Seven, count them seven, of the 11 Hockey East teams picked up votes in the USCHO preseason poll released this week.
That means with 39 teams receiving votes this week, Maine ranks in the bottom 20 in the country (along with Northeastern, Amherst and Vermont).
In comparison to the coaches poll, USCHO gave a sizable edge to Lowell over BC (they were both picked first in Hockey East) with the River Hawks grabbing the No. 1 spot in the country and the Eagles the fourth position.
Notre Dame and UNH, tied for third in the Hockey East poll, came in six slots apart — the Irish debut at seventh and the Wildcats at 13th.
Providence picked up the 14th slot, and Jack Parker-less Boston University appears in the 19th spot. Merrimack received just two votes in the poll — tied for 39th.
For the record, the last time Maine received votes in the USCHO poll was Oct. 15, 2012. The last time they appeared in the top 20 was Oct. 8 of last season.
Once the Black Bears get through this weekend’s exhibition against Dalhousie, they’ll travel to St. Lawrence, who isn’t ranked but has one of the nation’s top forwards.