After a multi-year hiatus, the Harvard men’s hockey team is back in the national rankings.
With its dramatic victory over Yale in the best-of-three ECAC quarterfinals series, the Crimson rocketed up the polls, more than tripling its point total from the previous week to nab the No. 19 spot in this week’s poll.
The expectations for Harvard coming into the season were low, to say the least. One preseason poll picked the Crimson to finish last in the 12-team ECAC while another pegged Harvard at seventh place. After all, the squad had struggled mightily for much of the 2010-11 season—the team started the campaign with a 4-18 record—and graduated its two goaltenders and many of its top players.
But the 2011-12 version of the Harvard men’s hockey team defied expectations, riding an NCAA-record 11 ties to a third-place finish in the ECAC and a bye in the first round of the conference playoffs.
All the while, voters in the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll were taking note. After receiving zero votes in the Feb. 20 poll, Harvard garnered 25 the following week. 14 days later, after topping Yale, the Crimson earned 95 points in Monday’s poll and leapfrogged a number of teams to enter the nation’s top 20 for the first time this season.
Harvard takes on rival Cornell in the ECAC semifinals this Friday in Atlantic City, N.J.