BOSTON — Hockey East coaches picked the University of Maine to finish in last place this season, according to a poll released Tuesday during the league’s annual media day at TD Garden.

“It is what it is,” Maine Coach Red Gendron said with a shrug. “I really don’t care.”

Maine, once a perennial NCAA playoff team, has been rebuilding under Gendron, now in his fourth year. The Black Bears finished 11th among the 12 Hockey East teams last season, with a 5-15 conference mark (8-24-6 overall).

Boston University was predicted to finish first, followed by Northeastern and Notre Dame in a tie for second. UMass-Lowell was picked fourth.

“I don’t think coaches like polls. They think they’re either too high or too low,” said Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna.

While being picked last is humbling, being chosen for the top can be heady. BU received 10 of 12 first-place votes.

“No matter what people say, you still have to go out and play hockey.” said Terriers Coach David Quinn. “At the first the team meeting, I said, ‘I’m sick and tired of hearing how good we’re going to be.'”

Gendron is not hearing those things. But he believes his team will bounce back from one of the worst seasons in Maine history.

“We look pretty good,” he said. “We have a lot of freshmen, but we have talented freshmen.”

Among the 10 first-year players Gendron recruited are three NHL draft picks – forwards Chase Pearson and Patrick Shea, and defenseman Patrick Holway.

Maine’s senior captains are forwards Cam Brown and Blaine Byron and defenseman Eric Schurhamer.

Maine lost four of the top six scorers from last year’s team. Byron led the team in scoring with 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists). Brown was third with 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists)

“I really love the players we have coming back,” Gendron said.

Among the returning players are the goalie tandem of senior Matt Morris and sophomore Rob McGovern. Gendron said freshman Stephen Mundinger, who is 6-foot-8, will compete for playing time.

The Black Bears play an exhibition game at 4 p.m. Sunday at Alfond Arena, against St. Francis Xavier of Nova Scotia. Maine opens its regular season the following weekend, Oct. 7-8 at home, against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Both games are at 7 p.m.

Maine will play three games at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland – Nov. 4 (Boston College), Nov. 26 (Brown) and Feb. 10 (Notre Dame). Maine also will play at Fenway Park Jan. 14, against Connecticut.

In the Hockey East poll, the order of voting after the top four teams were: Providence, Boston College, Connecticut, Vermont, Merrimack, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine.

Notre Dame is in its final season in the league. The Fighting Irish, who joined Hockey East in 2013 as the only school not based in New England, will join the Big Ten Conference – for hockey only – next year.

Hockey East has not announced which school – if any – will replace Notre Dame. Among the schools speculated as possible replacements are Quinnipiac and Holy Cross.

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