For the first time since 2010, the University of Denver Pioneers are ranked No. 1 in men’s hockey.
Going into this past weekend, DU was ranked No. 2 in the nation — but after a successful series against No. 6 North Dakota that included a tie on Friday and win on Saturday night, the Pios have leaped up to the number one spot. In both major national college hockey polls announced on Monday, Denver is ranked in the top spot after extending their unbeaten streak to eight games over the weekend.
Denver received 26 votes for first place in the USCHO.com poll, and 19 votes for first in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll which helps slot them at the No. 1 team in the nation in both polls respectively.
Both outcomes over the weekend in North Dakota were heavily influenced by the play of junior Tanner Jaillet in goal. He was named as the Third Star of the Game in both contests, with 29 saves on 30 shots in Friday night’s 1-1 tie, and 22 saves on 24 shots in Saturady’s 3-2 victory. His performance over the weekend has earned him the honor of NCHC Goaltender of the Week. On the season now, Jaillet has an impressive 7-1-1 record and leads the NCHC with a 1.66 goals-against average and .934 save-percentage.
Despite leaping over Minnesota-Duluth in the national polls, Denver (3-0-1, 10 pts) still sits five points behind UMD (5-1-0, 15 pts) in the NCHC standings, because of having played two less games. Things should even up naturally over the course of the season once the Bulldogs have a bye week as the Pioneers had last week.
Up next for the Pioneers is a home series against Miami (Ohio) this weekend. Overall, Miami is 3-6-2 on the season, including a record of 0-4-0 in NCHC play. Look for Denver to extend their unbeaten streak in impressive fashion against a Miami team that isn’t having a great start to the season.