Editor's note: These rankings were released Jan. 15.
It was one of those weekends in college hockey in which the sweeps were few and far between. Heck, even Minnesota Duluth lost at Nebraska-Omaha Saturday, bringing to an end the Bulldogs' 17-game unbeaten streak in the process. That one loss wasn't enough to budge the Bulldogs from the top spot in the INCH Power Rankings, however.
Here's how the Inside College Hockey editors and staff rank the nation's top teams (along with a note for each team).
1. Minnesota Duluth (15-4-3, 11-3-2 WCHA)
Of note: The Bulldogs lost to Nebraska-Omaha Saturday despite outshooting the Mavs, 44-15. In its four losses this season, UMD has outshot its foes by a 168-98 margin.
2. Minnesota (16-8-1, 12-4-0 WCHA)
Of note: Saturday's 6-2 win at North Dakota coupled with Minnesota Duluth's loss at Nebraska-Omaha kept the Gophers and Bulldogs tied atop the WCHA standings with 12 games remaining in the regular season.
3. Merrimack (12-4-5, 8-3-3 Hockey East)
Of note: Jesse Todd scored three of Merrimack's four power-play goals in a three-point weekend against Yale, including the game-tying goal in the third period of Saturday's game.
4. Boston College (14-8-1, 10-5-1 Hockey East)
Of note: Chris Venti, a senior goaltender for the Eagles from nearby Needham, Mass., made his first career start in a 2-1 win over Northeastern at Frozen Fenway. Venti also relieved starter Brian Billett and made five saves on six shots at UMass on Friday.
5. Notre Dame (13-8-3, 8-5-3 CCHA)
Of note: A pair of losses to Western Michigan could leave the Irish lamenting the first time they've been swept in almost two years. Notre Dame will need to find a way to move on quickly, as they face a Michigan team that's 7-1-2 in its last 10 games this weekend.
6. Union (12-5-6, 6-2-3 ECAC)
Of note: High-fives all around. The Dutchmen scored five goals in all three games against Capital District rival RPI this season, and won all three games.
7. Ohio State (14-6-3, 10-5-3 CCHA)
Of note: Brady Hjelle played nearly 30 scoreless minutes in relief of Cal Heeter on Sunday. In seven appearances this year, Hjelle boasts a 1.62 goals against average and .949 save percentage, giving the Buckeyes faith when Heeter needs a rest down the stretch.
8. Boston University (13-6-1, 10-4-1 Hockey East)
Of note: The Terriers have won four straight games in Hockey East to move into a first-place tie in the league, and they also rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period to force overtime and go on to a 4-3 win at Harvard.
9. Cornell (10-4-3, 7-1-2 ECAC Hockey)
Of note: Harvard's annual visit to Lynah Rink highlights the upcoming weekend for the Big Red. Cornell snapped an 0-for-14 stretch on the power play with a PPG at Princeton on Saturday.
10. Colorado College (13-8-1, 10-6-0 WCHA)
Of note: The Tigers trailed visiting St. Cloud State by two goals on two different occasions Saturday before sending the game to overtime on Alexander Krushelnyski's goal with 24 seconds left in regulation, but the Huskies' Jordy Christian won the game in OT to salvage a split.
11. Western Michigan (12-7-5, 9-4-3 CCHA)
Of note: After crumbling in the third period twice against Minnesota Duluth last weekend, the Broncos played stalwart defense in the final frames in a sweep of Notre Dame, limiting the Irish to just 13 scoreless shots in this weekend's third periods.
12. Denver (13-8-3, 8-5-3 WCHA)
Of note: It's always something for the injury-riddled Pioneers: Forward Drew Shore scored two goals and added three assists in Friday's 6-3 win over Bemidji State, but missed Saturday match, a 3-2 DU win, with a lower-body injury.
13. Michigan (14-8-4, 8-6-4 CCHA)
Of note: During the Wolverines' last two weekends, with the team going 3-0-1, Chris Brown (3-4-7), David Wohlberg (3-5-8) and Alex Guptill (3-5-8) have put together four-game point streaks.
14. UMass Lowell (12-6-0, 7-5-0 Hockey East)
Of note: Not sure what this means, but half of UMass Lowell's six losses are by a final score of 3-2, with two of the defeats coming in overtime. In the most recent such defeat, the River Hawks squandered a 2-0 lead at Vermont.
15. Nebraska-Omaha (11-9-4, 8-5-3 WCHA)
Of note: Friday's game against Minnesota-Duluth drew 16,138 fans to Omaha's CenturyLink Center, the largest crowd in school history.
16. North Dakota (12-9-2, 8-8-0 WCHA)
Of note: Despite losing three of four to Minnesota in the regular season, the North Dakotans beat the Gophers Friday to keep their rivals to the east from earning a four-game season series sweep for the first time since 1991-92.
17. Ferris State (14-8-2, 8-6-2 CCHA)
Of note: A cursory glance at the CCHA standings might convince you that the Bulldogs are out of the race when it comes to first-round byes and conference titles. But with two games in hand relative to Ohio State, Michigan and Lake Superior, Ferris State finds itself right in the mix of things.
18. Colgate (12-8-2, 6-4-0 ECAC Hockey)
Of note: All of a sudden, it's four straight losses for Colgate. The Raiders allowed 13 goals this weekend at Quinnipiac and Princeton, one more than they did over seven games in the entire month of November.
19. Miami (Ohio) (12-10-2, 8-8-2 CCHA)
Of note: Even in a loss, Miami showed it might make some noise in the second half. Trailing 4-2 just over two minutes into the third on Saturday, Miami outshot the Lakers 18-2 in the final frame, but could only find the back of the net once.
20. Quinnipiac (13-8-5, 5-5-4 ECAC Hockey)
Of note: The Bobcats are coming on in recent weeks, with a 6-2-3 stretch over their last 11 games. They'll need to figure out a way to sustain that momentum during some downtime, they don't play again until Feb. 3-4 at home against Harvard and Dartmouth.
Dropped out: Northeastern
Bubblelicious: Maine, Lake Superior State
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