BC picked -- again -- as team to beat in Hockey East

by PR Wire Report

BOSTON -- Boston College has been picked to win Hockey East for second consecutive season, according to a poll of the conference's 10 head coaches released Tuesday during the league’s media day at the Legends Club at TD Garden.

The Eagles garnered seven first-place votes and a total of 88 points. BC won the regular-season in 2010-11 for the 11th time in school history with a 20-6-1 record and 41 totals points, and returns 18 players from a season ago, including junior defenseman Brian Dumoulin (Biddeford, Maine), the lone returning first-team Hockey East All-Star from last season.

Boston University (83 points) was chosen second in the poll and garnered the remaining three first-place votes. Senior goaltender Kieran Millan, a second-team All-Star in 2011, headlines the group of returning players, along with captain Chris Connolly and junior forward Alex Chiasson. The Terriers return 86 percent of the team's scoring from last year's 19-win squad.

New Hampshire (72) brings back standout goaltender Matt DiGirolamo for his senior season in between the pipes. The Wildcats' offense will be led by seniors Mike Borisenok and Stevie Moses (Leominster, Mass.), and junior John Henrion (Holden, Mass.), who accounted for a combined 42 points last year in league games.

Maine (64) returns senior forward Brian Flynn (Lynnfield, Mass.), the league's top returning point-getter from a season ago with 30 and All-Rookie selection Dan Sullivan in goal.

Merrimack (61) will look to capitalize off its finest Division 1 season in the program's history, as the team won 25 games and reached the Hockey East championship game for the first time in school history. Joe Cannata (Wakefield, Mass.) returns for his senior campaign. His 16 wins in league play last year were third-best among league netminders.

Vermont (44) will return six of its top eight scorers from last year, including junior forward Sebastian Stålberg, who led the team with 20 points in 27 league contests.

Massachusetts (42) brings back 84 percent of its scoring prowess from 2010-11, including three 20-point scorers in league action: Danny Hobbs, Michael Pereira (West Haven, Conn.) and T.J. Syner (Springfield, Mass.).

Northeastern (33) will have Chris Rawlings in net once again, and blueliner Anthony Bitetto should improve off a very solid freshman season and will anchor the defense under first-year head coach Jim Madigan.

UMass-Lowell (27) and first-year head coach Norm Bazin will look to Riley Wetmore (Swanton, Vt.) and David Vallorani to lead the River Hawks’ offense.

Providence (26) returns senior Alex Beaudry in goal, as new coach Nate Leaman transitions the club in his first season. Beaudry was one of six goalies in the league to make 700 or more saves in conference play last year.