Saints are Coaches' Team to Beat

Photo by Tara Freeman

ALBANY, N.Y. -- St. Lawrence, which has finished among the top three teams in the regular-season standings each year since 2000-01, is the team to beat in the 2009-10 regular season, according to voting by the league coaches as part of the pre-season polls and all-league team.

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The Saints, led by second-year head coach Chris Wells, garnered a total of 107 points, including three of 12 first-place votes. St. Lawrence, which advanced to NCAA Women's Championship Quarterfinals a year ago, heads into the upcoming campaign with an experienced squad headlined by returning all-league selection senior defender Britni Smith. A year ago, St. Lawrence finished second in the regular-season standings with a mark of 16-5-1.
 
Harvard claimed three first-place votes in finishing second in the poll. The Crimson, who are led by the head coach Katey Stone, who enters her 16th season behind the Harvard bench in 2009-10 and is ranked second all-time and first among active Division I women's coaches with 319 victories, amassed 103 total points. Harvard is the two-time defending regular-season champion. 

Dartmouth, which garnered five first place votes, is slotted to finish third in regular-season play according to the voting by the coaches. Head coach Mark Hudak's Big Green compiled 93 points in the poll. Princeton, which advanced to the League quarterfinals a year ago, ranks fourth in the preseason poll with 89 points; Clarkson occupies the fifth slot with 85 points, earning one first-place vote, followed by ECAC Hockey Championship runner-up Rensselaer, with 74 points.

Cornell and Colgate garner slot Nos. 7 and 8, respectively, while Quinnipiac which begins its second campaign under head coach Rick Seeley was selected in the No. 9 position in the preseason coaches' poll.

Yale led by head coach Hilary Witt is the No. 10 team in the poll. Brown and Union are the Nos. 11 and 12 teams in the poll.

The women's season opens Friday, September 25 when Quinnipiac takes on Bluewater in an exhibition contest.  The first regular-season games of the 2009-10 campaign take place Friday, October 2 as Clarkson plays host to Boston College and Rensselaer welcomes Wayne St. (Mich) to Houston Field House. 

About ECAC Hockey
ECAC Hockey boasts elite student-athletes and teams from 12 of the nation's most prestigious institutions - Brown University, Clarkson University, Colgate University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, Quinnipiac University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, St. Lawrence University, Union College, and Yale University.