With a triumphant sweep over in-state rival Denver, Colorado College captured the majority of the first-place votes in this week’s USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll. The Tigers finished first with 593 points and enters next weekend with the No. 1 seed in the WCHA playoffs and will face Alaska-Anchorage. Colorado College is also first in the USCHO.com Pairwise Rankings (PWR) which charts NCAA selection criteria.
Cornell, which stands at No. 2 in both the poll and the PWR, was idle this weekend. The Big Red had a bye for the first round of the ECAC playoffs, but will face Rensselaer next weekend in the quarterfinals.
The No. 3 Wildcats of New Hampshire advanced to the semifinals of the Hockey East tournament at the FleetCenter next Friday after defeating Mass.-Lowell in two games this weekend. New Hampshire will face upset winner Massachusetts, which toppled No. 9 Maine in a pair of games in Orono Thursday and Friday.
The CCHA regular season champion, Ferris State, finishes at No. 4 in the poll and No. 8 in the PWR. The Bulldogs downed Bowling Green twice and finished with a six point lead in the conference standings. Ferris will host Lake Superior in the CCHA First Round, beginning Friday.
Boston College rounds out the poll’s top five. The Eagles were involved in a tragedy this weekend, as BC’s Pat Eaves inadvertently collided with Merrimack goalie Joe Exter in a race for the puck, sending Exter to the hospital with a fractured skull on Friday evening. Exter remains in a coma, and Eaves will continue to serve a five game suspension when BC faces Beantown rival Boston University on Friday in the Hockey East semifinals. Friday was Eaves’ first game back following a spinal injury that left him sidelined since December.
At No. 14, Michigan State makes its first appearance in the poll since November 4th, 2002, when the Spartans were ranked thirteenth. MSU finished fourth in the CCHA, and is 13-4-1 in its last 18 games, including two wins over No. 7 Michigan. The Spartans will play Alaska-Fairbanks in the first round of the CCHA tournament on Friday.
Next weekend, most leagues will just be getting underway with their tournaments, and so match-ups between ranked opponents are few and far between. The only one outside of Hockey East is No. 11 North Dakota, which hosts No. 14 Denver for a best of three series in the WCHA.
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.