How else to better explain USCHOâ€™s inaugural USCHO.com Division III menâ€™s hockey poll?
Eight different teams received first place votes, with six each having a lone supporter. The top two squads–Plattsburgh, last yearâ€™s top ranked team for much of the year and Neumann, the defending national champion–are separated by a mere eight points, with the Knights securing four more first place votes than the No. 1 Cardinals.
Universities hailing from Wisconsin–Stout and Superior–each received a first place vote and come in third and fourth, respectively, in the poll. The Hobart Statesmen (buoyed by their own first place vote) are fifth.
The Adrian Bulldogs, long a lightning rod for their exclusion from the national tournament, are finally on equally D-III footing this season with their conference (the MCHA) finally gaining an automatic bid to the national tournament. Recipients of one first place vote, Adrian is ranked sixth.
Rounding out the top 10 are Middlebury, Oswego (one first place vote), Amherst, and Gustavus Adolphus.
The St. Norbert Green Knights, hoping to rebound from a disappointing season (from their perspective) comes in at No. 11 while erstwhile powerhouse Manhattanville, despite receiving the only remaining first place vote, clocks in at No. 12.
St. Scholastica, Elmira, and Norwich round out the top 15.
Also receiving votes were the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Curry, Hamline, St. Thomas, Nichols, Babson, New England College, UW-Stevens Point, Castleton, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, St. Olaf, and Wentworth.