The Atlantic Hockey Association coaches have voted who they believe will take home the regular season crown for the 10th season of Atlantic Hockey. Last year’s regular season and tournament champions, Air Force is the top pick in this year’s pre-season poll. The Falcons collected eight (8) first place votes en route to 112 total points.
Niagara was selected second by the coaches, as the Purple Eagles collected three (3) first place votes and totaled 101 points. Mercyhurst follows in third with 89 points, while Bentley and RIT tied for fourth with 87 points. Holy Cross rounds out the top six with 74 points.
In seventh place, Connecticut collected with 65 points, while Robert Morris is eighth with 61 points and the final first place vote. Canisius was chosen ninth with 38, while Army trails them for tenth with 30 points. Rounding out the rest of the poll are American International in 11th (20 points) and Sacred Heart in 12th (19 points).
Niagara will open the regular season hosting Bowling Green on Saturday, October 6 at 4:00 pm. The other games on the slate for the opening weekend will be exhibition contests. Holy Cross will host St. Thomas at 3:00 pm, Mercyhurst will take on Wilfrid Laurier and RIT will host Ottawa both at 7:05 pm. Canisius will take on Ottawa in an exhibition contest Sunday, while Sacred Heart and Robert Morris will face St. Thomas and Wilfrid Laurier, respectively. Air Force will host British Columbia in an exhibition contest on Monday, October 7.
The 2013 Atlantic Hockey Tournament will feature the same format from last year. The top four teams receive a bye into the Quarterfinals with seeds 5-8 hosting seeds 9-12 in a best two-out-of-three First Round series starting Friday, March 8. The First Round winners will then be re-seeded and travel to the top four seeds for a best-two-out-of-three Quarterfinal series, which will begin on Friday, March 15. The four winners will then travel to the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y. with the highest remaining seed facing the lowest remaining seed in the first semifinal, with the other two remaining seeds facing off in the second semifinal on Friday, March 22. The two semifinal winners will then face-off in the Championship game on Saturday, March 23 with the NCAA automatic berth on the line.
The Atlantic Hockey Association arose when nine institutions joined together on June 30, 2003, to form a new Division-I men’s ice hockey conference. The league currently consists of twelve members: Air Force Academy, American International College, Army, Bentley University, Canisius College, the University of Connecticut, the College of the Holy Cross, Mercyhurst University, Niagara University, Robert Morris University, Rochester Institute of Technology and Sacred Heart University.