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