Sept. 25, 2013
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin men’s hockey team continues to build preseason buzz and finds itself tabbed No. 3 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine preseason poll, the first official rankings of the season.
The lofty ranking comes on the heels of Wisconsin’s 21-6-4 finish to last season, which culminated in an NCAA tournament appearance. The Badgers appear to be well-positioned to extend that success, returning 81.3 percent of their goal-scoring and 78.9 percent of their points, as well as a total of 16 upperclassmen from the squad that won last season’s Broadmoor Trophy.
Massachusetts Lowell, which eliminated UW from the NCAA tournament last year, opens the season atop the poll, with 20 first-place votes and 484 points total. Miami holds down the No. 2 spot with 444 points and nine first-place votes. The Badgers and defending national champion Yale are the only other teams to receive first-place nods, as Yale earned eight first-place votes and Wisconsin tallied one.
Rounding out the top five are Boston College (359 points) and Minnesota (347 points). North Dakota, Notre Dame, Yale, St. Cloud State and Michigan complete the top-10, in that order.
The rankings highlight the strength of Wisconsin’s schedule, as UW squares off against three top-five teams and a top-10 team. The Badgers visit No. 4 Boston College on Oct. 18, No. 2 Miami on Nov. 15 and 16, and No. 5 Minnesota in Minneapolis on Nov. 29 and 30, and in Madison on Feb. 6 and 7. Wisconsin will also take on No. 10 Michigan four times this season, first in Madison on Jan. 10 and 11, followed by a pair of meetings in Ann Arbor on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
With three teams in the top-15, half of the teams in the newly-formed Big Ten are ranked.
The poll was conducted in conjunction with the American Hockey Coaches Association, and includes input from coaches and journalists from each of the six NCAA Division 1 ice hockey conferences with additional composite votes granted to officers of the AHCA and USA Hockey.
The Badgers open their season in Eau Claire, Wis., on Oct. 5 with the Red-White scrimmage. The first game of the season pits the Badgers against Northern Michigan at 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center on Oct. 11.