MARSHFIELD, Mass. – The New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) has released its annual Preseason Coaches' Poll for women's ice hockey. The poll is compiled based on rankings from the league's eight head coaches. The reigning NEHC Champions, Norwich University, were a unanimous selection to repeat in the 2017-18 season. The University of Massachusetts Boston came in at second with 54 total points while Castleton University rounded out the top three with 44 points.
In state rivals University of New England and University of Southern Maine ranked fourth and fifth respectively with 40 and 29 points apiece. Plymouth State University secured sixth in the poll with 27 points while Salve Regina University (20 points) and New England College (10 points) were slotted at seventh and eighth.
Sarah Schwenzfeier (Hingham, Mass.) returns for the Cadets after earning First Team NEHC honors in 2017 and leading the Cadets with 39 points. Also back for Norwich are sophomores Adrieana Rossini (Malden, Mass.) and Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) who combined for 61 points in their rookie campaigns.
The Beacons return all-NEHC goaltender Rachel Myette (Duxbury, Mass.) for her senior season in net. Sophomore forward Julia Nolan (Duxbury, Mass.) is also back for UMass Boston after ranking fifth in freshman scoring last season with 16 points.
Captain Hannah Rose (Kenora, Ont.) returns to the ice for Castleton after ranking fifth in NEHC defenseman scoring in 2017-18. First-year Head Coach, Ashley Salerno, takes the reins from the bench as she aims to improve on last season's 8-14-4 overall record.
Annie Mullen (Concord, N.H.) and Kierra Wright (Georgia, Vt.) lead all Nor'easter returners after posting 16 (6 goals, 10 assists) and 14 (1 goal, 13 assists) points respectively over the course of last season. UNE kicks off their NEHC slate of games against New England College on November 3.
Southern Maine returns all-NEHC goaltender Britney Evangelista (North Smithfield, R.I.) who posted a 2.15 GAA in her sophomore campaign. The Huskies open the regular season against a formidable opponent in Endicott College on October 28.
Plymouth State returns the core from last season's squad, losing only eight to graduation. Last year's underclassmen will aim to continue the program's upward trajectory under second-year Head Coach Mykul Haun.
The Seahawks of Salve Regina kickoff the season with a road trip to square off against William Smith for two games before beginning the NEHC slate of games. The program was comprised of mainly freshmen and sophomore last season, the valuable game experience they earned last year should prove valuable for the 2017-18 campaign.
New England College also welcomes a new Head Coach into the fold in Maria Lewis. The Pilgrims return a strong group of underclassmen led by junior Alexa Scribner (Falmouth, Mass.) who led all NEC returners with eight points last season.
2017-18 NEHC Women's Ice Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll
|Rank (1st Place Votes)||Pts.|
|1.||Norwich University (8)||64|
|4.||University of New England||40|
|5.||University of Southern Maine||29|
|6.||Plymouth State University||27|
|7.||Salve Regina University||20|
|8.||New England College||10|