Gwozdecky, GeorgeThe University of Denver Pioneers hockey team is the top college team in the land. According to the United States College Hockey Online rankings, DU has ousted Miami University in Ohio, earning 45 out of a possible 50 first-place votes.

Eric Bacher, the school’s director of media relations, writes that the top regular-season ranking is DU’s first since a poll was released in February 2005, after the school finished atop both national polls following its seventh NCAA championship win that year (via CBS4). The Pioneers are also the top team in the PairWise rankings, another rating system used to determine college hockey’s best teams.

DU coach George Gwozdecky (pictured) tells The Denver Post it’s a nice honor, but it doesn’t really mean anything unless the Pioneers improve parts of their game. Some of the players, for example, need to learn how to keep their cool, as fans noted after a brawl that ensued at the end of Saturday night’s 7-7 game against the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. DU will be without defensemen John Ryder and William Wrenn for a one-game suspension after both came off the bench to join in the fight.

Meanwhile, Colorado College sits in the eighth position on the USCHO poll, rounding out the state’s representation on the list. The Post points out that the CC Tigers (12-7-3) have lost three-straight games and need to bounce back to prove their early-season success wasn’t a fluke. Post writer Mike Chambers puts the Tigers in the second spot on his Front Range Colorado college hockey team rankings, with the Air Force Academy sitting at third.

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