MINNEAPOLIS — Colorado College advanced to the WCHA Final Five by defeating Alaska-Anchorage in two games this weekend, and held onto the top spot in both the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll and the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Pairwise Rankings (PWR). The Tigers received 35 of 40 first-place votes, and will face the winner of the No. 11 North Dakota vs. No. 15 Minnesota-Duluth play-in game.
Minnesota-Duluth makes it’s first appearance in the top 15 this season after skating to a 18-13-5 regular season record and eliminating St. Cloud State in the first round of the WCHA Postseason Tournament. UMD needed a decisive third game to down the pesky Huskies.
No. 2 Cornell needed just two games against Rensselaer to advance to the ECAC semifinals, where the Big Red will face off against five seed Brown on Friday night. With a pair of wins, Cornell would earn the ECAC automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, although its No. 2 ranking in the PWR virtually guarantees an at-large bid should the Big Red lose this weekend.
New Hampshire doesn’t need an at-large bid, however, after defeating No. 7 Boston University 1-0 in overtime in the Hockey East tournament on Saturday and capturing the first awarded automatic bid of the season. The Wildcats needed over 70 minutes of game time to put a single puck past Tournament MVP Sean Fields, in goal for BU. Despite the loss, the Terriers sit at No. 4 in the PWR and have a chance at a No. 1 seed when the NCAA selections are announced this Sunday at 5:30 pm on ESPN.
Ferris State maintained its No. 4 poll position with two wins over Lake Superior State in the first round of the CCHA playoffs. FSU will face either No. 14 Michigan State of Northern Michigan in the CCHA semifinals. The Bulldogs are tied for fifth in the PWR and might catch BU for that last No. 1 seed if they win the CCHA Tournament.
Rounding out the top five in the poll is Minnesota, which defeated Michigan Tech twice to advance to the WCHA Final Five, where the Gophers will meet No. 9 MSU-Mankato on Friday night, with the winner to take their place in the championship game.
The ECAC, WCHA, CCHA and MAAC all wrap up their conference tournaments this weekend, with NCAA Regional play to begin the following weekend. The winners of each conference will join New Hampshire and Wayne State as automatic berth winners, and will be seeded with ten at-large bid teams to make up the 16 team tournament.
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.
The PairWise Ranking is a system which attempts to mimic the method used by the NCAA Selection Committee to determine participants for the NCAA Division I men’s hockey tournament. The PWR compares teams with a Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) at or above .500, judging them by four criteria: record against common opponents, head to head competition, record against other teams with RPIs at or above .500, and the RPI.
The PWR can be reformatted and redistributed by any media outlet or person, provided USCHO’s URL (http://www.uscho.com/) accompanies the results.