UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica College men's hockey team is ranked No. 1 in the first NCAA Division III East Region Rankings released Tuesday afternoon by the NCAA.  The regional rankings are used to determine both NCAA tournament bids and seedings and the rankings are the first of three that will be issued publicly, with releases also scheduled for February 19 and 26.

The Pioneers are currently 19-4 overall and 10-3 in the highly competitive ECAC Men's West Conference headed into the final weekend of the regular season at Manhattanville on Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (4 p.m.).  Utica needs one win and one tie this weekend against the Valiants to secure its second regular season conference title in program-history.  19 wins for Utica is a new school-record and the Pioneers No. 1 ranking in the East Region is also a program-best.

Utica is currently led by sophomore forward Louie Educate (Chicago, IL/Aberdeen (NAHL)), who is tied for 11th in the country with an average of 1.43 points per game (16 goals, 17 assists).  Freshman defender Donny Olivieri (Philadelphia, PA/Bismarck (NAHL)) is the top scoring freshman defender in the country with an average of 1.00 points per contest, while junior goalie Nick Therrien (Rochester, NH/NY Apple Core (EJHL)) is tied for the national lead with 17 victories in between the pipes.

The Pioneers are now ranked No. 2 in the D3hockey.com National Poll and No. 7 in the USCHO.com National Poll.  The D3hockey.com and USCHO.com polls are independent polls which are voted on by panels of coaches, sports information directors and media members from across the country, and is they are published weekly.

NCAA Regional Rankings