Boston College women's hockey will attempt to be the first BC program outside of men's hockey to #GetThatStar this year, with very high expectations.
The program was received its highest preseason ranking ever this week in the USA Today/USA Hockey poll, at #2 overall, and also received a first place vote -- the team's first ever.
Minnesota, coming off the first undefeated and untied season in the history of the sport, topped the rankings, receiving the other 18 first place votes.
1. Minnesota, 179 (18)
2. Boston College, 160 (1)
3. Clarkson, 106
4. Boston University, 102
5. North Dakota, 100
6. Cornell, 96
7. Wisconsin, 94
8. Mercyhurst, 70
9. Harvard, 41
10. Northeastern, 20
I'll have a detailed season preview in the coming weeks, but my brief thoughts on the rankings:
This is an Olympic year, and because college hockey is the highest level play the sport has, nearly all of the national team rosters are filled with college playes, with some exceptions.
Minnesota loses all three of the 2013 Patty Kazmaier (women's hockey's version of the Hobey Baker) Hat Trick Finalists -- yes, they had all three of them in the same season, it was ridiculous -- to either graduation, or the Olympics, plus one more Olympian on top of that. Needless to say, their squad was absolutely decimated. As good as they were last year, and despite the fact that other teams are losing good players as well, I do not expect Minnesota to end the season as the #1 team in the country.
Boston College seems correctly positioned at #2. They will not run away with anything after losing their best player in Alex Carpenter to Team USA, but they should be in the cluster of the top 4 or so teams at the end of the year, with a puncher's chance of taking the whole thing. The key here will be whether one or more of their incoming freshmen are impact players.
This is going to be an exciting season, particularly with the Frozen Four so close to home, at Quinnipiac. This is BC's best chance they've ever had, in any sport, to win a national title in something other than men's hockey.