The Boston University men’s hockey team has been selected to finish third in Hockey East this season, according to a preseason Hockey East Writers and Broadcasters Association poll released Sunday.
The only teams picked to finish ahead of the Terriers were defending national champions Boston College (21 first-place votes) and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (three first-place votes). Maine, picked to finish sixth, received the other first-place vote. Members of the media who cover the conference’s ten teams in various capacities voted in the poll.
Additionally, forward Matt Nieto and defenseman Garrett Noonan, both juniors, were selected to the preseason All-Hockey East team. Last year, the then-sophomores recorded 42 and 27 points respectively, each contributing 16 goals.
The full results of the poll can be found here.
Women tabbed to finish second
The women’s hockey team is expected to be similarly successful, according to another preseason poll released Thursday. The Hockey East coaches picked the Terriers, the 2012 conference tournament champions, to finish second out of the league’s eight teams.
BU received three of the eight first-place votes, with Boston College (five, picked to finish first) getting the rest.
Captained by junior forward Marie-Philip Poulin, who missed much of last season to injury, and senior forward Jill Cardella, the Terriers will look to build on their two consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
“One of the real focuses here is to try and have the entire season be a strong body of work, and ultimately earn your way into the NCAA tournament,” said BU head coach Brian Durocher during Thursday’s Hockey East conference call. “I’d like to think we’ve got enough talent here to certainly challenge to do that.”
The team will open the season at 3 p.m. Sunday with an exhibition game against McGill University at Walter Brown Arena.
Ruikka earns another ‘A’
Back in March, it was uncertain that senior defenseman Ryan Ruikka would even return to the BU men’s hockey team. The Chelsea, Mich., native had just finished a dual major bachelor’s degree in economics in mathematics, but he decided to come back to the university to work on a master’s degree in economics and play another year under BU coach Jack Parker.
Now, it is apparent that Ruikka will not only return to the team, but he will be one of the team’s leaders, as he was named assistant captain for the 2012-13 season on Thursday. The fifth-year senior will serve his position alongside senior captain Wade Megan, who was named BU’s captain back in April.
Ruikka only played in 29 games last season, as he was a healthy scratch for 10 of the team’s 39 games. In those 29 games, the blueliner notched five assists while having an even plus-minus rating.
BU also announced the team’s 2012-13 roster on Thursday, and it included one surprise. Freshman forward Nick Breed made the team as a walk-on, becoming the team’s 16th forward.
Breed reigns from Cape Elizabeth, Maine – the hometown of former BU captain and forward Doug Friedman – and he led Maine Class B hockey with 34 goals his senior year with Cape Elizabeth High School, earning a spot on the All-State team.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound forward is the 10th member of the team’s freshman class, which makes up 38 percent of the team’s 26-man roster.