OXFORD, Ohio - Fresh off its fourth CCHA regular-season championship, the Miami hockey team stayed put at No. 3 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll and the USCHO.com Poll, both of which were released Monday. The RedHawks have now been ranked third in the USA Today Poll for six straight weeks and eight weeks overall and five straight weeks and seven times overall in the USCHO Poll.
Miami (22-9-5, 17-7-4-4 CCHA) collected 445 points in the USA Today Poll, just two fewer than last week after splitting with rival Ohio State to close the regular season. In the USCHO Poll, the 'Hawks totaled 898 points, nine less than a week ago (907). Minnesota is just ahead of Miami in both polls, earning 27 more points in the USA Today Poll (472) and 51 more points in the USCHO Poll (949). New Hampshire is right behind the RedHawks with 383 points in the USA Today Poll, 62 less than Miami, while in the USCHO Poll the Wildcats have 95 less points (803).
Despite each of the top three teams splitting over the weekend, the top three remained the same as Quinnipiac is No. 1 in both polls for the fourth straight week, collecting 25 of 34 first-place votes in the USA Today Poll and 36 of 50 first-place votes in the USCHO Poll. Minnesota is still second after its split with Denver while the Golden Gophers picked up eight first-place votes in the USA Today Poll and 12 first-place votes in the USCHO Poll. Behind No. 3 Miami is New Hampshire, which moved up a spot to No. 4, while North Dakota rounds out the top five in both polls, also jumping up one spot.
Defending national champion Boston College fell two spots to No. 6 in the polls after splitting with Providence. UMass-Lowell made the biggest jump after sweeping Merrimack, climbing five spots to No. 7 in the USCHO Poll, where it garnered the final two first-place votes, while the River Hawks are also seventh in the USA Today Poll, moving up three spots and gaining the last first-place vote. St. Cloud State is No. 8 in both polls followed by CCHA foe Western Michigan, which finished third in the league and fell one spot to ninth after splitting with Michigan State. Minnesota State slipped to No. 10 in the polls after a split with Colorado College.
CCHA foe Notre Dame, which took second in the league and split with Miami in February, is No. 11 in the USCHO Poll and 12th in the USA Today Poll. Denver is 11th in the USA Today Poll and No. 12 in the USCHO Poll. Yale moved up to No. 13 in the polls followed by Wisconsin, which Miami split with earlier this season in Madison, at No. 14. The Badgers improved two spots in the USCHO Poll and reentered the USA Today Poll. Niagara is 15th in the USCHO Poll while RPI caps the USA Today Poll at No. 15, entering the poll for the first time this season.
Nebraska-Omaha dropped to 16th in the USCHO Poll, followed by RPI at No. 17 after being unranked last week. Providence, which the RedHawks beat and tied in the second week of the season, moved up two spots to No. 18 after its split with BC while Boston University and Union round out the poll in 19th and 20th, respectively.
In the 15-team USA Today Poll, the WCHA leads all conferences with six ranked teams while the CCHA, the ECAC and Hockey East each have three teams represented. In the 20-team USCHO Poll, the WCHA again leads all leagues with seven ranked teams while Hockey East placed five teams in the poll. The ECAC is represented by four teams while the CCHA has three teams ranked and Niagara carries the flag for Atlantic Hockey.
The 18th annual USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll is conducted each week in conjunction with the American Hockey Coaches Association. The poll includes input from coaches and journalists representing each of the five NCAA Division I ice hockey conferences, as well as composite votes from officers of the AHCA and USA Hockey.
The USCHO.com Poll consists of 50 voters, including 28 coaches from the Division I conferences and 22 beat writers and sports professionals from across the country. The poll, published weekly by the Associated Press, is a production of USCHO.com, which provides in-depth coverage of college hockey.
In the lastest PairWise Ratings, which determine NCAA Tournament seeding, the RedHawks remained in third behind Quinnipiac and Minnesota. UMass-Lowell and New Hampshire are right behind Miami in fourth and fifth, respectively. Western Michigan is 11th while Notre Dame is 14th and Alaska 16th among other CCHA schools.
The No. 3/3 RedHawks, who are off this week after earning a first-round bye and the top seed for the CCHA Tournament, begin postseason play by hosting a best-of-three second-round series against a team to be determined (depending on first-round results) on Friday, March 15 at Steve Cady Arena. Game two of the series will be played on Saturday, March 16 and game three (if necessary) is on Sunday, March 17. Friday's game will be at 7:35 p.m. while games two and three are at 7:05 p.m. Tickets for the second round of the CCHA Playoffs can be purchased here.