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September 17, 2013
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Boston College has been selected at the top of the WHEA preseason coaches poll

Wakefield, Mass. - Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna released the 2013-14 Women's Hockey East preseason coaches poll for the league's upcoming 12th season of play on Tuesday morning.

The Boston College Eagles were voted unanimously by the league's eight head coaches to win the regular-season title this year with 56 total points. The Eagles finished second in the league standings in 2012-13 with a 17-2-2 record and 36 points and made an appearance in the Hockey East semifinals for the third straight season. The Eagles will have to manage the loss of 2013 Hockey East Player of the Year Alex Carpenter to the U.S. Women's National Team this season. Boston College returns sophomore Haley Skarupa (Rockville, Md.), the reigning 2013 Hockey East Rookie of the Year and Second-Team All-Star and junior forward Emily Field (Littleton, Mass.), to go along with fifth-year senior and Second-Team All-Star Corinne Boyles (Wheaton, Ill.) in net.

Boston University, which has won three of the last four Hockey East Tournament Championships, was voted second with 48 points and one first-place tally. BU finished in first place last year with an 18-2-1 marker and 37 points. The Terriers are anchored by senior and 2013 Hockey East Tournament Most Vaulable Player Kerrin Sperry (North Reading, Mass.). BU will also have to make up for the loss of forward Marie-Philip Poulin to the Olympic year, so senior Louise Warren (Pembroke, Ont.) and sophomore Sarah Lefort (Ormstown, Que.) will be looked upon to handle more offensively at the forward position. The Terriers return four of the six defensemen that started the NCAA Championship Game last year, including senior defenseman Kaleigh Fratkin (Burnaby, B.C.).

Northeastern (41 pts.) was picked third by the coaches for the second straight season, after finishing last year with a 13-7-1 record third-place finish in league action. The Huskies will also have to operate without their top three scorers from a season ago with Kendall Coyne leaving to play with to the U.S. National Team and the graduation of Casey Pickett and Rachel Llanes. Seniors Kelly Wallace (Libertyville, Ill.)) and Brittany Esposito (Edmonton, Alta.) will be key offensive players, while junior Chloe Desjardins (Saint-Prosper, Beauce, Que.) returns in goal.

Providence (38) is the only team in the 11-year history of the league to make an appearance in the semifinal round in every season since the league was founded. The Friars finished in fifth place last season with a 8-10-3 record and 19 points overall in conference games. Junior Haley Frade (Marion, Mass.) and sophomore Molly Illikainen (Grand Rapids, Minn.) are the Friars' top two returning scorers. In net, sophomore goaltender Sarah Bryant (Bethlehem, Pa.) saw the majority of the action for Providence.

The Wildcats (34) finished fourth last season and are picked to finish fifth in their upcoming campaign. New Hampshire returns sophomore Alexis Crossley (Cole Harbour, N.S.), a Second-Team All-Star blueliner from last year. The Wildcats have seven players returning who scored 10 or more points in 2012-13. UNH returns junior goaltender Jenn Gilligan (Maple Ridge, B.C.), who started in 15 league games to garner Hockey East Honorable Mention honors last year.

Vermont (29) will look to improve on its sixth place finish from last year under second-year head coach Jim Plumer. The Catamounts return the anchor of their defense in senior and First-Team All-Star Roxanne Douville (Beloeil, Que.). Vermont also returns its top three scorers and 84% of their scoring from last season's roster.

Maine (19) and Connecticut (15) round out the poll in the seventh and eighth slots. The Black Bears returns 18 players from last season, but have to big shoes to fill with the losses of Brittany Dougherty and Britany Ott to graduation. First-year head coach Chris MacKenzie will have 17 veterans returning for the Huskies, which includes their top five scorers from last season, including Kayla Campero (Wallingford, Conn.) and Michela Cava (Thunder Bay, Ont.).

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 a 11-team men's league which began play in 1984.

Team (1st Place Votes) Pts.
1. Boston College (7) 56
2. Boston University (1) 48
3. Northeastern 41
4. Providence 38
5. New Hampshie 34
6. Vermont 29
7. Maine 19
8. Connecticut 15

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