Falcons are the Atlantic Hockey pick of coaches, media

Who says coaches and the media can’t agree on something?

When it comes to Atlantic Hockey preseason polling, they’re pretty close, and the team atop both polls is none other than Air Force. The Falcons received eight of 11 first-place votes in the coaches poll, released Tuesday, and 14 of 18 first-place votes in the media poll, released Friday.

In addition, Air Force, which plays host to the University of Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) in an exhibition on Monday night at 6 p.m., had two of the six members on the first-team AHC preseason all-star team – defenseman Phil Boje and forward Jordan Himley.

The Falcons (ranked 17th in the first USCHO.com poll of the season) are coming off one of the most successful seasons in their history, going 27-10-5, winning the AHC tournament title and reaching the NCAA Tournament’s final eight. They’re ranked first in the coaches’ preseason poll for the fourth time since 2008-09.

The Flight Path had one of 18 votes in the media poll this season, and in the interest of transparency, my voting and a brief analysis follows the coaches and media polls.

AHC preseason coaches poll

  1. Air Force (8 first-place votes, 97 points)
  2. Robert Morris (2, 87)
  3. Army (76)
  4. RIT (70)
  5. Canisius (1, 65)
  6. Holy Cross (58)
  7. Mercyhurst (52)
  8. Bentley (38)
  9. AIC (27)
  10. Sacred Heart (20)
  11. Niagara (15)

AHC preseason media poll

  1. Air Force (14, 193)
  2. Robert Morris (4, 180)
  3. Canisius (142)
  4. Army West Point (137)
  5. RIT (125)
  6. Mercyhurst (119)
  7. Holy Cross (105)
  8. Bentley (74)
  9. American International (49)
  10. Sacred Heart (39)
  11. Niagara (25)

The Flight Path’s voting in the polls

  1. Air Force – The Falcons have fantastic depth, just need to answer the goalie question.
  2. Robert Morris – Other than second-leading scorer Daniel Leavens, the Colonials return pretty much intact.
  3. Army West Point – The big loss is goalie Parker Gahagen, otherwise the Black Knights are positioned to contend again.
  4. Canisius – Goalie Charles Williams has graduated but the core of another contending team remains intact.
  5. RIT – Another team that has to replace a goalie. The Tigers are hoping for better health.
  6. Mercyhurst – The Lakers lost a few forwards but otherwise should be in the hunt.
  7. Holy Cross – Other than replacing second-leading scorer Mike Barrett, Holy Cross returns nearly the same team.
  8. Bentley – The “other” Falcons lost do-everything forward Max French but not much else.
  9. AIC – The Yellow Jackets were very young last season and should be improved this time around.
  10. Niagara – The rebuild is on, and several forwards need to be replaced.
  11. Sacred Heart – Lost four of its top five scorers.

AHC preseason media all-star teams

First team

F – Brady Ferguson (RMU), Jordan Himley (Air Force), Alex Tonge (RMU)

D – Phil Boje (Air Force), Les Lancaster (Mercyhurst)

G – Francis Marotte (RMU)

Second team

F – Ryan Schmelzer (Canisius), Derek Barach (Mercyhurst), Kyle Schmidt (Bentley)

D – Brady Norrish (RIT), Eric Israel (RMU)

G – Aidan Pelino (Bentley)

The Flight Path’s all-star team voting

First team

F – Fergson, Himley and Schmelzer

D – Boje and Lancaster

G – Marotte

*also nominated Kyle Haak

Click on their class to go inside the numbers for Air Force’s seniors, juniors and sophomores

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