College hockey notes: Air Force remains ranked at No. 18 as playoffs get underway
Falcons remain at No. 18
A bye week later and Air Force's ranking remained the same for the second week with the Falcons ranked No. 18 in the weekly poll heading into this weekend's home playoff series versus Bentley.
The Associated Press and The Gazette use the U.S. College Hockey Online poll for its rankings.
Air Force is rated No. 16 in the Pairwise rankings, which mimic the 16-team NCAA Tournament selection process. Any loss, even in this weekend's best-of-three quarterfinal series, could drop the Falcons downward, meaning it remains likely that Air Force (22-9-5) must win the Atlantic Hockey Conference playoffs title to advance to the NCAAs.
Top-ranked Denver (26-6-4), which is on an 11-game winning streak, garnered 48 out of possible 50 first-place votes in the poll. The Pioneers host Colorado College (8-22-4) in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference quarterfinals this weekend.
Colorado College player of the week
Tigers sophomore Mason Bergh added to his team-leading totals with three points (two assists) in a weekend series split at then-No. 19 St. Cloud State.
The winger from Eden Prairie, Minn., leads CC with 24 points, including a team-high 14 goals.
Falcons practicing with an edge
Air Force assistant Joe Doyle isn't worried about the Falcons being ready for Game 1 of their Friday quarterfinal series opener at Cadet Ice Arena.
The players are using their loss in the regular-season finale - which cost them the Atlantic Hockey Conference title - as motivation when they host eighth-seeded Bentley (13-17-7).
"We were as sharp and as crisp as we have all year," Doyle said of the three bye-week practices. "It was hard to tell we were on the same team because we had to break up a few (scuffles), which is a good thing. They know the only way to get that bad taste out of your mouth is to go out and win a hockey game."
Windy conditions at Denver International Airport kept Falcons coach Frank Serratore from making it to this week's media conference. . The first coach opening came early with former Denver assistant Seth Appert fired Monday morning after 11 seasons leading ECAC member Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Appert went 152-221-48 with one NCAA Tournament berth (2011) and four winning seasons. The Engineers went 10-18-8 this year - the third losing season in a row. . Denver has gone 26-4-4 since dropping its first two games at the season-opening Icebreaker tournament, which was won by Air Force. . DU's 26 wins leads Division 1, followed by Union (23) and Air Force (22). . CC's win at now-No. 20 St. Cloud State was the Tigers' first win on the road in a regular-season finale since March 9, 2013 at Michigan Tech. CC went on to upset Denver in a best-of-three Western Collegiate Hockey Association quarterfinal series the following weekend. ... Tigers freshman Kade Kehoe is scheduled to be this week's Facebook Live interview at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday.