With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team has held a firm grip on the No. 2 ranking in the USCHO.com Men’s Ice Hockey Poll, and this week is no different, as the Lakers are the second-ranked team in Division III for yet another week. The Lakers improved their record to 17-2-2 overall and 10-0-2 in SUNYAC play after dominating Morrisville State College, 8-1, on Saturday night at the Iceplex. Junior forward Paul Rodrigues scored five goals and added an assist for a six-point night and Oswego State held on to their slim lead atop the SUNYAC standings with 22 points. The Lakers received one first place vote and a total of 279 points in this week’s poll. Oswego State has four games remaining in the regular season, all of which are at home. The Lakers host SUNY Fredonia on Friday night before playing Buffalo State on Saturday night.
Norwich University is again the No. 1 team in Division III for another week. The Cadets are the only team in Division III with 18 wins, boasting an 18-1-1 overall record and leading the ECAC East standings at 13-1-0. The Cadets took care of St. Anselm, 6-3, on Friday night before defeating New England College in overtime, 3-2. Both games were played on the road. Norwich’s toughest remaining game is this Saturday, when it travels to play seventh-ranked Castleton College.
Plattsburgh remains at No. 3 and stretches its unbeaten streak to 14 games dating back to Nov. 26 against Middlebury. The last time the Cardinals lost a game was back on Nov. 25, when it dropped a 3-0 decision to Norwich in the first round of the Primelink Tournament. The Cardinals, however, have showed some vulnerability over the past couple weeks, winning their last three games all by one goal. Against SUNY Potsdam, Plattsburgh allowed the Bears to comeback from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game before the Cardinals scored the game-winning goal late in the third period while on the power play. This past weekend, the Cardinals needed overtime to defeat Fredonia after the Blue Devils scored twice in the third period to force the extra session. The next night, the Cardinals scored just once after taking 42 shots on Buffalo State goaltender Kevin Carr, but that’s all the offense needed, as the Cardinals blanked the Bengals, 1-0. All three games were played at home. Plattsburgh has four remaining games, all on the road, and sit just one point behind Oswego State for the SUNYAC lead. Amherst moved up one spot to No. 4 after defeating Bowdoin and Colby over the weekend. The Lord Jeffs have won eight or their last nine games. St. Thomas jumped up two spots to No. 5 to round out the top five teams. St. Thomas received just nine votes in the first poll released on Oct. 10. Amherst had just eight.
St. Nobert remains at No. 6 and Castleton dropped three spots to No. 7 after losing to Massachusetts-Boston, 5-4, and tying Babson, 2-2, over the weekend. Wisconsin-River Falls remains at No.8 and Adrian College and Utica College flip-flopped positions, as the Bulldogs are No. 9 and the Pioneers are No. 10 this week.
Elmira College did not play this weekend and dropped a spot to No. 11. Milwaukee School of Engineering and St. Scholastica remained in the same spots as last week, coming in at No. 12 and No. 13, respectively. Bowdoin moved up one spot to No. 14 and are 8-2-2 in its last 12 games after starting 3-3-1. Wisconsin-Stevens Point is the only new team in the top 15 this week. Williams dropped out of the top 15 after losing to Trinity College, 3-1, and Wesleyan, 4-1.
Other teams receiving votes into the top 15 were Gustavus Adolphus, Williams, Manhattanville, Neumann, Wentworth, Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Curry, Massachusetts-Boston, Plymouth State and Wisconsin-Superior.
USCHO.com Men’s Poll (Feb. 6, 2012)
1. Norwich (19)
2. Oswego State (1)
5. St. Thomas
6. St. Norbert
8. Wisconsin-River Falls
12. Milwaukee School of Engineering
13. St. Scholastica
15. Wisconsin-Stevens Point