Steady As She Goes: Minnesota Again Heads Up Networks Poll

A decisive sweep of Alaska-Anchorage in the first round of the WCHA playoffs kept Minnesota at No. 1 in the Networks Division I men’s poll for a sixth straight week Monday.

The Gophers again received 39 of 40 first-place votes, followed by Miami, which swept away Western Michigan in the CCHA quarterfinals, at No. 2. Wisconsin, which won its own playoff series in two games against Michigan Tech, was third with the remaining first-place vote

Coming in fourth this week was Boston University, which beat Massachusetts two straight games to move into the Hockey East semifinals, but still switched places with the Badgers in the rankings. At No. 5 was Michigan State, which needed three games to topple Alaska-Fairbanks last weekend.

Maine came in sixth with a sweep of Massachusetts-Lowell, followed by No. 7 Cornell. The Big Red used double overtime twice to get by Clarkson in the ECACHL quarterfinals.

No. 8 was North Dakota, which moved up two spots after a three-game playoff series win over Minnesota State, while ninth-place New Hampshire jumped up four positions with its sweep of Providence. Finishing up the top 10 was Boston College, which rebounded four places by sweeping Vermont.

The next 10 teams in the poll were headed by Michigan, up four places to No. 11 after two straight wins over Ferris State. Harvard was No. 12 after a three-game series win over St. Lawrence, followed by Colorado College, which lost a three-game playoff to St. Cloud State.

The biggest drop was experienced by two-time defending national champion Denver, which lost its WCHA first-round series to Minnesota-Duluth and is now at risk of sitting out the NCAA tournament. The Pioneers fell six spots to No. 14 this week. Dartmouth, which beat Yale in two games, was No. 15.

Northern Michigan came in at No. 16 after sweeping Nebraska-Omaha last weekend to advance in the CCHA playoffs, followed by Colgate at No. 17 after the Raiders’ three-game win over Quinnipiac. St. Cloud State was No. 18, followed by Nebraska-Omaha.

Two teams tied for No. 20 in Monday’s results: Bemidji State, which sealed an NCAA tournament bid with a win over Niagara in the CHA championship game, and Holy Cross, which beat American International to reach the Atlantic Hockey semifinals.

Dropping out of this week’s poll was Ferris State.