The preseason pollsters say defending champion Minnesota-Duluth will be the team to beat again in college hockey. At the same time, those pollsters also gave some votes to UMaine and they begin the year in the conversation at #29.

The Black Bears are coming off an 18-16-4 season. Mitch Fossier and Chase Pearson return to the lineup. They were the top two scorers a year ago. Goalie Jeremy Swayman returns for a second season.

Maine will find out soon enough about Minn-Duluth. The Bears travel to play a weekend series October 19th and 20th. The season opens with an exhibition game with the University of Prince Edward Island on October 8th, then hosting a weekend series vs St. Lawrence October 12th and 13th for the first countable games.

Four Hockey East teams are ranked in the top 20 - Providence, Boston College, Boston University and Northeastern.

Check out the full USCHO poll...

RnkTeam(First Place Votes)RecordPointsLast Poll
RnkTeam(First Place Votes)RecordPointsLast Poll
1Minnesota Duluth(44)0-0-09821
2Notre Dame(2)0-0-08572
3Ohio State(2)0-0-08353
4Michigan(2)0-0-07904
5Providence0-0-06987
6St. Cloud State0-0-06976
7Cornell0-0-06768
8Boston University0-0-059710
9Denver0-0-05525
10Minnesota State0-0-04889
11North Dakota0-0-043717
12Boston College0-0-039819
13Minnesota0-0-038718
14Princeton0-0-035715
15Northeastern0-0-034511
16Penn State0-0-030213
17Clarkson0-0-029912
18Michigan Tech0-0-011516
19Western Michigan0-0-0109NR
20Northern Michigan0-0-09820

Other Receiving Votes: Air Force 94, Union 90, Bowling Green 62, Harvard 58, Massachusetts 35, Wisconsin 27, Colorado College 23, UMass Lowell 20, Maine 18, Omaha 17, Canisius 14, Mercyhurst 11, Quinnipiac 8, Miami 2, Brown 1, Connecticut 1