Women’s hockey ranked No. 1 in USA Hockey Poll

by Betsy Helfand

The Gophers women's hockey team will begin the season in a familiar spot. USA Hockey released a preseason poll Tuesday with the back-to-back national champions in the top spot. Boston College, Clarkson, Boston University and North Dakota round out the top five. 

The Gophers are coming off of a perfect 41-0-0 season, but lost many key contributors following the season. Amanda Kessel, the nation's top scorer last season, and defenseman Lee Stecklein were named to the USA Hockey team. Minnesota also lost six players to graduation including top defenseman Megan Bozek and starting goalie Noora Raty.

To offset their losses, the team added six freshman — four forwards, two defenseman and a goalie. Minnesota will begin its title defense Oct. 4 with a series against Colgate.