OXFORD, Ohio – The Miami hockey team heads into the NCAA Tournament ranked fifth in both national polls as the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll and the USCHO.com Poll were released on Monday. The RedHawks slipped two spots from last week’s No. 3 ranking after falling in the semifinals of the CCHA Tournament to Michigan. Miami had been No. 3 for eight straight weeks.

The RedHawks (24-11-5), who are a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, earned 376 points in the USA Today Poll, down 63 points from last week’s 439, while totaling 811 points in the USCHO Poll, 82 fewer points than a week ago (893). CCHA rival Notre Dame, who is the No. 1 seed in Miami’s NCAA Regional, is just in front of the RedHawks with 399 points in the USA Today Poll, 23 more than Miami, while the Irish have just seven more points in the USCHO Poll (818). Boston College sits right behind Miami with 22 fewer points in the USA Today Poll (354) and 57 less in the USCHO Poll (754).

Two teams are tied atop the USA Today Poll as Quinnipiac and Minnesota, which are both No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, share the top spot with the Bobcats receiving 16 first-place votes and the Golden Gophers earning nine. In the USCHO Poll, Quinnipiac reclaimed the top spot after being second last week, despite falling in the ECAC Tournament semifinals, as the Bobcats picked up 26 of 50 first-place votes. Minnesota is second in the poll with 10 first-place votes. UMass-Lowell, the last No. 1 seed, jumped to third in both polls after winning the Hockey East Tournament as the River Hawks collected the remaining nine first-place votes in the USA Today Poll and the final 14 in the USCHO Poll.

Notre Dame, which plays St. Cloud State in its NCAA first-round game, rose five spots to fourth in both polls after claiming the CCHA Tournament, with Miami right behind in fifth. Boston College slipped to No. 6 in the polls, followed by North Dakota at No. 7. Two teams are tied for eighth in the USA Today Poll in Minnesota State, which is Miami’s first-round opponent in the NCAA Tournament, and Wisconsin, which moved up after winning the WCHA Tournament. The Badgers are No. 8 by themselves in the USCHO Poll. St. Cloud State, which is the No. 4 seed in Miami’s regional, is ninth in the USCHO Poll while New Hampshire rounds out both top 10s.

The Mavericks, who are the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region, fell to No. 11 in the USCHO Poll while St. Cloud State, which is also in the Midwest Region with Miami and Notre Dame, is 11th in the USA Today Poll. Denver and Union are No. 12 and 13, respectively, in the polls, while Niagara is 14th in each ranking. Yale is No. 15 in the polls, rounding out the USA Today Poll, as the Bulldogs were the last at-large team to make the NCAA Tournament.

The remainder of the USCHO Poll has CCHA foe Western Michigan, which just missed the NCAA Tournament, at No. 16, followed by Boston University at No. 17. Providence, which Miami beat and tied early in the season, is 18th while Michigan gained one spot after beating the RedHawks to move up to No. 19. Canisius completes the poll at No. 20 after winning the Atlantic Hockey Tournament.

In the 15-team USA Today Poll, the WCHA leads all leagues with six ranked teams while the ECAC and Hockey East each have three teams ranked. The CCHA is represented by Miami and Notre Dame while Niagara carries the flag for Atlantic Hockey. In the USCHO Poll, the WCHA again leads all conferences with six teams in the poll while Hockey East placed five squads in the poll. The CCHA has four teams ranked while the ECAC has three and Atlantic Hockey put two in the poll.

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.

These are the final polls until after the NCAA Tournament as the final polls will be released Monday, April 15.

No. 5/5 and second-seeded Miami opens NCAA Tournament play Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Midwest Regional in Toledo against No. 8/11 and third-seeded Minnesota State. No. 4/4 and top-seeded Notre Dame plays No. 11/9 and fourth-seeded St. Cloud State in the first game Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The regional championship is Sunday at 4 p.m. Tickets for the Midwest Regional can be purchased here with a minimum of a $100 donation to the Red & White Club.

--MURedHawks.com--