MINNEAPOLIS — Norwich held onto the top spot in this week’s USCHO.com Division III Men’s Poll, but after that, things got significantly more interesting. Two teams, RIT and St. Norbert, finished tied for the No. 2 slot, while No. 4 Wis.-Superior, the defending national champion, got more first-place votes than either No. 2 winners and finished just a point behind.
Four games this weekend saw the ECAC West and the NCHA trade blows to teams from the other conference, as RIT won its two games of the weekend, downing NCHA-member Wis.-Eau Claire by 9-1 and 11-2 scores. St. Norbert returned the favor to ECAC West-member no. 12 Elmira, sweeping the Soaring Eagles, 6-2 and 8-2. The two winning teams finished knotted at 197 points and finished tied at No. 2 in the rankings.
Wis.-Superior, the other team receiving first-place votes, played just one game this weekend, but voter confidence in the Yellowjackets was shaken as they just managed to eke out a 4-3 win over St. Scholastica, last year’s NCHA cellar-dweller.
Wentworth appears in the poll for the first time this season as the No. 15 team. The Leopards have not played a game this year, but managed to climb into the ranking this week as last week’s No. 12 team, Oswego, dropped a 5-2 decision to Utica and fell out the top 15.
Next weekend conference play gets underway in earnest for four of the eight Division III conferences. Highlights include an early-season showdown in the NCHA as No. 2 St. Norbert visits No. 4 Wis.-Superior on Friday night. We’ll also get a clearer picture on the status of the MIAC, as No. 7 St. Thomas and No. 14 Gustavus Adolphus play a home-and-home series on Friday and Saturday.
The USCHO.com Poll is compiled by U.S. College Hockey Online, and consists of 15 voters, including coaches and beat writers from across the country.