Mercyhurst Tabbed as Favorite in Atlantic Hockey Preseason Poll

September 28, 2004

The Mercyhurst Lakers are the predicted favorite in the 2004-05 edition on the Atlantic Hockey Coaches' Preseason Poll. The Lakers secured six first-place votes and distanced themselves from the rest of the pack with a total of 85 points. The announcement was made today by Atlantic Hockey Commissioner Bob DeGregorio during Atlantic Hockey Media Day at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass.

The Lakers finished second during the 2003-04 campaign, compiling a 16-7-1 record and finishing four points behind regular season champion Holy Cross. Losing only six players and returning 19 skaters from last season, head coach Rick Gotkin's bunch hopes to showcase once again a potent offense they had in the previous season, statistically the best in the league.

While there was little argument as to which team had the best chance at securing the regular season title, the coaches were divided on the three spots in the poll behind Mercyhurst. Defending regular season and tournament champion Holy Cross along with Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart each received one first place vote. The Pioneers picked up enough points overall in the voting for a showing in second with 71 points, while the Crusaders and Bobcats tied for third, each with 69 points.

The rest of the preseason poll shakes out in a similar fashion to the final 2003-04 standings. Connecticut sits just behind the predicted top four in fifth place, while Canisius, Bentley, Army, and American International round out the rest of the poll.

Sacred Heart opens up competition for Atlantic Hockey when the Pioneers travel to ECAC Hockey League foe Vermont on October 8. The Pioneers also begin the 2004-05 league schedule when they play host to Army on October 16.

2004-05 Atlantic Hockey Preseason Poll

Place (first place votes), Points
1. Mercyhurst (6), 85
2. Sacred Heart (1), 71
T-3. Holy Cross (1), 69
T-3. Quinnipiac (1), 69
5. Connecticut, 56
6. Canisius, 45
7. Bentley, 36
8. Army, 31
9. American International, 22

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