OTTAWA (CIS) – The University of Alberta Golden Bears are back atop the CIS men's hockey rankings following an impressive two-game sweep of provincial rival Calgary in their playoff debut.
The Bears (23-4-1 regular season / 2-0 playoffs), who had spent the last four weeks at No. 2 behind the New Brunswick Varsity Reds, received 11 first-place votes and 164 points from the 17-member media panel to move in front of the V-Reds (23-5-0 / 2-1), who fall to second place after tallying the remaining six first-place nods and 157 points.
Rounding out the 17th national poll of the campaign are the No. 3 UQTR Patriotes (21-6-1 / 4-0), No. 4 Saint Mary's Huskies (18-7-3 / 3-1) and No. 5 Saskatchewan Huskies (19-8-1 / 2-1), all of whom move up one position in the new Top 10; the No. 6 Carleton Ravens (19-7-2 / 4-1), up three spots; No. 7 Waterloo Warriors (12-11-5 / 4-1), No. 8 Windsor Lancers (18-9-1 / 4-0) and No. 9 UPEI Panthers (15-11-2 / 3-2), all unranked a week ago; as well as the Western Mustangs (21-5-2 / 3-2), who drop all the way from third place to No. 10 after being upset in the second round of the OUA playoffs.
Two weeks from the start of the University Cup national championship, nine teams are still standing across the country.
Alberta, Saskatchewan and Saint Mary's have already booked their ticket for the six-team CIS tournament. The remaining AUS berth will go to either UNB or UPEI, while UQTR, Carleton, Waterloo and Windsor are still in the running for the two OUA spots.
In last weekend's Canada West semifinals, the Bears posted back-to-back shutouts against Calgary, 4-0 and 2-0, while the Huskies needed three games to get by Manitoba. The best-of-three conference final kicks off Friday in Edmonton.
In the best-of-five AUS semis, Saint Mary's eliminated Acadia in four contests, while UNB leads UPEI two games to one. Game 4 is scheduled for Tuesday night in Charlottetown and, should a fifth duel be necessary, it would go Thursday evening in Fredericton.
In the OUA divisional semis, UQTR (vs. Nipissing) and Windsor (vs. Guelph) posted two-game sweeps, while Carleton (vs. Ottawa) and Waterloo (vs. Western) needed three matches to advance. The best-of-three division finals will pit UQTR against Carleton for the East title, and Windsor versus Waterloo for the West crown.
The University of Saskatchewan hosts the PotashCorp University Cup, presented by Co-op, from March 14 to 17 at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon. New national champions will be crowned next month as the 2012 titlist McGill Redmen were eliminated in the first round of the OUA post-season.