~WHEA season officially opens Friday, Sept. 24 at Maine~
Tara Watchorn and the BU Terriers were picked at the top of the preseason coaches poll
WAKEFIELD, Mass. -- Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna released the 2010 WHEA preseason coaches poll on Monday afternoon,
which was announced this morning on the season-opening media teleconference with all eight head coaches.
The Boston University Terriers are the favorites to win the league championship for the first time in school history, under the direction
of sixth-year head coach Brian Durocher. BU garnered six of the eight first-place votes and 55 total points. The Terriers are coming off their best
season in program history, as they earned their first NCAA Tournament berth winning the 2010 WHEA Tournament Championship. BU has a talented
group of returning players, which includes Tara Watchorn (Newcastle, Ont.), who was a Second-Team WHEA All-Star on defense. In terms of
newcomers, the Terriers welcome transfer and WHEA All-Star Jenn Wakefield (Pickering, Ont.) and a very strong group of eight incoming first-year
Boston College (49 pts.) is right behind their archival Terriers with the two remaining first-place tallies. The Eagles return two-time WHEA
Player of the Year Kelli Stack (Brooklyn Heights, Ohio) and starting goaltender Molly Schaus (Natick, Mass.) from the 2010 Silver Medalist U.S.
Women's Olympic Team. BC will also return junior Mary Restuccia (Chester Springs, Pa.) and Ashley Motherwell (St. Charles, Ill.), as their top two
returning scorers from last year's squad.
Providence College (42 pts.), the 2010 WHEA regular-season champions, will return goaltender Genevieve Lacasse (Scarborough, Ont.)
and Ashley Cottrell (Sterling Heights, Mich.), both WHEA All-Stars from a season ago. The Friars return 88% of their offense from last year, after
losing only three regular contributors from a season ago.
New Hampshire (35 pts.) is picked fourth in the poll this season after a NCAA berth a year ago and semifinal loss to BU in the conference
tournament. The Wildcats will have to replace the scoring of graduates Micaela Long and WHEA Co-Player of the Year Kelly Paton. Sophomores
Kristina Lavoie (Fonthill, Ont.) and Kristine Horn (Utica, Mich.) are the top two leading returners up front and will both look to take the next step
after 20+ point seasons as freshman in 09-10. UNH will also return All-League defender Courtney Birchard (Missisauga, Ont.) for her final season
Northeastern with 34 total points is right behind New Hampshire in the poll. The Huskies return 2010 WHEA Co-Player of the Year
Florence Schelling (Oberengstringen, Switzerland) in goal. NU will rely heavily on Kristi Kehoe (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Brittany Esposito (Edmonton,
Alta.) to increase Northeastern's offensive output. Head Coach Dave Flint returns from his assistant coaching duties with the U.S. Olympic
Women's Hockey Team for his third season with Huskies.
Connecticut (31 pts.) will again be in the hunt this season with the return of junior goaltender Alexandra Garcia (Point-Claire, Que.). She
led the conference last year with a 1.42 GAA in league play. The Huskies will have to make up for the loss of Cristin Allen on defense and Michelle
Binning and Amy Hollstein up front.
Vermont (20) and Maine (14) rounded out the pre-season coaches poll. The Catamounts will have to replace their workhorse in net
Kristen Olychuck, but return top scorers Celeste Doucet (Memramcook, N.B.) and Kailey Nash (Middletown, R.I.) from a season ago. The Black
Bears are under the direction of first-year head coach Maria Lewis, who comes to the program as an assistant coach from North Dakota.
The ninth season of WHEA regular-season play will open when Maine hosts Sacred Heart at Alfond Arena for a two-game series beginning
on Friday, September 24. Conference play will commence a week later on Saturday, October 2, as New Hampshire travels to Connecticut
for league opener at Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs.
The regular season will determine the six teams that qualify for the Hockey East Championship Tournament. The third and fourth seeds
in the tournament will host a quarterfinal round game on Saturday, Feb. 26 on their respective campuses. The advancing teams will then be
reseeded with the top two seeds to play on the site of the highest seed in the semifinal round on Saturday, March 5. The winners will qualify for
the ninth annual WHEA Championship Game on Sunday, March 6. The championship game will be televised by the New England Sports Network
(NESN) and the winner will receive an automatic berth into the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
The Women's Hockey East Association is an eight-team, Division-I college hockey conference which began play in 2002-2003, with offices
based in Wakefield, Mass. The league also sponsors an 10 team men's league which began play in 1984-1985.
2010-2011 WHEA PRESEASON Poll
|Team (1st Place Votes)
||Boston University (6)
||Boston College (2)