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College Hockey Polls And Watch Lists, Preseason: Denver Pioneers, Colorado College On The Map

The college hockey preseason polls are out and the Denver Pioneers and the Colorado College Tigers are poised for success once again.

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DU Pioneers' Jason Zucker Named USCHO's No. 6 Forward For 2011-12 Season

Denver Pioneers sophomore forward Jason Zucker has been named to USCHO's Top 10 forwards to watch this upcoming college hockey season. Zucker tallied 23 goals and 22 assists for 45 points, finishing behind only Drew Shore by one point for the team lead. Seven if his goals in 2010 were game-winners. He put 162 shots on net and finished the season at plus-23.

The WCHA had two other players appear on the list. At No. 2, Jack Connolly of defending Frozen Four champion Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs finds his way onto the list. As Bulldogs team captain, Connolly will have more pressure on him to lead the team and to be the main scoring threat.

At No. 1, Colorado College' Jaden Schwartz is looking for a bang-up sophomore season. The 14th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft by the St. Louis Blues, Schwartz will look to improve on the 47 points he scored in just 30 games as a freshman. Expect him to compete for the Hobey Baker Award this season.

The Pioneers and the Tigers kick off the season with exhibition games against McGill University on Saturday and Sunday.

For more on the WCHA, visit Western College Hockey Blog.


Air Force Falcons Hockey Chosen For 2nd Place Finish In Atlantic Hockey Association

In 2011, the Air Force Falcons made their fourth appearance in the NCAA Hockey Tournament after capturing the Atlantic Hockey Association's automatic bid by winning the conference tournament. They then had a tough draw as a No. 4 seed going up against the tournament's No. 1 overall seed, the Yale Bulldogs. The Falcons took the Bulldogs to overtime, but lost, 2-1.

They'll attempt to make it farther in 2012, and they are in a good position to do it. The Falcons were voted by the AHA coaches to finish second in the conference. The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Tigers took first place, but both schools each received five first-place votes. Holy Cross, which came in third, had the other two first-place votes.

The Falcons are right outside the Top 15-20 in the major polls. Head coach Frank Serratore will have goalie Jason Torf back in net after the netminder had a 2.87 GAA and a 16-9-4 record in 33 games.

Here is the projected order of finish:

1. RIT (5 first-place votes)
2. Air Force (5)
3. Holy Cross (2)
4. Niagra
5. Connecticut
6. Robert Morris
7. Mercyhurst
8. Army
9. Canisius
10. Bentley
11. Sacred Heart
12. American International

WCHA Preseason Media Poll: Denver Pioneers, Colorado College Take Top Spots

The Western College Hockey Association Preseason Media Poll has been released and the Denver Pioneers and the Colorado College Tigers are predicted to finish Nos. 1 and 2 this season. This should come as no surprise as the two national polls had the schools at Nos. 4 and 7, respectively. The Pioneers took 16 of the 26 first-place votes, while Colorado College received seven.

Defending Frozen Four champions, the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, are predicted to finish fifth in a stacked conference. The WCHA is the top college hockey conference for the next two years before the National Collegiate Hockey Conference begins play in 2013. Denver, Colorado College, North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota-Duluth will leave the WCHA for the NCHC.

Denver and Colorado College also dominated the preseason awards. Denver's Jason Zucker was voted preseason player of the year. He scored 23 goals and totaled 45 points during the 2010-11 season. Colorado College's Jaden Schwartz finished second. Schwartz, a sophomore, enjoyed a fine rookie campaign with 17 goals and 30 assists after playing in just 30 games.

The Pioneers and Tigers combined to place five players on the preseason all-WCHA team, and Tigers head coach Scott Owens was voted preseason coach of the year.

Our WCHA blog, Western College Hockey Blog, had a vote in the poll and placed Denver at No. 2 and Colorado College at No. 4

Here are the predicted results:

1. Denver (16 first-place votes)
2. Colorado College (7)
3. North Dakota (2)
4. Nebraska-Omaha (1)
5. Minnesota-Duluth
6. Minnesota
7. Wisconsin
(tie) St. Cloud State
9. Alaska-Anchorage
10. Bemidji State
11. Minnesota State
12. Michigan Tech

For more, check out our WCHA blog Western College Hockey Blog.


College Hockey Polls, Preseason: Denver Pioneers, Colorado College Open In Top 10

The college hockey preseason polls are out and the Denver Pioneers and the Colorado College Tigers are top 10 teams entering the 2011-12 season.

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