Feb 25, 2015

OTTAWA (CIS) – The reigning University Cup champion Alberta Golden Bears top the CIS men’s hockey rankings for the 18th time in as many national polls this season.

The Bears (24-3-1), who enjoyed a bye last week as the Canada West playoffs got underway, swept the first-place votes from the media panel for the eighth straight week.

There is plenty of movement in the new poll behind Alberta and the UNB Varsity Reds (22-4-2 regular season / 2-2 playoffs), who hold on to the No. 2 spot for the fifth consecutive week.

Rounding out the new Top 10 are the No. 3 Saint Mary’s Huskies (20-7-1 / 4-3 / up two positions), No. 4 Calgary Dinos (20-8 / no change), No. 3 Acadia Axemen (20-5-3 / 2-2 / down two), No. 6 McGill Redmen (21-5 / 4-1 / no change), No. 7 Windsor Lancers (22-4-1 / 4-1 / up one), No. 8 UQTR Patriotes (19-4-3 regular season / 4-0 / down one), No. 9 Mount Royal Cougars (17-10-1 / 2-1 / previously unranked) and No. 10 St. Francis Xavier X-Men (17-9-2 / 4-2 / no change).

NOTE: The voting took place before the fourth games of the best-of-five AUS semifinals between UNB and StFX on Monday (4-2 StFX win / series tied) and Acadia and Saint Mary’s on Tuesday (2-1 Acadia win / series tied).

Only 11 teams are still in contention to join tournament host StFX at the University Cup national championship next month in Halifax (March 12-15). In addition to the X-Men, the eight-team competition will include the two Canada West finalists, the top three squads from the OUA, as well as the top two AUS contenders other than StFX.

In Canada West, the top-ranked Bears and No. 4 Dinos finally kick off their post-season and will host UBC and Mount Royal, respectively, in the best-of-three conference semis starting on Friday. UBC (vs. Manitoba) and Mount Royal (vs. Saskatchewan) both needed three games to win their opening-round series.

In the AUS, both best-of-five semis are going the distance. StFX came back from two games down to tie its series against UNB, while the Saint Mary’s-Acadia series has been going back-and-forth with three of the four contests decided by a single goal. The fifth and deciding matches are scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. AST.

In the OUA East, archrivals McGill and UQTR will face off once again in the best-of-three division final, with Game 1 set for Wednesday night in Montreal. While both teams swept their previous round series against Queen’s and Carleton, respectively, the Patriotes needed overtime in both contests to eliminate the pesky Ravens.

In the OUA West, the best-of-three final will pit defending conference champion Windsor against the surprising Guelph Gryphons, beginning Wednesday evening in Windsor. The Lancers beat Lakekead in two straight in the previous round, while the Gryphons, who finished sixth in the division in league play with an 11-13-3 mark, came back to defeat Toronto after being dominated 8-3 in the opener.

CIS MEN’S HOCKEY TOP 10 (#18)

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) / (previous ranking)

1. Alberta (24-3-1) / 160 points (16) / (1)
2. UNB (22-4-2 / 2-2) / 144 / (2)
3. Saint Mary’s (20-7-1 / 4-2) / 113 / (5)
4. Calgary (20-8-0) / 104 / (4)
5. Acadia (20-5-3 / 1-2) / 94 / (3)
6. McGill (21-5-0 / 4-1) / 78 / (6)
7. Windsor (22-4-1 / 4-1) / 68 / (8)
8. UQTR (19-4-3 / 4-0) / 59 / (7)
9. Mount Royal (20-5-1 / 2-1) / 27 / (NR)
10. StFX (17-9-2 / 4-2) / 26 / (10)

Other teams receiving votes: Carleton (5), Guelph (2).

NOTE: The voting took place before the fourth games of the best-of-five AUS semifinals between UNB and StFX on Monday (4-2 StFX win / series tied) and Acadia and Saint Mary’s on Tuesday (2-1 Acadia win / series tied).

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