Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Gophers tied for No. 1 with Boston College in preseason hockey rankings

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under College hockey, Gophers, WCHA Updated: September 24, 2012 - 2:45 PM

The Gophers and Boston College are tied for No. 1 in USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine's preseason national rankings released on Monday.

BC won the NCAA title last spring. It was the Eagles' third national title in five years under coach Jerry York. The Gophers were the MacNaughton Cup champions -- meaning they were the WCHA regular-season champions -- and reached the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla., before losing to BC 6-1 in the national semifinals.

The Gophers appear loaded for 2012-13, with six of their top seven scorers back -- five of them forwards -- and all six of their regular defensemen.

BC got 20 first-place votes, or eight more than Minnesota, but both had 476 points, meaning voters who did not pick the Gophers No. 1 still had them ranked high.

Chris Dilks, who writes for the Western College Hockey Blog, is skeptical about the Gophers' high ratings: "I guess unlike me, pollsters didn't have to search through last year's Frozen Four photos for a good Minnesota pic, only to be reminded of how just badly BC obliterated them."

That was then, this is now, Mr. Dilks. I didn't have a vote in the USA Today poll but, if I had, the Gophers would have gotten my vote for No. 1. Who has more returning talent than the Gophers, sir?

The only question mark with the 'U' is in goal. Otherwise, their defense is ridiculously deep, with two talented freshmen joining the mix, and coach Don Lucia should be able to put together two high-scoring lines.

Boston College will play the Gophers in one of the first-day games of the Mariucci Classic which is held during the holidays.

USA TODAY PRESEASON POLL
                                                           Final Ranking 2011-12 Record
1 Boston College, 476 (20)                    1                 33-10-1
1 Minnesota, 476 (12)                             4                  28-14-1
3 Michigan, 408 (2)                                  7                  24-13-4
4 University of North Dakota, 407         6                  26-13-3
5 Union College, 295                              3                  26-8-7
6 Cornell, 233                                         13                  19-9-7
7 UMass-Lowell, 221                               9                 24-13-1 1
8 University of Denver, 220                      8                 25-14-4 1
9 Miami University, 203                          10                 24-15-2 1
10 University of Notre Dame, 186       NR                19-18-3 1
11 Western Michigan University, 182   14                21-14-6 1
12 Minnesota Duluth, 176                        5                25-10-6 1
13 Boston University, 158                       11                23-15-1 1
14 Ferris State, 123                                   2                 26-12-5 1
15 Wisconsin, 99                                    NR                17-18-2 1

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