OTTAWA (ISN) – The reigning national champion University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds top the CIS men’s hockey rankings for the 14th time in 17 polls this season, and for the fourth week in a row.
The V-Reds (20-5-3 / 3-0 playoffs) received 14 first-place votes and 166 points this week from the 17-member media panel to remain at No. 1 in front of the McGill Redmen (22-4-2 / 6-0), who earned the remaining first-place nods and 151 points in the new poll.
Rounding out the new Top 10 are the No. 3 Western Mustangs (21-4-3 / 6-1), No. 4 Saskatchewan Huskies (19-6-3 / 4-1), No. 5 Moncton Aigles Bleus (18-9-1 / 5-2), No. 6 Calgary Dinos (15-11-2 / 4-1), No. 7 Manitoba Bisons (20-5-3 / 0-2), No. 8 Alberta Golden Bears (20-6-2 / 1-2), No. 9 Saint Mary’s Huskies (18-7-3 / 1-3) and No. 10 UQTR Patriotes (19-7-2 / 4-4).
Western is up one position from last week, while Saskatchewan and Moncton both move up three spots. Calgary was unranked a week ago. Manitoba is down four, Alberta and Saint Mary’s are down three apiece, and UQTR is down one.
Four teams have now qualified for the 50th anniversary edition of the Cavendish University Cup national championship which will be held in Fredericton from March 22 to 25.
McGill, Western and Moncton all booked their ticket over the past week, while UNB was already in as the tournament host. The final two berths will be awarded this weekend to the Canada West champion and the OUA bronze medal winner.
In the Maritimes, top-ranked UNB and Moncton advanced to the AUS final after eliminating UPEI and Saint Mary’s, respectively, in best-of-five semifinal series. The V-Reds took care of the Panthers in three straight games (4-3, 5-1, 3-2 OT), while the Aigles Bleus downed the Huskies in four (2-6, 3-1, 6-1, 2-1).
The best-of-five Atlantic conference final gets under way Wednesday in Fredericton.
In the best-of-three OUA semis, McGill swept archrival UQTR (5-3, 5-4 2OT) and Western was pushed to the limit by Windsor (3-4, 5-2, 2-0).
The Redmen visit the Mustangs Saturday night in London, Ont., in the single-game Queen’s Cup final but all eyes will be on Sunday’s OUA bronze medal game in Trois-Rivières, Que., as the winners of the Lancers-Patriotes match-up will claim the conference’s final ticket for the University Cup.
In Canada West, it was a weekend of upsets as both first-place Manitoba and second-place Alberta saw their dreams of battling for the CIS title later this month go up in smoke on home ice.
In Winnipeg, the Bisons were swept 2-1 and 4-3 by Calgary, with the second game of the best-of-three semifinal decided in extra time. Meanwhile in Edmonton, the Bears dominated Saskatchewan 7-3 in the opener but the Huskies rebounded with back-to-back overtime victories (3-2, 4-3).
The Dinos travel to Saskatoon this weekend to face the Huskies in the best-of-three conference final, with the winners advancing to the Cavendish University Cup tourney. It will mark the first time in 17 years that Alberta doesn’t play in the Canada West championship series.
CIS MEN’S HOCKEY TOP 10 (#17)
Voting is based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis, with a 1st place vote worth 10 points. The CIS Men’s Ice Hockey Top Ten Committee is made up of media members from across Canada.
(regular season / playoff records) / votes (first-place votes) / (previous rankings)
1. UNB (20-5-3 / 3-0) / 166 pts (14) / (1)
2. McGill (22-4-2 / 6-0) / 151 (3) / (2)
3. Western (21-4-3 / 6-1) / 123 / (4)
4. Saskatchewan (19-6-3 / 4-1) / 119 / (7)
5. Moncton (18-9-1 / 5-2) / 112 / (8)
6. Calgary Dinos (15-11-2 / 4-1) / 84 / (NR)
7. Manitoba (20-5-3 / 0-2) / 51 / (3)
8. Alberta (20-6-2 / 1-2) / 45 / (5)
9. Saint Mary’s (18-7-3 / 1-3) / 32 / (6)
10. UQTR (19-7-2 / 4-4) / 29 / (9)
Other teams receiving votes: Windsor (15), UPEI (8).
CIS MEN’S HOCKEY SCHEDULE: March 7-15 (all times LOCAL)
AUS final (best-of-5)
Wed., March 7, 19:00: Moncton at UNB
Thur., March 8, 19:00: Moncton at UNB
Sun., March 11, 19:00: UNB at Moncton
Tue., March 13, 19:00: UNB at Moncton (if necessary)
Thur., March 15, 19:00: Moncton at UNB (if necessary)
Canada West final (best-of-3)
Fri., March 9, 19:00: Calgary at Saskatchewan
Sat., March 10, 19:00: Calgary at Saskatchewan
Sun., March 11, 19:00: Calgary at Saskatchewan (if necessary)
OUA final (single game)
Sat., March 10, 19:30: McGill at Western
OUA bronze medal (single game)
Sun., March 11, 14:00: Windsor at UQTR