It’s a good way to end 2010.
Western hockey fans weren’t happy when the Bulldogs — who many fault for playing a weak schedule — ascended to the top spot in last week’s rankings. But voters solidified Yale’s position in both national polls this week.
The Bulldogs (11–1–0) were the unanimous top selection in the USA Today poll, and received 45 of 50 top votes in the USCHO poll. Last week, Yale won 24 of 33 and 34 of 50 first place votes, respectively.
The only work Yale has done since their pair of victories against then No. 15/16 Rensselaer Polytechnic and then No. 13 Union launched them into the best ranking in school history was defeat Vermont, 3–0, last Wednesday night. They are currently on vacation for final exams and holidays.
While the Elis were studying, Minnesota-Duluth — the former No. 1 — was slipping. They played in-state rivals Minnesota twice over the weekend and dropped a 3–2 decision on Friday before settling Sunday for a 2–2 tie. UMD (12–3–3) now has only one win in their past four games, and has slipped to the fourth spot in the country. North Dakota (13–5–2) sits at No. 3.
Nipping at Yale’s heels is new No. 2 New Hampshire, which also came up with a victory in their only game of the week. While Yale shut out struggling Vermont, (2–8–4) UNH won an overtime thriller against No. 9 Maine (8–4–4).
Yale returns to action as the rest of the school relaxes with an exhibition game against a Russian touring team on Dec. 29. Head coach Keith Allain will be absent for that contest, as he is coaching the United States team at the World Junior Tournament in Buffalo, N.Y.
The United States won the tournament last year. Since the semifinals this year are not until Jan. 3, it is likely that Allain might miss Yale’s first game of 2011, on Jan. 2 against Holy Cross (6–7–2).