Women’s hockey ranked fourth in preseason poll

by Nate Gotlieb

The Gophers women’s hockey team will start the year ranked fourth in the nation, according to the USCHO.com poll. 

Minnesota opens the regular season against seventhranked Clarkson this weekend in Postdam, N.Y.  Clarkson went 23-12-5 last season and lost to the Gophers 3-2 in the NCAA quarterfinals. Minnesota has just two non-conference regular season losses in the past three years. 

Minnesota-Duluth, the defending national champion, took the top spot in the pre-season poll, receiving 14 out 15 first place votes.  The Bulldogs are coming off of a 31-8-2 season and return six 2010 Olympians.

Cornell, last year’s NCAA runner-up, ranks second in the poll while the No. 1 overall seed in last year’s NCAA tournament, Mercyhurst, starts in third.  

Minnesota received one first-place vote and finished with 98 total votes, 11 more than fifth-ranked Wisconsin.

Rounding out the top ten are Boston University, Clarkson, Harvard, Boston College, New Hampshire and Providence (the last two being tied for tenth).