PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The pre-season conference polls are out for two of Plymouth State University's winter athletic teams, and the Panther men's ice hockey and wrestling squads are in the middle of the pack with the season openers just around the corner.
Plymouth State is ranked eighth out of 12 schools in the ECAC Northeast Men's Ice Hockey Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Panther wrestling squad is ranked ninth out of 15 schools in the first New England Division III Wrestling poll, as released by the New England College Conference Wrestling Association (NECCWA).
Defending ECAC Northeast regular season champion Curry College is the coaches' choice to claim this year's men's ice hockey title, receiving 10 of 11 first-place votes. Defending ECAC Northeast Tournament champion Wentworth Institute of Technology received the other top vote and finished second in the poll, followed by UMass Dartmouth, Fitchburg State, Suffolk, Framingham State, Salve Regina, and Plymouth State. Teams predicted to finish out of the playoff picture include Nichols, Worcester State, Western New England, and Johnson & Wales.
Plymouth State men's ice hockey is led by second-year head coach Brett Tryder. The Panthers will be out to improve on last year's 8-15-1 overall and 4-11-1 conference records. PSU opens the season on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 12-13, at the Paine Webber Classic in Worcester, Mass., hosted by Assumption College.
Three-time defending champion Springfield College was picked in the top spot in the New England Division III wrestling poll, receiving eight of the 10 first-place votes. Johnson & Wales University, which placed sixth in New England last season, got the other two top votes and finished runner-up in the poll. The rest of the top 10 includes Norwich, WPI, Rhode Island College, Trinity, Wesleyan, Williams, Plymouth State and Coast Guard.
PSU Wrestling is coming off a 2003-04 season that included a 7-9 dual meet record, an 11th place at the Conference Dual Meet Championships, and a 10th place finish at the New England Championships, with four place-winners. Led by third-year head coach Don Perrin, the first competition for the Panthers this season is Nov. 20 at the Oneonta (N.Y.) State Invitational.
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