Niagara Gazette — After topping a pair of Atlantic Hockey opponents this past weekend to remain undefeated in conference play, the Niagara men’s hockey team garnered national attention, getting voted into the 20th spot in the USCHO.com Division I Poll.
The previously unranked Purple Eagles (8-2-3, 7-0-0 AHA) earned 112 votes during the week of Nov. 19 after becoming the fifth team in the nation to register eight wins, joining Boston College, Denver, Notre Dame and New Hampshire.
Niagara’s inclusion on the USCHO.com poll is the first time the Purps have been ranked in the online poll since March 24, 2008 when the team was slated 19th. The Purple Eagles were ranked in the top-20 for 10 weeks during that season, with their highest ranking coming in at 17. Niagara wrapped up the 2007-08 campaign at No. 19 with a 22-10-4 record and earned a trip to the 2008 NCAA Tournament for the third time in the program’s history.
Leading the way has been goaltender Carsen Chubak, who continued his solid play between the pipes. He earned his fourth-straight Atlantic Hockey Goalie of the Week Honors and fifth of the season.
The junior was in net for both games of a weekend sweep in AHA play against Canisius on Friday and Robert Morris on Saturday.
After shutting down the Golden Griffins, 2-1, Chubak helped the Purple Eagles earn their fourth straight victory on home ice with the 3-0 win over RMU. Chubak has blanked his opponents in the last three home games, which has not been done since Greg Gardner in the 1999-00 season. Chubak and the Purple Eagles have not allowed a goal at Dwyer in the last 205:40 minutes of play.
The Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native made a total of 74 saves in 120 minutes of play this weekend for a .987 save percentage and a 0.50 goals-against average. He made 31 saves against Canisius, and added another 43 saves in the win over the Colonials, one shy of his career-high.
Chubak is now 8-1-3 on the season and has made 385 saves. He holds the top spot in the nation in shutouts (five), save percentage (.970) and goals-against average (0.99), and his winning percentage of .792 places him ninth nationally.
Niagara is currently on a nine-game unbeaten streak, which is tied for the longest in the nation with Boston College (9-0-0), the top-ranked team in the USCHO.com Poll. In seven AHA contests, NU has outscored its opponents by a 24-3 margin which is the fewest tallies allowed in conference play in the nation. The Purple Eagles are ranked third in the nation in combined special teams (58.1) and their powerplay is currently slated in the eight spot in the nation (89.4).
The USCHO.com Poll consists of 50 voters, including 28 coaches from the Division I conferences and 22 beat writers and sports professionals from across the country. The poll, published weekly by the Associated Press, is a production of USCHO.com, which provides in-depth coverage of college hockey.
Niagara returns to the ice on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 when the Purple Eagles welcome AHA foe Sacred Heart to Dwyer Arena.