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).
Two-time defending ECAC Northeast regular season champion Curry College is the coaches' choice to capture this year's men's ice hockey title, receiving nine of 12 first-place votes. The 2006 Northeast Tournament champion UMass Dartmouth received the other three top votes and finished second in the poll, while Nichols and Plymouth State rounded out the top four. Fitchburg State, Wentworth, Salve Regina and Johnson & Wales finished in the 5-6-7-8 spots to fill out the play-off bracket, with Suffolk, Western New England, Framingham State and Worcester State rounding out the poll.
Plymouth State men's ice hockey is led by fourth-year head coach Brett Tryder. The Panthers are coming off two outstanding seasons, placing fourth and third in the Northeast the past two years and enjoying home ice for the first round of the conference tournament. Plymouth State opens the 2006-07 season on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 10-11, hosting Morrisville State for two games at Waterville Valley Ice Arena.
Johnson & Wales University edged five-time defending champion Springfield College for the top spot in the New England Division III wrestling poll, receiving six of 11 first-place votes. Springfield got four of the other five top votes and finished runner-up in the poll. The rest of the top 10 includes Roger Williams, Norwich, Williams (one first-place vote), Bridgewater State, Wesleyan, Plymouth State, Southern Maine and Rhode Island College.
PSU Wrestling is coming off a 2005-06 season that included a eighth place at the New England Championships, with three individual place-winners. Led by second-year head coach Jason Holder, the first competition for the Panthers this season is a dual match on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Norwich (7:30 p.m.). The home opener at Foley Gymnasium is Wednesday, Nov. 29 vs. RIC.
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