by Michel Bélanger
February 4, 2014, OTTAWA (ISN) – The University of Alberta Golden Bears are once again the team to beat in CIS men’s hockey.
The Bears (21-2-1), who topped the first eight weekly polls of the season before settling for second place behind provincial rival Calgary in each of the last five rankings, return to No. 1 after receiving 15 of 17 first-place votes and 168 points from the national media panel.
The reigning University Cup champion UNB Varsity Reds (20-3-1) also move up one position in the new poll thanks to a pair of first-place nods and 140 points, while the Dinos (20-2-2) drop to No. 3, with 136 points.
Rounding out the new Top 10 are the No. 4 Acadia Axemen (18-3-3 / no change), No. 5 UQTR Patriotes (20-4 / up one position), No. 6 McGill Redmen (19-5-2 / down one), No. 7 Carleton Ravens (18-5-1 / no change), No. 8 Moncton Aigles Bleus (16-8 / up two), No. 9 Western Mustangs (17-6-1 / down one), as well as the previously unranked Saskatchewan Huskies (14-9-1).
Calgary entered the last weekend as the only team in the country without a regulation loss in league play but, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The Dinos dropped the first end of their two-game series in Saskatoon 4-3 on Friday night and were dominated 10-2 by the Huskies in Saturday’s rematch.
With the two losses, the Dinos not only lost their No. 1 status, they also fell to second place in the Canada West standings, one point behind Alberta, with four games left on the regular schedule. While Calgary struggled against Saskatchewan, the Bears crushed Lethbridge 13-0 and 11-1 in Edmonton, marking the first time since November of 2001 that they scored 10 or more goals against the same opponent during a weekend series.
Alberta visits Regina for a pair this weekend, while Calgary plays a home-and-home set versus cross-town rival Mount Royal.
In the AUS conference, UNB registered a pair of one-goal wins, 3-2 in overtime against StFX and 6-5 over Saint Mary’s, to open up a two-point lead over Acadia in the standings with four matches remaining. The Axemen dropped two precious points last Friday in a 5-2 loss to UPEI but rebounded the next night with an 8-3 victory against St. Thomas.
The races are also tight in the OUA with two weekends to go before playoffs.
In the OUA East, UQTR and McGill are tied at the top with 40 points but the Patriotes have two games in hand. Carleton is only three points back and also has four contests remaining, compared to two for the Redmen.
UQTR visits Carleton in the nation’s capital on Friday night.
In the OUA West, Western has a two-point cushion over unranked Lakehead in first place. The two teams face off in London on Friday evening.
CIS MEN’S HOCKEY TOP 10 (#14)
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 record) / votes (first-place votes)
- 1. Alberta (21-2-1) / 168 points (15) / (2)
- 2. UNB (20-3-1) / 140 (2) / (3)
- 3. Calgary (20-2-2) / 136 / (1)
- 4. Acadia (18-3-3) / 114 / (4)
- 5. UQTR (20-4-0) / 108 / (6)
- 6. McGill (19-5-2) / 85 / (5)
- 7. Carleton (18-5-1) / 62 / (7)
- 8. Moncton (16-8-0) / 38 / (10) *
- 9. Western (17-6-1) / 38 / (8)
- 10. Saskatchewan (14-9-1) / 37 / (NR)
* Moncton is ranked higher than Western based on number of higher-placed votes.
Other teams receiving votes: Lakehead (3), Queen’s (3), UPEI (2), Ryerson (1).