College Hockey: An early look at 2014-2015

Matt Dewkett

15 contenders for the 2015 Frozen Four in Boston

With Union College crowned NCAA Champions for the 2013-14 season, it is time to start looking ahead to who will take home the ultimate prize from Boston next April. Here is a very early and premature look at 15 teams who should contend for the national title at the 2015 Frozen Four at the TD Garden.


School '13-'14 Record Summary
1 Providence 22-11-6 Stud goaltender Jon Gillies returns with a talented roster that is constantly improving under the leadership of Nate Leaman. Nick Saracino and Mark Jankowski could have breakout campaigns.
2 Minnesota 28-7-6 Barring early departures the Gophers bring back their top seven scorers and nine of their top 10 to go along with Adam Wilcox in net.
3 North Dakota 25-14-3 North Dakota found its groove in the second half and will bring a lot of key pieces back for next season. A continuing trend in these rankings is rising-junior goaltenders - Zane Gothberg for UND.
4 Colgate 20-14-5 The Raiders bring back all but one skater and a backup goaltender, including the dynamic Spink twins. Don Vaughan's team is the clear-cut favorites in ECAC Hockey.
5 Miami 15-20-3 The Red Hawks underachieved this season, but many of its key cogs announced a return to Oxford over turning pro early. Rico Blasi's team should be a legit contender to make it to Boston.
6 Boston College 28-8-4 The Eagles lose their entire vaunted first line, but as has become customary in Chestnut Hill, a new crop of blue chip recruits enter, led by Noah Hanifin and Sonny Milano.
7 Minnesota State 26-14-1 The Mavericks return a talented squad that made life extremely difficult for UMass Lowell in the NCAA Northeast Regional. Mike Hastings' team should be the class of the WCHA.
8 Boston University 10-21-4 Year two at Agganis Arena should be a lot better for David Quinn and co. The top six forwards return, and stud Jack Eichel should give a huge boost to the offense.
9 Brown 11-17-3 The Bears had to deal with some significant injuries, but many key players return. Brendan Whittet is set to bring in another terrific recruiting class led by several 2014 NHL Draft prospects.
10 Denver 20-16-6 The Pioneers lose senior Sam Brittain, but Jim Montgomery had his team coming together down the stretch. Look for Evan Cowley to step right in to fill the void in goal.
11 St. Cloud 22-11-5 Charlie Lindgren will step into the crease to fill the void of Ryan Faragher. Another solid recruiting class will offset some key departures.
12 Union 32-6-4 The defending national champions will survive because of the terrific program Rick Bennett has fostered in Schenectady, but some of the losses will be too tough to overcome for another run at the Frozen Four.
13 UMass Lowell 26-11-4 Norm Bazin's team has been devastated by pro signings and graduation. The River Hawks will take a step back, but Bazin's body of work should give UML the benefit of the doubt here.
14 Ferris State 29-11-3 The Bulldogs lose three of their top four scorers and a key defenseman, but C.J. Motte should return between the pipes to anchor the boys from Big Rapids.
15 Dartmouth 10-20-4 The Big Green went 6-4-1 down the stretch after a disastrous start to the season and returns 219 of their 223 points from this season. Look for Tyler Sikura to have a bounce back season.

Honorable Mention: Michigan, Northeastern, Quinnipiac, Harvard, Maine

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Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.

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