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September 26, 2006
Final Four from 2006 league tourney secure top spots among coaches
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Boston College senior captain Brian Boyle and the BC Eagles were at the top of the Preseason Coaches' Poll.
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With the likes of towering center Brian Boyle and impenetrable goalie Cory Schneider returning to The Heights, Boston College is the overwhelming favorite in the Hockey East pre-season coaches’ poll. The Eagles garnered eight of a possible nine first-place votes (coaches couldn’t vote for their own team) to easily outdistance their cross-town rivals at Boston University. However, the Terriers, as well as two traditional powerhouses, Maine and New Hampshire, weren’t far behind.

BC Coach Jerry York lost only three players from a team last year that came within a whisker of sending the NCAA championship game against Wisconsin into overtime, eventually losing 2-1. A young defensive corps gained considerable experience during the team’s march to the finals, and two swift forward lines ensure that the Eagles will boast plenty of firepower.

Meanwhile, the Terriers, the defending Hockey East regular season and tournament champs, may still be playing with something to prove after being knocked out of the NCAAs by BC. Coach Jack Parker, coming off consecutive “Coach of the Year” performances, has battle-tested senior John Curry supplying solid goaltending, and a fleet of relentless forwards, including last year’s Hockey East Rookie of the Year, Brandon Yip. To the north, Maine’s Black Bears, behind a potent offense and 6-foot-7 goalie Ben Bishop, are eager to repeat last year’s impressive run to the Frozen Four, while Coach Dick Umile’s Wildcats hope to find a scoring touch to complement the team’s rugged defense.

Many league insiders are curious to see if Providence and Vermont can build on their strong seasons, when the Friars rallied around first-year Coach Tim Army to finished fifth, and the Catamounts made considerable noise in their inaugural Hockey East season. Coach Don “Toot” Cahoon’s Minutemen plan to lean heavily on their veteran forwards and the potential of young netminder Jon Quick. Northeastern Coach Greg Cronin won’t settle for anything less than a return to glory for the Huntington Hounds, which means the Huskies could prove a dangerous opponent. UMass Lowell must overcome the departure of gifted goaltender Peter Vetri, but Coach Blaise MacDonald has a knack for finding diamonds in the rough. Likewise, Merrimack Coach Mark Dennehy’s Warriors have a young-but-talented nucleus to build around, including 12 new recruits.

2006-07 Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Team (1st Place Votes) Pts.
1. Boston College (8) 89
2. Boston University 78
3. Maine (2) 75
4. New Hampshire 67
5. Vermont 57
6. Providence 52
7. Massachusetts 37
8. Northeastern 35
9. UMass Lowell 32
10. Merrimack 18
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