Oh, come on. You didn’t think anybody else would be #1, did you? Chapman hasn’t lost a game since 2015, and that loss came in the national semifinals to that year’s national champion. This team performed as a consistent powerhouse last year, routinely dominating teams that would end up joining them at nationals. They won three games by one goal, proving they could win in crunch time.
Blowout wins? Check. Comeback wins? Check. Overtime win? Check. There is nothing that this team didn’t do last year, except lose.
Headed into 2017, there’s no reason they can’t do the same exact thing. Start with the reigning Player of the Year, which Chapman returns in Dylan Garner. He’s joined on offense by attackman Wesley Greason (1st team All-American) in what should remain one of the best offenses in the nation.
The defense will be led by Nicky Mullen (1st team All-American) and, though the Panthers will need to replace their goalie, the defense shows few holes on paper.
Regardless of how the Panthers look for 2017, though, there’s no way that the reigning national champions, who won’t have lost a game in nearly two years when they finally take the field again in 2017, can be picked as anything less than the preseason #1.
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So, what do you think? Is one of the teams above your 2017 national champions, or is the national champion lurking outside this list? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments, or on twitter!