OTTAWA (CIS) – The University of Alberta Golden Bears maintain their No. 1 status in the first CIS men's hockey rankings of the winter semester.
The Bears (14-4-0) lead the Top 10 for the fifth straight ranking period after receiving 11 of 17 first-place votes in the 10th national media poll of the season.
The UNB Varsity Reds (14-4-0) and Western Mustangs (15-3-0) both move up two spots in the new poll and now occupy the second and third positions, respectively. The V-Reds earn all six remaining first-place nods.
Rounding out the new rankings are the No. 4 Saskatchewan Huskies (14-4-0), down one position; No. 5 Saint Mary's Huskies (13-4-1), up a pair; No. 6 Acadia Axemen (12-5-1), down four spots; No. 7 UQTR Patriotes (12-3-1), down one; No. 8 Carleton Ravens (12-4-2), up two; No. 9 Manitoba Bisons (10-5-3), who stay put; and previously unranked StFX X-Men (11-5-2).
Alberta, UNB and Western have all kept unblemished records since the last poll of the fall semester was released on December 4.
The Bears, who are currently tied with archrival Saskatchewan atop the Canada West standings, beat Team Canada 4-1 back on Dec. 12 as the national junior squad was finalizing its roster for the IIHF world championship, and added a pair of non-conference wins over NAIT of the ACAC on Jan. 4-5, defeating the Ooks 3-2 and 3-0.
First place in Canada West will be on the line this weekend when the Bears host the Huskies for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader in Edmonton.
The AUS-leading Varsity Reds swept their two-game series (Peterbilt Atlantic Kelly Cup Challenge) against the Russian Red Stars over the holiday break, prevailing 7-3 in St. John and 5-2 in Fredericton, and then resumed league play last weekend with home wins over Acadia, 4-2, and Dalhousie, 3-0. Things could get interesting atop the Atlantic conference standings later this week as UNB (28 points) is set to visit No. 10 StFX (24 pts) on Friday and No. 5 Saint Mary's (27 pts) the following night.
For their part, the OUA-leading Mustangs edged Windsor 4-3 in a shootout in non-conference action on Dec. 30 and kicked off the second half of their regular schedule last weekend with victories over Brock, 3-2, and UOIT, 7-1. Western faces Waterloo (9-6-3) and UOIT (7-10-1) this week.
Another Top-10 battle is on the CIS schedule this week as No. 8 Carleton travels to Trois-Rivières, Que., on Wednesday to face No. 7 UQTR.