Sept. 23, 2014
Boston, Mass. – University of Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson and his fellow Hockey East coaches met the media at TD Garden for the 2014-15 Hockey East Media Day on Monday morning.
Jackson’s squad was selected to finish third in the coaches voting after being picked seventh by the league’s media on Sunday.
Providence College was chosen to finish first, as the Friars garnered 127 votes, including seven of the 12 coaches’ first-place selections. Boston College picked up 120 points, including three first-place tallies to finish second. This marks just the second time in the league’s 31 seasons that Providence was selected first in preseason voting. It also marks the first time since 2001-02 that Boston College or Boston University was not the Hockey East coaches’ preseason pick. That season, the Friars were picked to finish first.
Notre Dame picked 94 points without a first-place vote for third while Northeastern was fourth with 90, including one first-place vote. New Hampshire rounded out the top five with 96 votes.
After that it was Boston University (83), UMass Lowell (79), Vermont (75), Maine (74), Merrimack (37), Massachusetts (33) and league newcomer Connecticut was 12th with a total of 26 points.
On Sunday, the Hockey East Writers and Broadcasters Association released its 2014-2015 preseason media poll results, surveying national, league-wide and team-specific members of the print, broadcast and online media. That poll also picked the Friars to finish first as they received 414 points with 26 first-place votes. Boston College was second with 399 points and eight firsts. Boston University (309 with two firsts), Northeastern (305) and UMass Lowell (267) rounded out the top five.
Notre Dame was picked to tie for seventh by the media, along with Vermont, as each school received 231 points.
The Irish finished 23-15-2 overall in 2013-14 and were 9-9-2 in their first season in Hockey East. Notre Dame advanced to the semifinals at TD Garden with playoff wins over Boston University and regular-season champion Boston College as the Irish upset the Eagles, two games to one, in the Hockey East quarterfinals at Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Jackson took one look back at last year and already has his sights set on the brand new season.
“We knew that the quality of the conference was going to be tough going into last season,” said Jackson.
“Top to bottom, we had never experienced that much depth in a conference. In Hockey East, on any night any team can beat another team on a nightly basis. Everything was new last year. No matter how much you watched film or prepared for a team, when you got into a game, you were surprised. I don’t think we responded very well early in the season, but I thought we were playing our best hockey at the end of the year.”
The Irish graduated 11 seniors following last year and have brought in 10 freshmen for 2014-15. The veteran coach looks forward to getting started in two weeks.
“We will have such a young group this year,” said Jackson.
“Getting experience will be important for us. Potentially, we could have four freshman defensemen in the lineup. We will have either a sophomore or a freshman goaltender playing and then another four freshmen at forward. It’s going to be a young team. I like our returning players. Guys like Vince Hinostroza, Mario Lucia, Sam Herr, Steven Fogarty and Thomas DiPauli. We have some strong seniors like Peter Schneider and Austin Wuthrich. Some of those guys will have to raise their level of play and take another step. We have challenges both in the back and in front.
Jackson added, “I go into this like I did five years ago when we had another big freshman class and went to the Frozen Four. I don’t go into the year thinking that we are rebuilding. I like to think that the talent is there; it’s just that they need to get the experience and we have the chance for this to be a good team.”
Coaches Poll (1st votes) Pts. HE Writers and Broadcasters (1st votes) Pts.1. Providence (7) 127 1. Providence (26) 4142. Boston College (3) 120 2. Boston College (8) 3993. NOTRE DAME 94 3. Boston University (2) 3094. Northeastern (1) 90 4. Northeastern 3055. New Hampshire 86 5. UMass Lowell 2676. Boston University 83 6. Maine 2567. UMass Lowell (1) 79 7. NOTRE DAME 2318. Vermont 75 Vermont 2319. Maine 74 9. New Hampshire 17110. Merrimack 37 10. Merrimack 9711. Massachusetts 33 11. Massachusetts 8012. Connecticut 26 12. Connecticut 48