Bulldogs slotted third in NCHC preseason poll behind North Dakota, Denver
The preseason NCHC poll mirrored the preseason national polls released this week. The Pioneers, Fighting Hawks and Bulldogs were all ranked in the top five nationally, and are the top three teams in the NCHC heading into the season.
DULUTH — After coming in at No. 5 in both national polls on Monday, Minnesota Duluth was slotted at No. 3 in the NCHC preseason media poll that was released Wednesday.
Denver was picked No. 1 — just as they were in the national polls — while North Dakota came in at No. 2. The defending NCAA champion Pioneers, Fighting Hawks and Bulldogs were all ranked in the top five nationally of both national polls to start 2022-23.
Denver and North Dakota shared the NCHC regular season title last season. UMD tied for fourth with St. Cloud State, but lost a tiebreaker to be seeded fifth in the NCHC playoffs.
The Bulldogs — who were left out of the 2022-23 All-NCHC preseason team — made up for the disappointing regular season with a memorable postseason, sweeping No. 4 St. Cloud State in an NCHC quarterfinal series in St. Cloud before shutting out No. 1 Denver and No. 3 Western Michigan for the program’s third NCHC Frozen Faceoff title in five tournaments.
UMD’s three NCHC postseason titles are the most in the league’s short history, with Denver being the only other school to win multiple Frozen Faceoff titles.
The Bulldogs return 14 from last year’s team, including two fifth-year seniors — Jesse Jacques and Tanner Laderoute. UMD has brought in 10 freshmen — including 2022 Tampa Bay Lightning first-round draft pick Isaac Howard — and a pair of transfers in former Miami captain Derek Daschke and former Maine goaltender Matthew Thiessen.
UMD has made seven consecutive NCAA tournaments and saw its run of four-straight NCAA Frozen Four appearances — which included back-to-back NCAA titles in 2018 and 2019 — snuffed out by the eventual champion Pioneers a year ago.
The Bulldogs open the 2022-23 season at home against Arizona State on Oct. 1-2 at Amsoil Arena. NCHC plays for UMD begins Nov. 4-5 at Colorado College.