MINNEAPOLIS — Soon, it won’t matter what the Division III pollsters think. Until the NCAA tournament commences and the eventual champ is crowned, however, the Plattsburgh Cardinals are still enjoying the spotlight.
Remarkably, for the 13th consecutive poll they are the top team in D-III hockey. Despite defeating Brockport en route to the SUNYAC championship game, Plattsburgh did lose another first place vote to second ranked University of Wisconsin-Superior and now hold a 16-4 advantage.
With the additional top tally, the Yellowjackets–now 23-2-3 on the season–also climbed to within 12 points of the Cardinals in the poll.
Remaining at No. 3 after an impressive 3-2 win over then-fourth ranked St. Scholastica in the NCHA semifinals, UW-Stout advances to face Superior in a must-see showdown.
After defeating then-No. 7 Manhattanville in the ECAC West semis, 3-1, Hobart–who have only fallen once in their last 13 games–rose one spot to fourth. The Statesmen will face the unranked Neumann Knights in the conference championship game.
St. Scholastica, after its loss to UW-Stout, fell to fifth while Amherst remained at No. 6 by besting Tufts, 4-1. The Lord Jeffs now advance to the NESCAC semis, where they will face Trinity.
Getting some unusual love from the usually fickle voters, Adrian’s second consecutive MIAC championship–earned virtue of an 8-3 defeat of Marian and 7-1 blasting of the Milwaukee School of Engineering–improved their poll position two spots, landing the Bulldogs in seventh, their highest ranking in months.
Middlebury, though more to do with others around them playing poorly than any impressive victory on their part, also jumped up two rungs after defeating unranked Hamilton, 6-1. Manhattanville, meanwhile, fell down two spots to ninth, due to its loss to new-No. 4 Hobart.
Playoff-tested Oswego is also on the move again. Up two positions to No. 10, the Lakers now face their biggest test of the season: Plattsburgh in the SUNYAC final with an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on the line.
A 2-1 upset at home by Neumann clipped the Soaring Eagles wings, ushering Elmira out of the ECAC West playoffs and landing them firmly on the NCAA tournament bubble.
Similar sentiments are shared by defending national champion St. Norbert, whose 3-0 blanking at the hands of Superior could be the death knell for their plans to repeat.
Now 23-3-0 on the season, Nichols College continues to impress. By virtue of their 8-1 win over Westfield State, the Bison will now face Fitchburg State on Wednesday in the ECAC Northeast semis.
Finally, two new teams–Gustavus Adolphus and Curry–joined the top 15, replacing St. Olaf and Norwich.