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College hockey rankings: Denver Pioneers No. 8 in USA Today Preseason Poll

The Denver Pioneers hockey team is getting back into action and they enter the season as the No. 8 team in the nation.

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The Denver Pioneers are the No. 8 team in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Preseason Top 15 Poll, which came out on Monday. The defending champion Boston College Eagles tied for the No. 1 ranking with the Minnesota Gophers based on points (476), but the Eagles received 20 first-place votes. The Gophers received 12.

The Michigan Wolverines are the No. 3 team and took two first-place votes. The North Dakota came in at No. 4, just one point behind Michigan (408-407). Union College took the fifth spot in the preseason poll.

The Pioneers went 25-14-4 last season and lost to Ferris State in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Ice Hockey Tournament. Ferris State played Boston College in the Frozen Four title game.

The Pepsi Center will play host to the Pioneers and the University of British Columbia on Oct. 6 for an exhibition game. The regular season begins on Oct. 19 with six straight home games at Magness Arena. UMass-Lowell is the first team on the docket.

Colorado College (19) and Air Force (3) appear in the "Others Receiving Votes" category. Here is the full poll:

Team Points (1st Place Votes) 2011-12 Record
1 Boston College 476 (20) 33-10-1
2 Minnesota 476 (12) 28-14-1
3 Michigan 408 (2) 24-13-4
4 North Dakota 407 26-13-3
5 Union College 295 26-8-7
6 Cornell 233 19-9-7
7 UMass-Lowell 221 24-13-1
8 Denver 220 25-14-4
9 Miami 203 24-15-2
10 Notre Dame 186 19-18-3
11 Western Michigan 182 21-14-6
12 Minnesota Duluth 176 25-10-6
13 Boston University 158 23-15-1
14 Ferris State 123 26-12-5
15 Wisconsin 99 17-18-2

Others receiving votes: Harvard University, 58; University of Maine, 24; Quinnipiac University, 24; Michigan State University, 19; Colorado College, 19; University of New Hampshire, 17; Ohio State University, 17; St. Cloud (Minn.) State University, 15; Merrimack College, 7; Providence College, 6; Yale University, 6; United States Air Force Academy, 3; Northern Michigan University, 1; Michigan Tech University, 1.

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