There were some unexpected results and turmoil within the NCAA hockey world, and a series of upsets resulted in some major changes within the second edition of our NCAA Hockey Power Rankings, including two new teams, and a new #1 team. Below is a quick summary of the biggest changes, with the full rankings following.
Biggest Riser: Denver (3 spots)
Biggest Fallers: UMass (4 spots)
Dropped Out: UMass, Ohio State,
Joined The Rankings: Arizona State, Northern Michigan
- Arizona State
- Northern Michigan
#10 – Minnesota Duluth (Last Week: Honorable Mention)
- UMD can hang their hats on one of the most impressive victories of the season – a 7-4 onslaught of a scorching hot North Dakota team. Unfortunately, they dropped a 3-2 decision the next day, still a solid result against one of the best offenses in the nation. Combined with the collapse of a few of our top-10 teams, it was enough for the Bulldogs to climb into the rankings.
#9 – Bemidji State Beavers (Last Week: Honorable Mention)
- I’m way higher on the Beavers than pretty much anyone else, as the latest polls have Bemidji State at just 19th, but this is a team that is 6-1-1 in their last eight, with their lone loss coming in a road series split with #3 Minnesota State. They still might be on the outside looking in on the NCAA tournament picture, but the Beavers are consistently impressing every weekend.
#8 – Harvard Crimson (Last Week: 9)
- Harvard played two games with a pair of bloodless results. Their tie against Colgate didn’t do much for their resume, but a road tie against #1 Cornell again showcased this squad’s ability to hang with the best, and, to me, justified them rising to #8 in this week’s power rankings.
#7 – Boston College Eagles (Last Week: 4)
- Although both games went to overtime, the Eagles were swept at home by an unranked UMaine squad. UMaine is close to cracking the Top 20, but this is a team that BC has historically dominated, so to enter the series red-hot and then drop both games was a severe disappointment that made the Eagles our biggest faller of the week.
#6 – Clarkson Golden Knights (Last Week: 5)
- Clarkson played a competitive series at home with Arizona State, but they ultimately split the result, managing an overtime victory in the opener before dropping a 3-2 decision in the second game. It wasn’t a horrific result by any means, but the Golden Knights failed to keep pace with most of their closest competitors and slid two spots as a consequence.
#5 – Penn State Nittany Lions (Last Week: 6)
- Penn State salvaged their weekend with a gutsy overtime victory at Michigan State to split the series after a loss in the opener. It was an impressive rebound performance from the Nittany Lions, and their ranked road win was enough to lock them in at #6 for the second straight week.
#4 – Denver Pioneers (Last Week: 7)
- Denver went to Miami of Ohio and swept the Redhawks, squeaking out a 3-2 decision in the opener before cruising 5-2 in the second game. Denver has not lost since December 6 – although they have three ties in that span – and that justifies their three-spot jump in this week’s rankings.
#3 – North Dakota Fighting Hawks(Last Week: 3)
- North Dakota in my mind is still one of the elite three teams in the country, but they showed that defense could be a huge weakness by giving up seven to UMD. Their rebound win was needed, and it kept the Fighting Hawks at #3, but they’ll have to figure out their defense before March rolls around.
#2 – Minnesota State Mavericks (Last Week: 1)
- Minnesota State suffered a tough loss to Bemidji State and split the series overall. I’ve already discussed that I really like the Beavers, and I don’t regard this as any kind of disaster for the Mavericks; I just believe any slip up can be costly when your competition plays at an elite level.
#1 Cornell Big Red (Last Week: 2)
- Cornell posted another unbeaten effort this weekend, beating a quality Dartmouth team before escaping Harvard’s upset bid with a tie. Their 1-0-1 weekend keeps them at just one loss for the year, and, combined with losses from North Dakota and the Mavericks, propelled the Big Red to #1.