The ECAC Hockey coaches picked Yale to finish first in the league, while also awarding them seven first place votes. Cornell followed, with three first place votes, while Princeton, two first place votes, took the third spot. Harvard and Dartmouth rounded out the top five, followed by Union and Colgate. Quinnipiac landed in a tie with Rensselaer for the eighth spot, followed by St. Lawrence, Clarkson and Brown.
The ECAC Hockey Writers and Broadcasters Association Preseason Poll was not as favorable for the Bobcats, placing them 11th out of 12 teams. Yale was once again the favorite among the media members, receiving 15 first place votes. Cornell was second, with seven first place votes, followed by Princeton, with two first place votes, and Harvard, who also received one first place vote. Dartmouth landed fifth, followed by Union, St. Lawrence, Clarkson, Colgate, Rensselaer and then Quinnipiac. Brown was once again picked to finish 12th.
The 2009-10 Quinnipiac University men's ice hockey will no-doubt be weakened by the loss of the 2008-09 NCAA Division I scoring leader Bryan Leitch. In addition, the Bobcats also lost David Marshall, who ranked among the NCAA leaders in goals scored last year and finished as Quinnipiac's Division I leader. Quinnipiac also lost senior captain Dan Henningson, who led ECAC Hockey's top power-play unit and was considered one of the top blue-line players in the league. Of the Bobcats' league-leading 42 power-play goals, Leitch, Marshall and Henningson accounted for 19 of them. Other losses include Matt Sorteberg, a five-year player and solid defenseman, as well as goalie and fan-favorite Bud Fisher, who showed great prowess come playoff time for the Bobcats.
"There's no question we lost a lot," head coach Rand Pecknold said. "[Bryan] Leitch led the nation in scoring, [David] Marshall had 73 career goals and [Dan] Henningson was a great defensive player. We had to reload this year, so we'll have 13 freshmen for this season. We've lost great players in the past - Reid Cashman graduated and Henningson stepped up - and we've always found a way to be successful."
With the loss of proven scorers and solid defensemen, Quinnipiac's will look to a solid core of veteran returning players as well as its 13 freshmen for the upcoming season. The Bobcats' freshmen class is the largest in Quinnipiac's Division I history, topping the 2001-02 team that had 12 first-year players. That year's team, which had three seniors in its top 10 in scoring, went 20-13-5 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament First Round.
"We've got some great freshmen," Pecknold said. "Jeremy Langlois was the Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player with the New Jersey Hitmen last year. D'Arcy Oakes led the British Columbia league in scoring, and Reese Rolheiser led the Alberta Junior League. Defensively, Zach Davies and Zach Currie were both all-stars in the BCHL and Mike Dalhuisen is a big, physical presence who played with Lincoln of the USHL last season."
Last season, Quinnipiac was just one of three teams in ECAC Hockey with as many as 12 double-digit scorers. This season, the Bobcats will bring back nine of those players. Jean-Marc Beaudoin was an assistant captain for his sophomore and junior years and will wear the "C" on his chest for his senior campaign. Beaudoin had a career-year in 2008-09, reaching personal highs in goals, assists and points while winning the 7th Player and Coaches Award. Also returning will be Beaudoin's linemate, Brandon Wong - one of the most dynamic players in Quinnipiac's Division I history. Wong, a the runner-up for national rookie of the year honors as a freshman, scored his 100th career point in just his third year with the Bobcats and averages close to a point per game for his career.
"I think three of our key guys will be Jean-Marc Beaudoin, Brandon Wong and Eric Lampe," Pecknold said. "Jean-Marc will be our captain this year. All three them have contributed in the past and we're going to need them to play well for us this year. Scott Zurevinski had a great first year with the team and he's going to have to do a little more this year."
Lampe had an outstanding year in 2008-09 and will be looked upon to continue his growth as a solid offensive contributor in the Bobcats line-up. Zach Hansen continued his solid offensive play from the blue line while Mike Atkinson continued his steady offensive production. First-year forwards Scott Zurevinski and Spencer Heichman also turned in solid freshman campaigns, and Dan Clarke will hope to build off his first year in goal.
Quinnipiac will also feature former Bobcat Justin Eddy, who was brought on-board as the Bobcats' goalie coach. Eddy was the first Quinnipiac player to sign a professional contract, with the Washington Capitals, and had a solid professional career that featured stops in the AHL and Europe. Eddy will faced with the task of working with returning players Dan Clarke and Pat McGann, as well as freshmen goalies Eric Hartzell and Mathieu Cadieux.
"Have Justin on board will be tremendous for us," Pecknold said. "As far as a starter, right now it's probably too early to call it. We'll see how we do in preseason. Dan Clarke saw some playing time last season, but Eric Hartzell and Mathieu Cadieux will be right in the mix."
The Bobcats hit the ice for the first time on Sunday, Oct. 4 when they host Prince Edward Island University at 4 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center on the York Hill campus of Quinnipiac University. Their regular season opens on Oct. 7-8 when they travel to Ohio State University before returning to Hamden for their home opener against Bentley College on Oct. 17 at 4 p.m.