CCHA preseason favorite Ohio State came in fifth, with two first-place votes of its own.

Colorado College and North Dakota (one first-place vote) were sixth and seventh, respectively, in the preseason poll after reaching the Frozen Four last season — the first time in NCAA history that four teams from the same conference met in the national semifinals.

Those squads were followed by Michigan, the defending CCHA regular-season and tournament champion, in eighth. New Hampshire finished ninth, and Wisconsin was the WCHA’s fifth team in the top 10, and boasted one first-place vote in the process.

Maine came in 11th, followed by Northern Michigan, Boston University, Dartmouth and Harvard.

Rounding out the top 20 in the poll were Massachusetts-Lowell, Michigan State, Colgate, and then Vermont and Minnesota-Duluth, which tied for the final spot in the rankings.