UMass hockey voted preseason No. 1 team nationally and in Hockey East

  • Massachusetts players gather around Zac Jones (24) after he scored against Minnesota Duluth during the first period of an NCAA men's Frozen Four hockey semifinal in Pittsburgh on April 8. AP FILE

Staff Writer
Published: 9/27/2021 7:38:04 PM
Modified: 9/27/2021 7:38:05 PM

The votes are in, and the UMass hockey team will begin the 2021-22 season the same place it ended last year: on top.

The defending national champions were voted the No. 1 team in the country in two national preseason polls and picked No. 1 in the preseason Hockey East men’s coaches poll Monday.

Both US College Hockey Online and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine preseason polls slotted the Minutemen at the top. It’s the first preseason No. 1 ranking in UMass hockey history.

The Minutemen received 19 first-place votes in the USCHO poll and 14 in the USA Hockey edition.

Six UMass opponents appeared in the preseason poll: No. 5 Minnesota State, which visits the Mullins Center for a two-game set this weekend, Hockey East opponents Boston College (No. 7), Boston University (No. 10) and Providence (No. 12), Michigan (No. 3/2), which will host UMass in December, and Pioneer Valley foe AIC, which clocks in at No. 20.

Hockey East leads the nation with four teams ranked. The conference’s preseason coaches poll picked UMass No. 1 with eight first-place votes and 107 points. Boston University landed No. 2 with one first-place vote and 95 points, while Boston College got the other two No. 1 votes and is ranked third.

The Minutemen finished third in last season’s final regular season standings but won their first conference tournament title.

UMass has never been the top pick among Hockey East coaches in its 28 years in the conference.

The Minutemen open the season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against Minnesota State, pitting two Frozen Four teams from last year against each other.

Hockey East play begins Oct. 29 when the Minutemen visit Merrimack.

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