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 fourth out of 12 schools in the ECAC Northeast Men's Ice Hockey Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Panther wrestling squad is ranked eighth 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 repeat this year's men's ice hockey title, receiving nine of 12 first-place votes. UMass Dartmouth received the other three top votes and finished second in the poll, while Wentworth Institute of Technology and Plymouth State rounded out the top four. Johnson & Wales, Fitchburg State, and Salve Regina finished in the 5-6-7 spots, with Nichols and Suffolk tied for eighth. Rounding out the poll are Framingham State, Worcester State and Western New England.
Plymouth State men's ice hockey is led by third-year head coach Brett Tryder. The Panthers enjoyed their best season in over a decade last year, finishing 13-10-2 overall and capturing fourth place during the regular season with a 9-5-1 mark. PSU skated past Fitchburg State in the opening round of last year's playoffs before suffering a season-ending loss to Curry. Plymouth State opens the 2005-06 season on Saturday, Nov. 12, hosting Nichols at Waterville Valley Ice Arena (6:00 p.m.)
Four-time defending champion Springfield College was picked in the top spot in the New England Division III wrestling poll, receiving five of seven first-place votes. Johnson & Wales University got the other two top votes and finished runner-up in the poll. The rest of the top 10 includes Norwich, Roger Williams, Rhode Island College, Williams, Wesleyan, Plymouth State, Bridgewater State and Trinity.
PSU Wrestling is coming off a 2004-05 season that included a sixth place at the New England Championships, with four place-winners. Led by first-year head coach Jason Holder, the first competition for the Panthers this season is Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Oneonta (N.Y.) State Invitational.
-- 30 --