MINNEAPOLIS — Hockey coaches are fond of saying that it doesn’t matter if you are ranked No. 1 in the country during the season; only the team that is crowned national champion is truly satisfied at year’s end.
While titles are what everyone in all sports ultimately aspire to, there can also be little argument that being voted the top team in the country has much more meaning in March than it does October.
So it goes for the Norwich Cadets. Gracing the top spot in the D-III poll for the second consecutive week, Norwich earned five additional (now 16) first place votes, all siphoned off from second ranked Oswego, whose top tally total fell from seven to two while No. 3 St. Norbert received the same pair they also got last week.
Plattsburgh and Middlebury, both victors in their only contests last weekend, remained at fourth and fifth, respectively.
Voters were impressed enough with Gustavus Adolphus’ thrilling four overtime 6-5 win over Augsburg 5 to move the Gusties up one spot to sixth.
Ditto for the Bowdoin Polar Bears and their 2-1 extra session defeat over Colby. The win moved them up three spots in the standings to No. 7.
The Soaring Eagles are again on the rise after doubling up Neumann, 4-2, to advance to Saturday’s ECAC West championship game, where they will face off against new-No. 11 Manhattanville.
Dissimilar to the two teams above them who rose three spots, the St. Scholastica Saints were not nearly as fortunate, plummeting three positions after falling to No. 12 (then No. 15) the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, 6-3, in the NCHA semis.
The Bulldogs, too, finally earned some voter respect, despite not playing a game. They rose two spots to claim the final top 10 position.
Manhattanville was the third of four teams to jump up three spots in this week’s poll, after upending Hobart, 4-2, in the ECAC West semis. The Falcons semifinal win over the Saints offered similar rewards.
Tied for the biggest drop of the week, Williams College fell five spots to No. 13 after losing to unranked Hamilton at home in overtime, 2-1. Another overtime defeat — this courtesy of St. Thomas, 5-4 — also dropped Hamline five positions.