Williams cracks the Top 5 in national D-III hockey poll

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The Williams College men's hockey team has gradually been heading north in the national Division III rankings. This week, the Ephs are ranked in the top six in both national polls, the team's highest ranking in five seasons. The latest national polls came out Monday

The Ephs, who are currently first in the NESCAC standings, have moved up to the top five in this week's USCHO.com national Division III poll. The Ephs, 17-4-1, who swept a home-and-home series with Middlebury last weekend, are on a seven-game winning streak and have won four straight games after spotting the opponent a two-goal lead.

Williams moved up from No. 6 to 5 in the USCHO.com poll, and the Ephs reside at the No. 6 spot in the D3hockey.com national poll. Williams moved up from seventh to sixth in that poll.

It's the highest ranking for a Williams team since the Ephs were ranked sixth in the USCHO.com poll on Feb. 8, 2010.

St. Norbert is ranked first in both Division III polls. St. Norbert (19-2-2) picked up 18 of 20 first-place votes in both polls. The No. 2 team in both polls is Plattsburgh State, a team that dropped a 3-2 decision in overtime to Williams back on Jan. 16.

The rest of the USCHO.com Top 5 has Adrian No. 3, followed by Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Williams. The other Top 5 teams in the D3hockey.com poll are No. 3 Adrian, followed by Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Hobart.

Defending NCAA Division III national champion Trinity, the No. 2 team in NESCAC, is ranked seventh in the USCHO.com poll and No. 8 in the D3hockey.com poll.

Williams has a 3-point lead in the NESCAC standings over second-place Trinity. Williams is 13-2-1, while Trinity is 12-4-0. The Bantams have a home-and-home series this weekend with Wesleyan. Williams will host Amherst on Saturday and Hamilton on Sunday. Williams and Trinity are battling for the top seed in the NESCAC postseason tournament, and that could give one team home ice throughout the tournament.

Williams forward Colby Cretella, meanwhile, was named the NESCAC player of the week. He is the third consecutive Eph to earn the honor. The sophomore from Guilford, Conn., had a goal and an assist in each of Williams' wins over Middlebury last week.

Cretella was preceded last week by Williams' Roberto Cellini and the week before by Eph Tyler Young. Goalie Michael Pinios was the first Eph to be named player of the week, and that came on Jan. 11.

Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.


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