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College Hockey Rankings: Minnesota Gophers the Team to Beat

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The University of Minnesota and Union College begin the season-long fight to get back to the Frozen Four.

Minnesota holds down the top spot
Minnesota holds down the top spot
Matt Christians

SB Nation College Hockey's weekly staff rankings are back in action this year and who better to start the year in the number 1 position than the Minnesota Gophers.  The Golden Gophers held the top stop for the majority of last season before falling in the NCAA National Championship to our number 2 team this week - the Union Dutchmen.

Everyone at the SBN College Hockey Headquarters (we can dream, right?) fought all weekend to defend their rankings, but the only teams we could agree on were are top two.  The only thing we can promise you, is our rankings are going to change, as this year has already had an exciting start.

It's going to be another fantastic year of college hockey. Am I right?  Or am I right.

Rank
Chris
Jeff
Nate
Matt
Ryan
Mary
Josh
SBN Rank
1 Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota (70)
2 Union Union Union Union Union Union Union Union (63)
3 Colgate Colgate North Dakota North Dakota North Dakota Colgate Colgate Colgate (53)
4 UMass-Lowell UMass-Lowell Colgate Colgate Colgate North Dakota North Dakota UMass-Lowell (40)
5 St. Cloud State St. Cloud State Providence St. Cloud State UMass-Lowell UMass-Lowell Boston College North Dakota (39)
6 Boston College Boston College UMass-Lowell UMass-Lowell St. Cloud State Boston College Providence St. Cloud State (30)
7 Providence Vermont Ferris State Miami Boston College Providence UMass-Lowell Boston College (28)
8 Miami Providence St. Cloud State Providence Providence St. Cloud State Ferris State Providence (28)
9 Ferris State Alaska Fairbanks Boston College Ferris State Miami Ferris State Miami Ferris State (14)
10 Alaska Fairbanks North Dakota Miami Boston College Ferris State Miami St. Cloud State Miami (13)

1. Minnesota  2-0-0 (70)

Following a weekend sitting idle and enjoying the spoils of a second straight Ice Breaker title, the Gophers (2-0-0, 0-0-0-0 Big Ten) face Bemidji State Friday and Saturday at Mariucci Arena. Hudson Fasching (Buffalo Sabres) scored in both Ice Breaker wins - a 4-3 victory over Minnesota-Duluth and 3-0 win against RPI. Goalie Adam Wilcox (Tampa Bay Lightning) earned his 8th career shutout against the Engineers, tying the junior with Adam Hauser for second-most in Minnesota history.

- Nate Wells

2. Union  4-0-0 (63)

The Dutchmen methodically went about sweeping Maine on the road to improve to 4-0. Rick Bennett's team might not have the high end talent of a season ago, but remain well coached and strong fundamentally. Sophomore Mike Vecchione is off to a hot start as is senior goaltender Colin Stevens.

- Jeff Cox

3. Colgate  3-1-0 (53)

The Raiders completed a non-conference sweep of Hockey East's Northeastern with back-to-back 3-0 victories over the Huskies. Colgate is still missing Tylor Spink due to an unspecified upper body injury, which is hampering their offense a bit, but they don't need a lot of offense when goalie Charlie Finn is averaging 1.01 goals allowed per game, and stopping 96.4% of his shots.

- Chris Dilks

4. UMass-Lowell  2-0-1  (40)

The River Hawks have scored 14 goals against a pair of teams known for particularly strong defenses in Boston College and Quinnipiac, jumping out to a 2-0-1 mark on the season. UML toppled the Bobcats 6-3 on Friday before a 3-3 tie in Hamden, Conn. the following night. In Saturday's game, sophomore Joe Gambardella netted the tying goal with 1:18 left in regulation to keep the River Hawks out of the loss column.

- Joshua Kummins

5. North Dakota  3-1-0 (39)

North Dakota took care of business on the road against a rebuilding Colorado College. They jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead on Friday and cruised to a 3-1 win. On Saturday, they broke out their famous black jerseys and pounded the Tigers 7-2. It was a big weekend for senior forward Mark MacMillan. After being held scoreless in the opening weekend against Bemidji State, MacMillan scored two goals on Friday night and had a hat trick with two assists on Saturday for a seven point weekend. North Dakota will return home next weekend for their biggest non-conference series of the year against Providence.

- Chris Dilks

6. St. Cloud State 1-1-0 (30)

St. Cloud State-The Huskies had a much-needed bye week that allowed some injured forwards to get healthy in advance of a big series on the road next weekend at Union, where they will look to hand the Dutchmen their first loss since January 31st of last season.

- Chris Dilks

t7. Boston College  1-1-0 (28)

After a disappointing start last week at UMass Lowell, the Eagles bounced back with a convincing 6-2 win at RIT on Saturday and silenced a sell-out crowd of 10,556 at Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester. Junior defenseman Teddy Doherty netted a goal, one of four by BC blue liners on the night, and added two assists. BC has lost its last three season openers and five dating back to 2007-08, but recovered to win its second game of the year in each instance.

- Joshua Kummins

t7. Providence  1-1-0 (28)

With a week off from college opposition, PC hosted and tied the US Under-18 team 3-3 on Thursday. The Friars (1-1-0) will need the extra time as Providence faces an early test this weekend in Grand Forks against North Dakota in one of the season's first big college hockey series.

- Nate Wells

9. Ferris State  2-1-0 (14)

The Bulldogs traveled to St. Lawrence over the weekend and came away with a split. Chad McDonald was the overtime hero for the Bulldogs in Friday's 3-2 victory. Ferris State couldn't find much offense on Saturday though, and they fell 2-0.

- Chris Dilks

10. Miami  3-1-0 (13)

The RedHawks swept in-state rival Ohio State in a home-and-home series to improve to 3-1 on the year. Miami went 3/5 on the power play in Friday's 5-1 win. Saturday in Oxford was more dominant in every way besides the score. The RedHawks put 62 shots on goal, defeating OSU 2-1. Senior forward Alex Wideman scored both nights. Miami next hosts St. Lawrence at home before opening up NCHC play on the road against Minnesota-Duluth the following weekend.

- Nate Wells

Friendship Awards

Vermont (4 points), Alaska Fairbanks (3 points)

Agree? Disagree? We want to hear what you think!

Enjoy,