Coming off a third-place NCHC finish in 2020-21, Minnesota Duluth was slotted second in the 2021-22 NCHC Preseason Poll released on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs, who have made the last four NCAA Frozen Fours, picked up three first-place votes to finish second behind three-time NCHC Penrose Cup champion St. Cloud State. The Huskies finished second in the league a year ago and are coming off an appearance in the NCAA championship game.

Defending NCHC regular season champion North Dakota, which lost 10 players to the professional ranks this offseason, came in at No. 3, followed by Denver at No. 4. Both teams received a first-place vote.

Nebraska-Omaha, Western Michigan, Miami and Colorado College — in that order — made up the bottom four teams.

The Bulldogs have finished in the top three of the NCHC each of the previous five seasons and in the top four seven times in the league’s eight seasons of play. UMD is still seeking its first Penrose Cup, having finished as second during the regular season three times.

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UMD returns 21 of 25 players from last year’s team, including seven of eight defensemen and all three goaltenders. The six fifth-year seniors are the most on an NCHC roster this season, followed by the five at St. Cloud State.

The NCHC preseason poll is voted on by media who cover the league, with 25 ballots cast this year.