The University of Maine men’s hockey team has finished 11th in Hockey East in each of the last two seasons and that is where media members feel the Black Bears will wind up again this season.
That will represent last place this season because Notre Dame has departed the league to join the Big Ten, leaving Hockey East with 11 teams.
The eighth annual poll of Hockey East’s writers and broadcasters was released on Sunday and has Boston University as the favorite to win the league title.
The Terriers received 13 of 25 first-place votes and 259 points. Providence College received five first-place votes and 235 points good for second and UMass Lowell was third with five first-place votes and 233 points. Fourth place Northeastern was the only other team to receive first-place votes as the Huskies earned two and had 193 points.
Following Northeastern was Boston College (185 points), Vermont (148), Merrimack (109), the University of Connecticut (98), New Hampshire (73), UMass (60) and UMaine (57).
UMaine is coming off three straight losing seasons including identical 5-15-2 Hockey East records the past two years. Fifth-year coach Red Gendron’s Black Bears will have 10 freshmen and 10 sophomores on their roster.
The preseason All-Hockey East team was comprised of forwards Dylan Sikura and Adam Gaudette from Northeastern and Brian Pinho from Providence; defensemen Garret Cockerill (Northeastern), Dante Fabbro (BU) and Casey Fitzgerald (BC) and goalie Jake Oettinger (BU).
The Black Bears will entertain Acadia University of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, for an exhibition game on Sunday at 4 before opening the season with a Hockey East series against visiting UConn on Oct. 6-7 at 7:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.