MINNEAPOLIS - In the inaugural National Collegiate Hockey Conference preseason poll, Miami University was picked to win the conference, as announced today at the NCHC Media Day at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn. The poll was voted on by a total of 16 media members who regularly cover NCHC teams, two from each institution’s market.
The RedHawks finished the preseason poll with 115 points, followed by North Dakota (109), St. Cloud State (99), Denver (66), Western Michigan (61), Minnesota-Duluth (43), Colorado College (42) and Nebraska-Omaha (41). Miami also led the preseason poll with seven first-place votes.
Miami boasted a record of 25-12-5 last season on its way to an eighth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, including a first-round win over Minnesota State. The RedHawks also captured the final CCHA regular-season championship last year. Miami returns a strong freshman class from last season, led by goaltenders Ryan McKay and Jay Williams and CCHA Rookie of the Year/First Team All-CCHA selection Riley Barber. McKay set Miami single-season records for goals-against average (1.39), which was second nationally, and save percentage (.946), while Williams ranked sixth all-time at Miami in both categories. Barber led all rookies in the NCAA last year with 39 points, including a team-best 15 goals. The RedHawks also return junior All-American and newly-named captain Austin Czarnik, who was the CCHA Player of the Year and a Hobey Baker finalist last season after leading the league with 40 points. Overall, Miami returns 20 players from last season, including 17 letter-winners.
Miami kicks off the 2013-14 season with an exhibition game against Windsor on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. and opens the regular season Friday, Oct. 11 in Columbus against in-state rival Ohio State before returning home on Saturday, Oct. 12 to host the Buckeyes. Miami then begins NCHC play the following weekend, hosting North Dakota Oct. 18-19 in the first ever NCHC games.
Complete Preseason Poll (first-place votes)
1. Miami (7) - 115 points
2. North Dakota (5) - 109 points
3. St. Cloud State (4) - 99 points
4. Denver - 66 points
5. Western Michigan - 61 points
6. Minnesota Duluth - 43 points
7. Colorado College - 42 points
8. Nebraska Omaha - 41 points