North Dakota Team To Beat In Poll

North Dakota captured first place in the Division I Men’s Poll for the second consecutive week. The Fighting Sioux played St. Cloud State, the only team to hand North Dakota a loss this season, twice this weekend. With 4-3 and 5-4 victories, North Dakota improved to 14-1-1 and has not lost in nine straight games.

Second place in the poll is Maine, with seven first-place votes. Maine had an impressive weekend, earning a win and a tie on the road against No. 6 Boston College. The Black Bears have only lost once this season, an early-season game to No. 3 Colorado College.

Colorado also had an impressive weekend in a sweep of in-state rival Denver, which is ranked seventh this week. The Tigers sit atop the WCHA standings, just one point ahead of North Dakota.

Making a dramatic move this week is new No. 4 Cornell. The Big Red climbed three spots with two wins over Western Michigan, including a dramatic, come-from-behind overtime victory Saturday, combined with the losses by New Hampshire, Boston College and Denver.

Reappearing in this week’s poll is Northern Michigan, which enters tied at No. 14 after a six-week absence. The Wildcats delivered a statement with a weekend sweep over No. 10 Michigan, which had only lost two games this season before the two-game set Friday and Saturday.

Many teams gear down for an extended holiday break, which makes for a limited schedule next week. There is still some punch, however, particularly with No. 11 Harvard facing its biggest test of the year with a Tuesday game against Boston College followed with a game in Portland with No. 2 Maine on Sunday.

The 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.