Mercyhurst College was picked first in the 2014-15 Atlantic Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll it was announced Wednesday morning at the AHA Media Conference Call. Mercyhurst captured the Atlantic Hockey Association Regular Season Championship last year with a dominant regular season that included just four league losses. The Lakers return six scorers who had double-digit goal totals a year ago and both goaltenders. Leading the way will be captain and highly coveted NHL free agent Matthew Zay. The senior had 17 goals and 26 assists last winter.
Robert Morris, the defending tournament champion, lost in the first round of the NCAA West Regional to eventual national runner-up Minnesota. The Colonials return their top seven scorers from last season, including star senior Cody Wydo who had 31 goals and 23 assists.
The league has one less member for the 2014-15 season after the departure of UConn to Hockey East. Holy Cross is the only league team with a new coach this season. Former Providence assistant and UConn interim head coach Dave Berard steps in at Holy Cross for Paul Pearl who left to take an associate head coaching post at Harvard.
|Rank||Team (First Place Votes)||Points||2013-14 Record|
|1||Mercyhurst (6)||95||21-13-7 (17-4-6 AH)|
|2||Robert Morris (3)||89||19-18-5 (13-9-5 AH)|
|3||Air Force (1)||80||21-14-4 (15-9-3 AH)|
|4||Bentley||69||19-14-4 (16-7-4 AH)|
|5||Niagara (1)||69||15-20-5 (11-11-5 AH)|
|6||Canisius||52||17-21-3 (11-13-3 AH)|
|7||Rochester Institute of Technology||47||12-20-5 (10-14-3 AH)|
|8||Holy Cross||44||14-22-3 (11-13-3 AH)|
|9||Sacred Heart||28||12-24-0 (11-16-0 AH)|
|10||Army||20||6-28-0 (5-22-0 AH)|
|11||American International||12||10-25-1 (9-17-1 AH)|
SB Nation will have a full season preview of the Atlantic Hockey Association next week with predictions and analysis of the year ahead.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.