WALTHAM, Mass. – The Atlantic Hockey Association released its 2011-12 coaches poll on Tuesday as part of the league's annual media day in Rochester, N.Y. The Falcons were picked to finish tenth, while RIT topped the poll followed closely by Air Force.
When Bentley takes the ice for its season-opener at Michigan on Oct. 7, they'll have 19 players back from last year's squad and six freshmen joining the ranks. Six of the top-eight goal scorers from 2010-11 return, led by sophomore Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms) and juniors Joe Campanelli (Pierrefonds, Quebec/Westminster Prep) and Brett Hartung (Tallahassee, Fla./Wichita Falls Wildcats).
All six defensemen return, headlined by seniors Trent Bonnett (Butler, Pa./Mahoning Valley Phantoms), Mike Switzer (Calgary, Alberta/Olds Grizzlys) and Ryan Kayfes (Maple Grove, Minn./Fairbanks Ice Dogs). Senior Kyle Rank (Islip, N.Y./Markham Waxers) and sophomore Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Herron) return in net.
RIT came in just ahead of Air Force atop the poll, earning 113 points to Air Force's 112, and both teams received five first place votes. Holy Cross was voted third with 103 points and garnered the other two first place votes, while Niagara (89 points) and UConn (79 points) make up the rest of the top-five.
The remainder of the poll has Robert Morris sixth (70 points), Mercyhurst seventh (59 points), Army eighth (51 points), Canisius ninth (42 points), Bentley 10th (41 points), Sacred Heart 11th (20 points) and AIC 12th (13 points).