by Amy Moritz
And Western New York has two nationally ranked hockey programs.
Yesterday, Niagara and Canisius learned their placement in the NCAA field of 16. Today, they both claimed spots in the USCHO.com national poll.
Niagara, which has been a mainstay on the poll this season, moved up a spot to No. 14. Canisius, meanwhile, made its first-ever appearance in the national poll, getting the nod at No. 20.
The Purple Eagles won the regular season Atlantic Hockey title and are making their fourth NCAA appearance and second as an at-large team.
Canisius is on an eight-game winning streak, the longest current streak in the nation, and made the NCAAs with the automatic bid from Atlantic Hockey after defeating Mercyhurst, 7-2, in the title game Saturday.
Niagara faces North Dakota in the West Region at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Grand Rapids, Mich., while the Golden Griffins play top-ranked Quinnipiac in the East Region at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Providence, R.I.