Men's Hockey Picked Third In Preseason Atlantic Hockey Poll

Kyle Atkins

WORCESTER, Mass. – The Holy Cross men's hockey team has been picked third in the Atlantic Hockey Association Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Crusaders received 103 total points and two first place votes.

Last season's regular season champion RIT, who was also 2010 NCAA Tournament semifinalists, was picked as this year's preseason favorite with 113 points and five first place votes, followed by Air Force, last year's tournament champion, with 112 points and five first place votes. Niagara was picked fourth behind the Crusaders with 89 points, followed by UConn in fifth, with 79 points.

Robert Morris was sixth (70 points), Mercyhurst was seventh (59 points), Army was eighth (51 points), Canisius was ninth (42 points), Bentley was 10th (41 points), Sacred Heart was 11th (20 points) and AIC was 12th (13 points).

All 12 schools will compete in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament with the top four teams earning a first round bye. The first round will be on March 2-4, while the quarterfinals are on March 9-11. Both rounds are best two-out-of-three. The semifinals (March 16) and the finals (March 17) will be held in Rochester, N.Y.

The Crusaders return 22 letterwinners and five starters from last season. Last year, Holy Cross went 17-16-5 overall (14-8-5 Atlantic Hockey) as the Crusaders' 17 overall wins were their most in a season since they won a school record 27 games in 2005-2006.

Holy Cross will start the season when they host New Brunswick in an exhibition game on Friday, Oct. 7, at 7:00 p.m.

2011-2012 Atlantic Hockey Association Preseason Coaches Poll

Place                Team (First-place votes)          Points

1.                     RIT (5)                                     113

2.                     Air Force (5)                             112

3.                     Holy Cross (2)                          103

4.                     Niagara                                      89

5.                     Connecticut                                79

6.                     Robert Morris                              70

7.                     Mercyhurst                                  59

8.                     Army                                          51

9.                     Canisius                                      42

10.                   Bentley                                        41

11.                   Sacred Heart                                20

12.                   AIC                                             13