BOSTON – The University of Maine men’s hockey team earned the No. 2 ranking in the Hockey East men’s preseason coaches poll, released this morning at the Hockey East media day at TD Garden.

Maine is second in the preseason poll behind Boston College, the defending national champion, and ahead of New Hampshire.

The Black Bears are ranked No. 7 nationally in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine preseason top 15 poll, released Monday.

“It wasn’t really a big surprise,” Maine Coach Tim Whitehead said. “It’s nice to have earned some respect last year down the stretch but it doesn’t mean anything until the puck’s dropped. It’s good recognition for the program. We feel we’ve taken some steps in the right direction but this is an opportunity this year to take another step.”

HOCKEY EAST MEN’S PRESEASON COACHES POLL

First-place votes in parentheses

  1. Boston College (9) – 90
  2. Maine (1) – 80
  3. New Hampshire – 76
  4. Boston University – 59
  5. Northeastern – 54
  6. Vermont – 53
  7. Merrimack – 48
  8. UMass-Lowell – 33
  9. Massachusetts – 26
  10. Providence – 21

Maine opens the season Oct. 8 against UMass-Lowell at Alfond Arena in Orono.