Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- The defending NCAA champion UMD men's hockey team set out in defense of that title on Saturday morning, with the first official team practice at AMSOIL Arena.
The Bulldogs are ranked #8 in the nation in the preseason U.S. College Hockey Online poll, and were picked to finish fifth in the WCHA in the preseason coaches poll.
Sunday, October 2 will mark UMD's first game of the 2011-12 season, an exhibition at home against Lakehead University.
That, and all the men's home games this season, can be seen live in the Northland on the My 9 Sports Network.
Players said this weekend they are excited to finally be back to playing hockey, and for the start of this new season.
"It was a great summer. We got to celebrate that championship and hold onto that for a while, but it's a new year," Bulldogs senior captain Jack Connolly said. "Guys are excited and ready to play some games. We've had quite a few [captains] practices so far, so I think guys are getting a little sick of playing against each other. It'll be nice to get into the game this weekend and see how we do."
"We're trying to get back after it," UMD freshman defenseman Luke McManus said. "Every day you come to rink, you know you're one day closer to starting the regular season. We have that first game, that exhibition game on Sunday, and after that we jump right into it. It's been exciting these past couple weeks, and we're ready to get after it now."
"It's a real exciting time," Bulldogs freshman forward Caleb Herbert said. "I know all the guys are looking forward to getting together on Sunday as a team, putting together what we've been working on, and seeing where we are as a team before the season gets underway."
Posted by Zach Schneider