MARSHFIELD, Mass.—UMass Boston men's hockey was picked fifth overall in the New England Hockey Conference Coaches' Preseason Poll, the league office announced Thursday morning.
The Beacons racked up 37 points to finish behind traditional rivals Norwich University and Babson College, along with NEHC upstart New England College and newcomer Hobart College.
Norwich, the defending Division III national champions, took home six first-place votes and 58 points total to finish first overall. Defending ECAC West Tournament Champions Hobart College earned 49 points to finish second. The Statesmen are in their first season of NEHC play, with Suffolk University and Johnson & Wales University (R.I.) set to join the conference for the 2018-19 season.
New England College grabbed the final two first-place votes and finished third with 45 points. Babson College added 42 points for fourth place, while Skidmore College (29 points), Castleton University (19 points) and the University of Southern Maine (nine points) rounded out the poll.
UMass Boston returns 20 players from last year's squad that finished 12-11-3 overall. The Beacons struggled to be consistent and ended up as the sixth seed in the conference, a year after reaching the 2016 NCAA Division III "Frozen Four."
Senior captain Colin Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) is looking to build off a career year in his final season in Beacons Blue. As a junior, Larkin was named the New England Hockey Conference Player of the Year after recording a career-high 20 goals and 39 points. He enters the season 16th in program history, with his 102 points in 84 career games.
The Beacons also return NEHC All-Rookie Team selection Nolan Redler (Winchester, Mass.) who registered 10 goals and 17 assists as a freshman.
In addition to their 20 returners, UMass Boston brought in a pair of junior transfers and five freshmen. Junior goalie Anthony D'Urso (Rome, N.Y.) comes to Boston after serving as the starting goalie last year for Daniel Webster College. The Beacons also added Suffolk University forward Justin Holliday, who finished top three on the Rams in goals and points in each of his first two years.
UMass Boston will host the Eastern Hockey League All-Stars on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Beacons open their season on Friday October 27 at 7 p.m., with a home tilt against Wentworth Institute of Technology.
This season UMass Boston will play 18 conference contests, with two games each against Norwich, Babson and Castleton, and three games against Hobart, Skidmore, New England College and Southern Maine.