Lakers reach No. 1 in nation

As of Nov. 29, the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team is back atop the USCHO.com Division III Men’s Poll, receiving 17 of 20 possible first-place votes. The 9-0-0 Lakers return to the No. 1 position after vacating the top spot on Feb. 22 of last year.

Last year, the Lakers held the No. 1 ranking for 10 straight polls and received all 20 first-place votes on three occasions. A loss at SUNY Geneseo in the final regular season game cost the Lakers their ‘top dog’ status. They have been ranked in the top two of the nation in every USCHO.com poll since Nov. 9, 2009.

Norwich University had been ranked No. 1 in the country since they took over on Feb. 22 of last year. The Cadets captured the Division III Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship last season with a 2-1 double-overtime victory over St. Norbert College in Lake Placid, N.Y. St. Norbert defeated Oswego State in the semifinals, while Norwich ousted SUNY Plattsburgh in the other Frozen Four matchup.

The Cardinals exacted their revenge on the Cadets at home on Nov. 27, by scoring back-to-back goals to capture their home title, the 2010 Primelink Great Northern Shootout Championship. Plattsburgh has had a cold start to the 2010-11 season and is currently outside of the top 15 looking in. The win over previously undefeated Norwich (3-1-0) moves the Cardinals to 5-4-0 on the season, but all four of their losses have came in conference games.

Geneseo proved its upset of the high-scoring Lakers last season was no fluke. The Ice Knights have cruised to a 7-2-2 record this season. With wins against Plattsburgh, Neumann and Hamline, Geneseo has earned a No. 10 ranking in the most recent poll. The Ice Knights are also 4-1-1 in SUNYAC play, second to only Oswego State.

This season’s surprise story, Buffalo State is 6-0-1 in its last seven games. The Bengals have outscored their opponents 25-10 in these games and have earned their first USCHO.com ranking, as they snagged the No. 15 spot. They currently sit third in the SUNYAC with a 4-2-1 record.