Dec. 2, 2003
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team has moved into the national rankings for the first time in the 2003-04 season. The Irish, coming off a two-game sweep of Northern Michigan last weekend, find themselves ranked 14th in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll and the U.S. College Hockey Online polls for the week of December 1st. A third poll, conducted by Inside College Hockey.com has the Irish ranked ninth in the nation.
Notre Dame comes into the week with an 8-3-2 overall record and is tied for first in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) with a 7-3-2 mark. The Irish are in the midst of a five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2) and are 8-1-2 in their last 11 games. This marks the first time in Notre Dame’s 14 seasons in the CCHA that the Irish enter December in first place in the league standings.
The last time the Irish were ranked nationally came during the week of Oct. 21, 2002, when Notre Dame was ranked 15th by USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and 11th by Inside College Hockey.com. That was the only week during the 2002-03 season that the Irish cracked the national rankings.
Prior to that, the Irish had not been in the national rankings since Feb.15, 1999. During the 1998-99 season, the Irish were in the top 10 in the nation for 13 consecutive weeks from Oct. 19 through Feb. 15. This year’s 8-3-2 start for the Irish is their best since the 1998-99 season when that team was 9-2-2 after 13 games.
Notre Dame returns to action this weekend with a pair of games at Western Michigan on Dec. 5-6.