Soaring Eagles Fly High

Elmira is a wingman no more. After playing second fiddle to St. Norbert for a good six weeks, the Soaring Eagles parlayed three wins into 16 first place votes (nearly completely reversing the margin of 17-3 enjoyed last week by the Green Knights) and D-III’s number one ranking — a fitting perch for the nation’s only undefeated team.

Four voters did not think St. Norbert’s weekend — a 3-0 blanking of UW-Eau Claire and a 2-2 tie with UW-Stevens Points — merited such a demotion. Winners of their last seven, Plattsburgh earned four more points, closing the margin between second and third place to 14.

The fourth and fifth teams, Manhattanville (13-3-1) and Middlebury (13-2-1), have now combined to win 14 games in a row. The latter’s streak — 10 straight; they haven’t lost since Dec. 1 — is eye-popping.

After besting UW-Superior and falling to St. Scholastica in overtime, UW-River Falls slipped two spots to sixth.

Equally hot as Manhattanville and Middlebury is Norwich. Outscoring opponents Trinity and Wesleyan, 11-2, the seventh ranked Cadets have won six in a row and are now 14-3 on the season with all three losses coming to ranked teams (two to No. 3 Plattsburgh and their season opener, an 8-3 defeat at No. 14 Southern Maine).

Formerly sixth ranked St. Thomas fell to eighth after splitting a series with Gustavus Adolphus.

The biggest ascension this week goes to Bowdoin. Capitalizing on inconsistent play above them and two hard-fought victories — 3-2 over Conn. College 2 and 4-2 over Tufts — the Polar Bears rose three spots to ninth. After a sweep at the hands of new-No. 4 Manhattanville, Hobart fell two rungs to No. 10 on the D-III ladder.

Similar to last week, teams 11 through 15 are a consistent jumble, the constant ebb-and-flow emanating from multiple factors including teams playing the more difficult parts of their schedules and the heightened intensity with the postseason fast approaching.

Adrian, Division III’s new juggernaut, might be the exception to that rule, however. Just two weeks after bounding onto the poll at No. 15, the Bulldogs, winners of 10 straight, have climbed two spots for the second week in a row. Of course, when you outscore your opponent 25-1 — including an 18-1 walloping on Friday just six days after putting up another 14 goals — pollsters are likely to be impressed.

University of Wisconsin-Stout fell two spots to No. 12 while Babson, by virtue of its 2-1 weekend (including a triumph over then-No. 11 Southern Maine) ascended one spot. Defending national champion Oswego and the aforementioned Huskies each earned 44 points, good for a tie for No. 14 nationally.

For the second straight week no new teams entered the top 15.