Cornell hockey coach Mike Schafer believed that Union should be ranked in the USCHO.com NCAA hockey top-20 poll after the two teams played to a 2-2 ECAC Hockey tie Saturday at Messa Rink.
The people who vote in the poll apparently agreed.
For the first time in nine years, the Union men’s hockey team is ranked nationally. The Dutchmen earned 79 points, and are rated 20th in the poll, which was released Monday. The last time Union was in the poll was Dec. 4, 2000, when it was ranked 12th. At that time, the poll ranked the top 15 teams in country.
Dutchmen coach Nate Leaman wasn’t overly excited about making the poll. He has a game with Capital Region rival Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to worry about Wednesday.
“I don’t put anything into it,” Leaman said. “It’s not worth putting anything into. It doesn’t mean anything at this time of the year. It’s not even something we’re focused on. We’re just focused on a big game against RPI right now.”
Union (3-0-3 ECACH, 7-3-5 overall) has been rolling of late. The Dutchmen are 4-0-4 in their last eight games, and are the only unbeaten team in league play.
“Union is probably one of the best teams, if not the best team, we’ve played this year,” Schafer said. “Nate has done a great job with them. It’s funny about polls. I have a hard time understanding why when people look across the country, they don’t look at them as a ranked hockey team. They swept Maine at home. They’re near the top of the league. They’re a team that deserves to be in the top 15, as far as the country’s concerned.”
Union defenseman Mike Schreiber was appreciative of Schafer’s praise.
“We feel we’re deserving of it,” Schreiber said. “[We] don’t pay too much attention to it much, but it feels good.”
The Dutchmen, who were rated 18th in the Inside College Hockey top-20 power rankings on Sunday, promise not to have inflated egos when they head to Houston Field House to face the Engineers.
“It’s nice, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot to us,” forward Jason Walters said. “The game is played on the ice, no matter what you’re ranked.”
Two Dutchmen were honored by ECAC Hockey.
Senior forward Mario Valery-Trabucco was named player of the week. He had two goals and two assists in the weekend games against Colgate and Cornell.
Freshman goalie Keith Kinkaid was named rookie of the week for the second time this season. Kinkaid, who leads ECACH goalies with a 1.71 goals-against average in league play, had 57 saves in the two games, including a career-high 31 in Friday’s 3-1 win over Colgate.
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Categories: College Sports