OTTAWA (CIS) – The University of Alberta Golden Bears lead the CIS men's hockey Top 10 for the sixth consecutive ranking period, dating back to mid-November.
The Bears (16-4-0) received 15 of 17 first-place votes from the national media panel this week, four more than last Tuesday. Both remaining first-place nods went to the Western Mustangs (17-3-0), who move up one spot in the new poll to a season-high No. 2.
All other Top-10 teams are on the move this week, including the No. 3 UNB Varsity Reds (15-5-0), down one position; No. 4 Saint Mary's Huskies (14-5-1), up one; No. 5 Saskatchewan Huskies (14-6-0), down one; No. 6 UQTR Patriotes (14-4-1), up one; No. 7 Acadia Axemen (13-6-1), down one; No. 8 Manitoba Bisons (12-5-3), up one; No. 9 Carleton Ravens (13-5-2), down one; and No. 10 Calgary Dinos (13-7-0), unranked a week ago.
Top-ranked Alberta scored a pair of huge 3-2 wins at home against Saskatchewan over the weekend, allowing the Bears to open up a four-point lead over their archrivals atop the Canada West standings. Alberta, which has won 13 of 14 league games since going 3-3 in its first six regular season contests, stays in Edmonton this week for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader versus struggling Lethbridge (1-17-2).
Western has also been red hot since starting league play with a 2-3 mark. The Mustangs extended their conference winning streak to 15 games last weekend thanks to road victories over Waterloo, 5-4, and UOIT, 5-2. The OUA West leaders visit Laurier (8-10-2) on Thursday and host Guelph (12-6-2) on Saturday.
In the Atlantic conference, UNB kicked off the past weekend with a 5-2 win at then nationally-ranked StFX but then lost 5-3 at Saint Mary's on Saturday in a duel between the top two teams in the Maritimes. The V-Reds, who still hold a slim one-point lead over the Huskies in the AUS standings, are set to take the ice three times this week, including a home tilt against St. Thomas (3-16-1) on Wednesday and visits to Moncton (8-9-3) and UPEI (10-9-1) on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Other top matchups to keep an eye on this week include No. 6 UQTR at reigning University Cup champion McGill on Wednesday; No. 7 Acadia at No. 4 Saint Mary's on Friday; No. 10 Calgary at No. 8 Manitoba on Friday and Saturday.