September 24, 2002

Red Picked First in Preseason Poll

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For those who waited in line last weekend for hockey tickets: the time you sat in the Ramin Room was not in vain, or at least according to the ECAC coaches and media polls. Both named Cornell the preseason favorite for the 2002-03 season.

The Red received seven first-place votes among the 12 coaches, barely beating Harvard for the top-spot in the poll, 116 points to 115. The media poll also favored Cornell, choosing it by a larger margin than the coaches — the Red had 16 first place votes, followed by the Crimson with four. Listed No. 3 in both polls, Clarkson received a single first-place vote from the media.

Senior co-captain Doug Murray was also honored as a member of the ECAC Preseason All-Conference Team. The defenseman was one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award last year, college hockey’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. In addition, he was the Ivy League Player of the Year, an ECAC First-Team selection and a First-Team All-American.

After being pegged to finish third last year, the Red dominated the conference with a 17-3-2 record (25-3-2 overall) and was ranked consistently within the top 10 in the nation.

The team played in the ECAC championship game but fell to Harvard in double overtime. Nevertheless, it snagged an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

In its first NCAA game since 1997, Cornell beat Quinnipiac 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals where it would meet then No. 1 UNH. The Red earned national respect in its close 4-3 loss to the Wildcats, but ended its season with unfulfilled aspirations of playing in the Frozen Four.

The coaches poll picked last season’s biggest surprise, Brown, to finish fourth. St. Lawrence, Yale, Colgate, RPI, Dartmouth, Union, Princeton and Vermont round out the rankings in that order.

Other members of the preseason all-conference team were Crimson forwards, Dominic Moore and Brett Nowak, Yale forward Chris Higgins, Dartmouth defenseman Trevor Byrne, and Brown netminder Yann Danis.

Archived article by Sun Staff