As the regular season winds down and conference races get decided, it becomes clearer which teams are in line to make a postseason run. That is no more apparent than in this week's college hockey rankings.
The top 12 teams in the USCHO.com poll remarkably remained the same this week with ties and splitsbeing the norm. The same holds true in the USA Hockey/USA Today poll where the top-six from last week is unchanged.
Quinnipiac, who received 37 first place votes in the USCHO poll, remains #1 in both rankings for the third straight week. The Bobcats defeated then-13th ranked Yale 4-1 before tying Brown 3-3. Their lead at the top spot grew over #2 Minnesota this week following the Gophers taking 3 of 4 points against Minnesota-Duluth.
Both Miami and Boston College received first place votes after finishing the weekend without a loss but neither moved up. The RedHawks received 2 first-place votes and rebounded from losing to Notre Dame in the Hockey City Classic by sweeping Lake Superior. BC, meanwhile, won their lone game of the weekend - a 2-1 overtime victory on the road at #17 Merrimack - and received a single first-place vote for the second straight week.
New Hampshire stays still at #5 following a win and tie over Vermont at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
North Dakota, St. Cloud State, Western Michigan, Minnesota State and Denver complete the top-10. UND and Denver split a two-game series in Denver. Western Michigan and #11 Notre Dame played to a pair of ties. Minnesota State, who moved up to a school-high 7th in the USA Hockey rankings, benefited from being idle.
Other than Yale dropping three spots following their loss to Quinnipiac (the Bulldogs did come back Saturday to defeat Princeton 4-3), the biggest drop in the rankings is Boston University. The Terriers fell four spots to 19th after they were swept by #12 UMass-Lowell.
Providence is the lone new team in the USCHO poll; replacing Union at #20.
And now the usual disclaimers: Polls are for entertainment and have no bearing on NCAA Tournament positions. Those would be the PairWise rankings, which our own Chris Dilks breaks down last week's results here. You can find the current updated Pairwise over at College Hockey News.
Follow Nate on Twitter @gopherstate.