WILLIAMSTOWN — It's been a long climb up the Division III polls for the Williams College men's hockey team. But this week, the Ephs have cracked the Top 10 in both national surveys.
The Ephs, coming off wins at defending national champion Trinity and Wesleyan, moved from ninth to sixth in Monday's USCHO.com national Top 15. Williams is seventh in the latest D3hockey.com poll, jumping from 11th.
"Our goal from Day One is to get better every day," Williams coach Bill Kangas said recently. "Nothing's changed."
The Ephs are 15-4-1 overall and 11-2-1 in the NESCAC standings. Williams is one point ahead of the Bantams in the standings, as Trinity is 11-3-0.
"We're playing good teams and every week is a battle," said the veteran Eph mentor. "Every team is solid."
In the USCHO poll, Williams jumped from ninth to sixth and jumped over Trinity, as the Bantams stayed at No. 7. It's the best ranking for Williams in the USCHO.com poll since the Ephs were ninth late last year.
The jump in the D3hockey.com poll was a bit more striking, as Williams went to seven from No. 11. The No. 7 ranking is the best in the D3hockey.com poll, since Williams was eighth in the Jan. 18, 2015 poll.
Trinity, meanwhile, dropped from fourth to fifth.
Williams and Trinity are two of eight East Coast teams in both Top 15 polls. Hamilton, 15 last week in the D3hockey.com poll, dropped out this week.
Williams and Trinity are also battling for the top seed in the NESCAC Tournament, which is scheduled to start on Saturday, Feb. 27.
Williams has a home-and-home series with Middlebury this Thursday and Friday, with the home game Thursday at Lansing Chapman Rink at 7 p.m. Williams will be home for the final regular-season games with Amherst on Feb. 20 and Hamilton on Feb. 21.
Trinity has a Saturday-Sunday trip to Maine with games at Colby and Bowdoin this weekend. The Bantams will host Wesleyan in a home-and-home next weekend. If either team has a hiccup, it could cost it home ice for the semifinals on March 5.
"What I like about the guys is that they're not a satisfied group," said Kangas. "They're pushing hard. They want to get better and they want to work on the little things.
"We talk about it all the time to work on the little things every day and the rest of it takes care of itself."
Williams freshman forward Roberto Cellini is the NESCAC player of the week. Cellini had a goal and an assist in Williams' 5-4 overtime win at Trinity and then had two goals and an assist in a 4-3 win over Wesleyan.