For the first-time in NoontimeSports.com history, we will be producing a weekly top-5 team poll that will highlight NCAA Division III hockey (men and women) in the state of Massachusetts.
With the 2015-16 season set to commence this week, we kick-off our weekly and first-ever poll with Amherst College, topping our Men’s Hockey ‘Top-5’ for Week One. Babson College, Williams College, Nichols College and UMass Boston rounded out the five-team poll with second, third, fourth and fifth placements, respectively, while Curry College and Endicott College each earned votes.
PROGRAM NOTE: As stated above, we will be posting our ‘Top-5’ poll every Tuesday throughout the season, however, we encourage you to engage with our weekly projections by tweeting your weekly picks to @NoontimeSports.
Week One (Oct. 27 – Nov. 2):
1. Amherst College: The Jeffs came within one game of the NCAA Division III National Championship last season, but should be one of the top teams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), along with defending national champion Trinity College (Conn.). The Jeffs ranked second in the conference in defense and third in scoring offense last season. Sophomore David White returns after an impressive freshman year, which concluded with 20 goals and 15 assists. Amherst will commence its 2015-16 season on Friday, November 20 when they Hamilton College for a 7:00 p.m. face-off.
2. Babson College: The Beavers have turned the page from their overtime setback to Norwich University last season in the conference tournament championship. Babson returns senior goaltender Jamie Murray, who enjoyed a few days of N.H.L. experience in July at the Tampa Bay Lightning Development Camp, so expect that few-day period of summer hockey to be on display all season. Additionally, Babson returns senior Mike Vollmin (four goals, 19 assists) and junior Bill Seligman (15 goals, nine assists). Babson begins its season on Friday, October 30 against Hobart at home at 7:00 p.m.
3. Williams College: A one-goal setback in the conference championship to rival Amherst concluded Williams’ season last March. Seven months later, the Ephs will look to rebound, beginning their season on Saturday, November 21 against Bowdoin College in Williamstown at 7:00 p.m. Sophomore David Italiano returns after finishing second on the team with 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists).
4. Nichols College: Picked to capture the ECAC East crown, the Bison will kick-off their season on Friday, October 30 by traveling to Vermont to face Norwich for 7:00 p.m. face-off. First-year head coach Parker Burgess inherits an impressive unit, which features senior goaltender Alex Larson, who finished last season first in the nation in save percentage (.952). Additionally, the Bison’s offense will be fueled by seniors Tyler Beasley, Frank Butler and Paul Prescott.
5. UMass Boston: Following one of their most successful seasons in program history, the Beacons return to the ice with questions on offense, especially with graduation losses of Stephen Buco (16 goals, 32 assists) and Mike Kuhn (12 goals, 20 assists). Sophomore Colin Larkin finished fourth on the team in points (10 goals, 17 assists) and will be counted on to guide the offense, while senior Billy Faust and Zach Andrews split time between the pipes. UMass Boston begins play on Friday, October 30 when they host Curry College at 7:00 p.m.
Receiving Votes: Curry College and Endicott College