BOSTON -- The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team, which rolled to the 2003-04 regular season conference title with a 17-1-2 record, received four of a possible six first-place votes and a total of 29 points to rank No. 1 in the 2004-05 Hockey East Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released Thursday at the league's annual media day, which was held at FleetCenter.
UNH returns 10 letterwinners and welcomes nine newcomers, including eight freshmen, to a team that went 23-9-4 overall and finished as the runner-up in the Hockey East tournament last season.
New Hampshire edged out archrival Providence College for the top spot. PC garnered the remaining two first-place votes and a total of 27 points. Boston College, which finished in last place each of the two years of the league's existence, finished third in the poll with 20 points. Maine (19 points), Connecticut (15) and Northeastern (10) complete the poll.
The Women's Hockey East Association is a six-team hockey conference based entirely in New England. The 2004-05 Hockey East Championships will be held March 12-13 at Boston University's Walter Brown Arena.
UNH, the host school of the 2005 NCAA Women's Frozen Four from March 25-27, opens the season Oct. 12 (7 p.m.) at the University of Vermont. The first Wildcat home game is Oct. 15 vs. Niagara University. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.