With Wins, North Dakota Still First

With two impressive wins over Canisius, 6-0 and 8-2, North Dakota maintained its grip on first place in this week’s USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll. North Dakota is the winner of five straight games, and has not lost a game since early November.

No. 2 Maine made some strides toward the No. 1 spot, however, after defeating No. 12 Harvard on Sunday following on the heels of a win over Iona on Friday. Maine picked up an additional seven first-place votes to finish with 14. The Black Bears trail North Dakota by just 11 points in the overall poll standings.

Cornell reached No. 3, the highest spot attained this year. The Big Red didn’t play, but last week’s No. 3 team, Colorado College, dropped a spot after splitting a two-game series with unranked Minnesota State.

Many teams in the top 15 started the holiday break early, and are off until December 27th, although a few did see action. No. 12 Harvard earned a 2-2 tie with No. 6 Boston College last Wednesday, and Denver fell to No. 9 after a tie and a loss at St. Cloud State. No. 11 Ohio State climbed up one place following a sweep over conference foe Nebraska-Omaha.

After only a handful of games next weekend, action picks up again with the traditional New Years Tournaments starting on the weekend of December 27th. No. 2 Maine meets No. 3 Cornell in the first round of the Everblades College Classic in Florida, while No. 12 Ohio State and receiving votes Massachusetts meet in the other semifinal, in what may be the toughest field of any of the holiday tournaments.

The Denver Cup boasts an impressive field this year also, with No. 13 Miami squaring off with No. 9 Denver in one bracket, and No. 5 New Hampshire and Clarkson in the other. The Dodge Holiday Classic in Minneapolis counts host Minnesota, currently at No. 7, and No. 6 Boston College as participants. No. 10 Michigan and No. 14 Boston University are both taking part in this year’s Great Lakes Invitational, paired with Michigan Tech and Michigan State, respectively.

The next poll will be compiled following these tournaments, on Monday, December 30th.

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.