The University of North Dakota has been selected to capture a third straight Penrose Cup as National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) regular-season champion, according to the league’s annual preseason media poll released on Wednesday afternoon.
North Dakota won a second straight league title last season (19-4-1) en route to the program’s eighth NCAA Division I men’s hockey championship. The Fighting Hawks return 18 letterwinners under second-year head coach Brad Berry, including a pair of NCHC Preseason All-Conference Team selections in junior goaltender Cam Johnson and sophomore forward Brock Boeser.
UND garnered 25 of a possible 30 first-place votes, totaling 235 points. Denver, which fell to UND in last year’s Frozen Four semifinal, was second in the vote and grabbed three first-place nods. Minnesota Duluth garnered the remaining two first-place votes and was chosen third.
UND will open the 2016-17 season on Saturday, Oct. 1, with an exhibition game against the University of Manitoba and will raise its national championship banner in a pre-game ceremony.
2016-17 NCHC Preseason Media Poll
1. North Dakota – 235 points (25 first-place votes)
2. Denver – 200 (3)
3. Minnesota Duluth – 173 (2)
4. St. Cloud State – 155
5. Omaha – 119
6. Miami – 96
7. Western Michigan – 65
8. Colorado College – 37