UND ranked No. 4 in first preseason national poll
The Fighting Hawks open the season with a home exhibition game against the University of Manitoba on Oct. 1.
GRAND FORKS — UND will start the men's hockey season ranked in the top five nationally.
The Fighting Hawks checked in at No. 4 in the first USCHO national preseason poll, which was released Monday.
Defending NCAA national champion Denver will start the year at No. 1, followed by NCAA Frozen Four squads Minnesota and Minnesota State-Mankato.
No. 4 UND is followed by No. 5 Minnesota Duluth, No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 Quinnipiac, No. 8 Northeastern, No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 10 UMass.
Other National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams in the top 20 are St. Cloud State (No. 13) and Western Michigan (No. 14). Omaha (receiving votes), Colorado College and Miami are unranked.
There will be no easing into the schedule for UND.
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The Fighting Hawks will play two of the top seven teams in the country during the season's first three weeks.
After opening with unranked Holy Cross, UND hosts No. 7 Quinnipiac before traveling to No. 2 Minnesota. The Fighting Hawks split with both Quinnipiac and Minnesota last season.
UND enters the season in pursuit of a fourth-straight Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champions. The Fighting Hawks shared the title with Denver last season and won it outright in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
UND has several key players returning to the lineup, including forward Riese Gaber, forward Judd Caulfield, defenseman Tyler Kleven and defenseman Ethan Frisch.
The Fighting Hawks also brought in three transfers — goalie Drew DeRidder and defenders Ty Farmer and Ryan Sidorski — and four NHL draft pick rookie forwards in Jackson Blake (Carolina Hurricanes), Owen McLaughlin (Philadelphia Flyers), Ben Strinden (Nashville Predators) and Dylan James (Detroit Red Wings).
USCHO preseason poll
1. Denver (37 first-place votes), 974 points
2. Minnesota (8), 914
3. MSU-Mankato (3), 826
4. North Dakota, 787
5. Minnesota Duluth, 748
6. Michigan (2), 680
7. Quinnipiac, 669
8. Northeastern, 641
9. Notre Dame, 588
10. UMass, 520
11. Harvard, 455
12. Boston University, 396
13. St. Cloud State, 386
14. Western Michigan, 333
15. Providence, 283
16. Ohio State, 225
17. UMass Lowell, 220
18. Clarkson, 189
19. Cornell, 118
20. Michigan Tech, 90
Also receiving votes: Boston College 72, Penn State 65, UConn 62, Northern Michigan 61, Bemidji State 40, American International 39, Arizona State 29, Bowling Green 15, Maine 15, Omaha 15, Wisconsin 15, Colgate 10, Sacred Heart 7, Merrimack 6, Air Force 5, Brown 1, Canisius 1