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Hockey East: What to expect this season

Veteran New Hampshire coach Dick Umile is only one away from the magic 500-win milestone.

file/jim davis/globe staff

Veteran New Hampshire coach Dick Umile is only one away from the magic 500-win milestone.

In order of predicted finish (with last season’s record and finish):

1. BOSTON COLLEGE (33-10-1, 1st)

 Top returnees: G Parker Milner 29-5-0, 1.66 GAA, .937 save percentage; F Pat Mullane 10-29-39, F Johnny Gaudreau, 21-23-44.

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 Top newcomer: D Michael Matheson, Hometown: Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Last year’s team — Dubuque (USHL).

 Outlook: Repeating as NCAA champions is never easy but the Eagles have proved they are a force to be reckoned with nearly every season and this will be no exception.

2. UMASS-LOWELL (24-13-1, 3d)

 Top returnees: F Scott Wilson 16-22-38, F Riley Wetmore 14-25-39, G Doug Carr, 22-10-1, .928, 2.13.

 Top newcomer: F Adam Chapie, Hometown: Oxford, Mich., Last year’s team – New Mexico (NAHL)

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 Outlook: Second-year coach Norm Bazin has the River Hawks moving in the right direction. An impressive first campaign only will serve to fuel the 2012-13 season.

3. BOSTON UNIVERSITY (23-13-1, 2d)

 Top returnees: F Wade Megan 20-9-29, F Matt Nieto 16-26-42, D Garrett Noonan 16-11-27.

 Top newcomer: F Sam Kurker, Hometown: Reading, Mass. Last year’s team — St. John’s Prep.

 Outlook: Despite how well last season ended for the Terriers, the program was rocked by scandal during the second half. Coach Jack Parker, in his 40th season, has committed to following the task force’s recommendations for change.

4. NEW HAMPSHIRE (15-19-3, 6th)

 Top returnees: G Casey DeSmith 9-10-1, .926, 2.33, F Nick Sorkin 9-26-35, D Trevor van Riemsdyk 4-15-19.

 Top newcomer: D Brett Pesce, Hometown: Tarrytown, N.Y. Last year’s team — Jersey Hitmen (EJHL).

 Outlook: Veteran coach Dick Umile is one win shy of 500. The Wildcats hope to parlay a strong second half into a consistent campaign this year and they have the talent and experience to do so.

5. MERRIMACK (18-12-7, 5th)

 Top returnees: D Jordan Heywood, 4-15-19, F Mike Collins, 10-15-25, D Kyle Bigos, 4-13-17.

 Top newcomer: F Justin Hussar, Hometown: Lancaster, N.Y., Last year’s team — Des Moines (USHL).

 Outlook: The Warriors lost a lot of important talent from the roster: MVP goaltender Joe Cannata, top two scorers Ryan Flanigan and Jesse Todd, and yeoman blueliner Kyle Stollery. Coach Mark Dennehy and his staff have a strong core group, particularly on defense, but scoring may prove a challenge.

6. NORTHEASTERN (13-16-5, 9th)

 Top returnees: G Chris Rawlings, 12-14-5, 2.71, .916, F Ludwig Karlsson, 10-16-26, F Garrett Vermeersch, 10-14-24.

 Top newcomer: F Kevin Roy, Hometown: Lac-Beauport, Que. Last year’s team — Lincoln (USHL).

 Outlook: There are more new faces than old ones in the Huskies’ dressing room but coach Jim Madigan is closer to putting his own stamp on the team. As Rawlings goes, so go the Huskies, but look for Roy to make a splash as a rookie.

7. PROVIDENCE (14-19-4, 7th)

 Top returnees: F Ross Mauermann, 10-15-25, F Tim Schaller, 14-7-21, D Myles Harvey 7-10-17.

 Top newcomer: F Mark Jankowski. Hometown: St. Catherine’s, Ont. Last year’s team — Stanstead College Prep.

 Outlook: Coach Nate Leaman enters his second season, and it was clear from his first that the bench boss knows how to mold a program. Look for more progress from the Friars, and expect Jankowski to be noticeable early.

8. MAINE (24-13-3, 4th)

 Top returnees: G Dan Sullivan, 22-11-3, 2.59, .909, F Joey Diamond, 22-25-47, F Kyle Beattie, 6-21-27.

 Top newcomer: F Devin Shore, Hometown: Ajax, Ont. Last year’s team – Whitby (OJHL).

 Outlook: The Black Bears lost four of their top five scorers from last season, so offense will be more challenging, but the team has a strong blue line corps and excellent goaltending to fall back on.

9. UMASS (13-18-5, 8th)

 Top returnees: F Conor Sheary 12-23-35, F Michael Pereira 17-17-34, D Joel Hanley 7-18-25.

 Top newcomer: D Connor Doherty, Hometown: Holden, Mass. Last year’s team — Junior Bruins (EJHL).

 Outlook: Long-time coach Don Cahoon has moved on and new coach John Micheletto has stepped in. It looks to be a rebuilding year for the Minutemen.

10. VERMONT (6-27-1, 10th)

 Top returnees: F Kyle Reynolds, 10-13-23, Connor Brickley, 9-3-12, Chris McCarthy, 1-3-4.

 Top newcomer: F Jonathan Turk, Hometown: Calgary, Alberta. Last year’s team — Okotoks (AJHL).

 Outlook: The Catamounts are very young, with 15 players who are either freshmen or sophomores, and there is very little experience in goal. Could be a challenging season for coach Kevin Sneddon.

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