While the UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team is ranked 14th in the latest USCHO.com national poll, the Blugolds found themselves at No. 1 in the region according to the computer rankings conducted by d3westhockey.com.
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After another eventful weekend of hockey in the West, it’s basically a tie between St. Norbert and UW-Eau Claire this week at the top of the computer rankings. Although UW- Eau Claire shows up as a one point leader in the ratings, this difference should not be considered statistically significant. It's too close to call.
The changes in the ratings and the way that they happened do show that Eau Claire is a team that should be taken seriously, however.
The Blugolds have been highly ranked from the beginning due to a strong enhanced winning percent value, which measures the strength of the team by considering the winning percentage of the teams that a team has defeated. Eau Claire’s wins have all been against teams with winning percentages above .500, and that strength of victory measurement was boosted by last weekend’s sweep over UW-Stout as the Blue Devils were 7-3 going into the weekend.
Eau Claire’s sweep coupled with St. Norbert’s loss to St. Scholastica (then 4-6 ) and Hamline’s tie at the hands of St. Olaf pushed the Blugolds past Stout and Hamline and into their virtual tie with St. Norbert.
St. Norbert is done until after the holidays, while Eau Claire faces a pair of NCHA contests against UW- Stevens Point this weekend. If Eau Claire succeeds against Stevens Point, they could well top the rankings as we go to the break. If not, the Green Knights will regain (or retain) their top spot in the rankings.
One final note, if out of region games were included in these rankings, Eau Claire would have the lead because of the fact that they do have a victory over 8-3-2 Geneseo that is not included in the West Rankings.