On November 23, 2015, Penn State hockey broke into the USCHO Poll at No. 20 – its first-ever ranking. Less than 14 months later, it’s No. 1.
The news comes after then-No. 4 Penn State swept Michigan State, complemented by none of the top-three teams doing better than a split against lesser competition. Penn State’s win moved it to 16-2-1, the best record in the nation by a comfortable margin. A loss to Ohio State last week snapped a nine-game win streak and an 11-game unbeaten streak; Penn State has been nothing short of elite this season, and now the pollsters believe no one is better.
It’s a point that’s been rehashed many times this season, but reasonably so: Penn State didn’t have a hockey team six years ago. It took three years to have a winning record, then another to be ranked, and just one season later, here they are: the No. 1 Division I college hockey team in the nation.
Despite its No. 4 ranking last week, Penn State acquired six first-place votes, which was a program record at the time. Today’s poll saw it claim 30 such votes, more than enough to propel it into first place.
Your first chance to see Penn State with a No. 1 ranking comes this Friday and Saturday when the No. 11 Buckeyes come to town. If you haven't followed the team this season, now's a good time to start – the Nittany Lions' bright future is here.