Sept. 27, 2011
Notre Dame, Ind. - The Notre Dame Fighting Irish, fresh off a final 2010-11 ranking of fourth in the nation after a 25-14-5 season, open the 2011-12 campaign ranked first in the nation by USCHO.com and second in the USA Hockey/American Hockey Magazine's preseason rankings that were released on Monday.
This marks the first time in the program's 44-year history that the Irish have been ranked first in any preseason hockey poll. After advancing to the 2011 Frozen Four last April, Notre Dame was ranked fourth in both polls' final rankings.
In the USCHO.com poll, the Irish received 11 first-place votes and had a total of 740 points to take the top spot over Miami as the RedHawks had one more first-place vote (12), but only 722 points. North Dakota (720), Denver (670) and Boston College (659) round out the top five spots. North Dakota had five first-place votes, Boston College and Boston University had two each and Yale one. Last season's national champion - Minnesota-Duluth - had 10 first-place votes, but checked in with 586 points to rank eighth overall.
In the USA Today poll, Miami was first with 15 first-place votes and 453 points. Notre Dame was second with four first-place votes and 427 points. North Dakota (377), Denver (366) and Boston College (364) round out the top five in that poll. North Dakota and Boston University followed the Irish with three first-place votes, while Yale had two and Boston College one. Again, defending champion Minnesota-Duluth had six first-place mentions and was ranked 10th with 232 points.
This marks the sixth time in the program's history that the Irish have been ranked in the preseason polls. The previous times occurred prior to the start of the 1972-73 season (8th), the 1973-74 campaign (2nd), in 2007-08 (8th), 2008-09 (3rd), 2009-10 (5th) and 1st/2nd this season.
Notre Dame opens the 2011-12 season on Sunday, October 2 at 6:05 p.m. when the Irish play host to the Western Ontario Mustangs at the Joyce Center. The No. 1/2 ranking is then put on the line the following weekend, Oct. 7-8, when Notre Dame travels to Duluth, Minn., to face defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth in the regular-season opener at AMSOIL Arena. Game time both nights is 7:07 p.m. (CT).