The St. Norbert men's hockey team enters the 2017-18 season ranked No. 1 in the USCHO poll which to them, means absolutely nothing.
"We understand what the polls mean at this time of year and it isn't very much," head coach Tim Coghlin said.
"I don't know how you could enter a year with ten freshman and be the number one ranked team in the nation. That tells you about all you need to know."
The Knights are much younger than in years past but they also return a lot of familiar faces including seven defenseman, All-American goaltender T.J. Black and last year's leading goal scorer Tanner Froese.
"I think we're in a pretty good spot right now," Froese said. The senior forward scored 13 goals and nine assists last year as a junior.
"We have the core of our group coming back from last year and now it's just basically filling in the spots. I think we have a lot of good young guys that can do that for us."
St. Norbert is in search of it's fifth NCAA DIII National Championship. The last title they won was in 2014, but everyone from that team has since graduated after last year.
"This is really the first time we've had nobody wearing rings national championship rings in our locker room for a while," Coach Coghlin said. "It's just a fresh start."
SNC has come awfully close to another ring the past two seasons. The Knights made it to the Frozen Four last year and lost in the national championship game in 2016.
"Just getting there is not enough, it takes the extra push to get over the hump and win a national championship," De Pere native and St. Norbert forward Riley Christensen said. "It's up to us to show the new guys that haven't been there before what it takes every day and that starts in practice."
St. Norbert opens the season on Friday, November 3 at home against Concordia University Wisconsin. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.