MINNEAPOLIS — Under an odd set of circumstances, North Dakota held on to the No. 1 spot in the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll despite not winning either of two games this weekend. North Dakota faced its strongest opponent of the year, Colorado College, in Grand Forks. The two teams battled to a 4-4 stalemate both nights, and so North Dakota stayed No. 1 while the Tigers moved up one spot to No. 2.
The No. 2 spot was available because last week’s No. 2 team, Maine, dropped a 4-2 decision to unranked Providence. After starting the season with a 7-0-0 run, the Friars were mired in a 2-6-1 slump before the win over the Black Bears. Maine rebounded to win a game against Mass.-Lowell on Saturday, and only fell as far as No. 3.
No. 4 Cornell earned two wins on a difficult trip through the North Country, downing St. Lawrence and Clarkson by identical 3-2 scores. Each of the top four teams received first place votes.
Two new teams appear in this week’s poll, Dartmouth at No. 14 and Massachusetts at No. 15.
Dartmouth used a win over Vermont to improve to 9-4-0 on the season, and sports impressive wins over ranked programs Boston College and Cornell.
Massachusetts has been flirting with the bottom of the poll for several weeks now, and with a weekend sweep of No. 10 Boston College and Providence manages to crack the top 15. The Minutemen play a home-and-home series with Merrimack this weekend.
Most of the top 15 teams see action this weekend, highlighted by No. 7 Minnesota hosting No. 1 North Dakota for a pair of games. Up-and-coming St. Cloud travels to No. 6 Denver for a two game set, and hard luck losers Mass.-Lowell, owners of a 0-8-0 Hockey East record despite out-shooting opponents in each of those eight games, attempts to get on track with a home-and-home set with No. 10 Boston College.
The USCHO.com Poll is compiled by U.S. College Hockey Online, and consists of 40 voters, including 28 coaches from the Division I conferences and 12 beat writers from across the country. The poll is published weekly by the Associated Press.