Weekend sweep at hands of No. 3 NAU doesn’t hurt Lopes’ standing before playoffs
By: Jim Howell/GCU Club Sports Information Director
For the second straight week, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Ice Hockey Division II team is ranked No. 7 in the latest American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) West Poll. That puts the Lopes in the ACHA Top 10 for the 7th consecutive time, gives them a ranking in 19 of the last 20 ACHA polls.
Since the poll rankings have a heavy influence on who goes to the playoffs and in what seeding, the Lopes breathed a sigh of relief about not losing ground after dropping both of their final regular season games this past weekend. The Lopes finished out the schedule with a home-and-home series against higher-ranked Northern Arizona, and dropped both halves of the series to the No. 3 IceJacks: 3-1 Friday in Flagstaff, and 5-1 in the home finale Saturday at AZ Ice Arcadia in Phoenix. The losses evened up the Lopes’ regular season record at 14-14-3.
The Lopes now change their focus to the postseason as they prepare for the Mountain West Collegiate Hockey League (MWCHL) Playoffs, which begin next Thursday, February 7 in Utah. While it’s the second straight year that the Lopes will make the trip to the Beehive State to participate in the tournament, it will be the first time they’ll begin play a day later, since they’ve clinched the No. 1 seed and earned a first-round bye. That means the Lopes’ first game will be Friday, February 8 against the lowest-remaining seed in the seven-team tournament. A win Friday puts the Lopes in Saturday’s championship game.
The entire ACHA West Rankings are listed below:
|4||Boise State (ID)||23-6-1||4|
|5||Williston State College (ND)||13-14-3||5|
|6||Metro State-Denver (CO)||18-7||6|
|7||Grand Canyon (D2)||14-14-3||7|
|9||Dakota College (ND)||10-12||10|
|13||Weber State (UT)||15-13-3||14|