For the first time in nine years, the ECAC Hockey coaches and the media disagree on which team will win the ECACH regular-season title.
The media selected Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to capture its first regular-season title since 1985, while the coaches picked defending NCAA hockey champion Yale to finish first, it was announced at the conference’s media day at the Conference Center at Lake Placid, which begins a three-year run as host of the ECACH tournament this season.
Two-time defending ECACH tournament champion Union was picked to finish fourth in the media poll and tied for third with ECACH regular-season champion Quinnipiac in the coaches poll.
The last time there was a disagreement was in 2004, when the coaches picked Cornell, while the media selected Dartmouth. Since the start of the media poll in 1999, there has been one other year when there was a dispute on who would finish first. In 2001, Harvard was the coaches’ pick, while the media voted for Cornell.
The Engineers, whose second-place finish last season was the highest since Seth Appert became head coach in 2006, received 18 of 33 first-place votes from the media and earned 367 points. It’s the first time they have been voted first in the media poll. Their previous highest finish was second in 1999, the first media poll.
RPI, which returns 21 players, finished second in the coaches poll, receiving two of 12 first-place votes and 102 points, one less point than Yale. The Engineers are led by sophomore goalie Jason Kasdorf, who was named ECACH Rookie of the Year last season.
Yale got five first-place votes in the coaches poll, and was second in the media poll with five first-place votes and 334 points.
The Dutchmen, who lost seven players from last year’s team, got three first-place votes and 287 points in the media poll, and two first-place votes and 93 points from the coaches.
Neither RPI coach Seth Appert nor Union coach Rick Bennett put much stock in the polls.
“It has little relevance,” Appert said. “It might help in publicity and recruiting. In regard to the 26 young men in our locker room, it doesn’t mean anything. We have to prove it.”
“It means absolutely zippo,” Bennett said. “I don’t want to downplay it to the coaches and media who do it. I think it’s kind of fun seeing where teams stand. But doing it the past couple of years hasn’t really panned out the way it is. I guess a lot of the coaches and the media didn’t see we lost a lot of guys.”
Rounding out the rest of the coaches poll are Cornell (fifth with one first-place vote and 89 points), Harvard (sixth with 67 points), Dartmouth (seventh with one first-place vote and 64 points), Brown (eighth with 46 points), Colgate (ninth with 44 points), St. Lawrence (10th with 43 points), Princeton (11th with 26 points) and Clarkson (12th with 22 points).
Quinnipiac was third in the media poll with six first-place votes and 292 points. There was a tie for fifth between Cornell and Dartmouth with 238 points each. Cornell got the other first-place vote. Rounding out the media poll are St. Lawrence (seventh with 212 points), Brown (eighth with 188 points, Colgate (ninth with 125 points), Harvard (10th with 108 points), Princeton (11th with 102 points) and Clarkson (12th with 83 points).
Kasdorf and Union junior defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere were named to the coaches and media preseason all-conference team. Dutchmen senior defenseman Mat Bodie made the media’s team, while Cornell’s Joakim Ryan was on the coaches team.
St. Lawrence senior forward Greg Carey and Yale senior forward Kenny Agostino were on the coaches and media team. Brown junior forward Matt Lorito was on the media squad, while Princeton’s Andrew Calof was favored by the coaches.
The league also announced that the ECACH tournament third-place game has been eliminated.