Despite their first regulation loss of the season this past weekend, the McGill Redmen remained the number-two team in the nation right behind the UNB Varsity Reds who continue to roll through their AUS regular season schedule and have already clinched a first round bye in the playoffs.
1. UNB (19-4-0) / 179 pts (17) / (1)
2. McGill (22-1-2) / 143 (1) / (2)
3. Western Ontario (19-1-4) / 135 / (3)
4. Alberta (13-5-2) / 124 / (4)
5. Saskatchewan (13-7-0) / 98 / (7)
6. Saint Mary’s (14-9-1) / 97 / (5)
7. St. FX (14-9-1) / 77 / (NR)
8. UPEI (12-8-3) / 45 / (6)
9. Manitoba (11-5-4) / 43 / (8)
10. Nipissing (16-7-3) / 12 / (NR)
Other teams receiving votes: Carleton (11), Calgary (10), Wilfrid Laurier (7), Acadia (3), Lakehead (3), UQTR (3)
Dropped from the top 10: Calgary (#9 last week), Lakehead (#10)
Top three tales: Another week, another pair of wins for UNB who shows no signs of slowing down as their regular season heads into the final month of the regular season. The Varsity Reds, winners of nine straight, thumped crosstown rival St. Thomas 7-1 Friday before a 3-1 win on the road in Charlottetown Saturday night over UPEI. Hunter Tremblay remains in a race with Matt Carter of UPEI for top spot in conference scoring. Tremblay is one point back of Carter's AUS high 39, but the UNB forward continues to lead the conference in goal scoring with 19.
McGill finally suffered their first regulation loss of the season over the weekend, getting shutout by Carleton 4-0 on the road Saturday night after scoring a narrow 5-4 win at home on Friday night over Concordia. The Redmen may point to the absence of Marc-André Dorion, Maxime Langelier-Parent and Evan Vossen who are all competing for Team Canada at the Winter Universiade as a reason for their loss over the weekend against Carleton, but the Ravens were also without the services of two standouts - Ryan Berard and Brandon MacLean. McGill will face the Ravens again this coming weekend before rounding out their schedule with games against Ottawa and Concordia the following weekend.
While McGill may have some big guns away, Western Ontario has more than their fair share of stars in Turkey representing Canada. The Mustangs have six representatives in Turkey along with their head coach Clarke Singer. That didn't slow the 'Stangs down over the weekend when they downed UOIT 7-3 and then earned a 3-1 win over Windsor. Western has already locked up first in the OUA West division, and will be the favourite to emerge out of that division to battle for the Queen's Cup.
Best of the rest: As for the rest of the top 10 teams, number-four Alberta was idle this weekend and didn't see their ranking slip for the first time in several weeks, as they had a much needed break from what was a miserable month of January. They'll get back at it this weekend against a pesky Regina team.
The biggest winner in this week's rankings is the team directly behind the Bears in not only the top 10, but also the Canada West standings - the now number-five ranked Saskatchewan Huskies. The Sled Dogs swept previously number-nine ranked Calgary at home, and are now only two points back of Alberta. The Huskies remain one of the hottest teams in the country, and all signs point to a tremendous series in two weeks time between the Bears and Dogs in Saskatoon.
Behind the U of S are a trio of AUS clubs, with Saint Mary's, UPEI and St. FX holding down the number-six through eight spots in the poll. SMU split their two games this weekend, losing to St. FX 2-0 Friday before beating Dalhousie 8-2 Saturday. UPEI on the other hand lost both their weekend games, losing to Moncton 4-2 Friday before suffering that Saturday setback to UNB. In addition to their win over SMU, St. FX also downed Acadia 5-2 Saturday.
Rounding out the top 10 is Manitoba at number-nine fresh off a dismal weekend in Regina where the Herd managed a shootout win Saturday after a 1-0 shutout loss Friday night against the lowly Cougars, and newcomers Nipissing who won 5-2 and 3-2 over the weekend against Queen's. The Lakers are ranked inside the top 10 for the first time this season.
Top 10 games this weekend: Friday - #8 UPEI at #6 SMU, #1 UNB at #7 St. FX Saturday - #8 UPEI at #7 St. FX, #1 UNB at #6 SMU