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College Hockey Rankings: Minnesota State Starts New Year #1

Matt Christians

The holidays are always a strange time of year for college hockey. Some teams play a lot; some teams don't play at all. Games are played on weird days of the week, there are tournaments. Attendance and atmosphere can be iffy with no students around. But our staff sorted through all the results and here's how this week's poll shook out as we head into the business end of the season.

Rank
Chris
Jeff
Nate
Ryan
Mary
Josh
SBN Rank
1 Minnesota Duluth Harvard Minnesota State Minnesota State Minnesota State Minnesota State Minnesota State(58)
2 Minnesota State Minnesota State Harvard Minnesota Duluth Minnesota Duluth Harvard Minnesota Duluth(51)
3 North Dakota Minnesota Duluth Minnesota Duluth North Dakota North Dakota Minnesota Duluth Harvard(48)
4 Harvard Boston University North Dakota Harvard Harvard North Dakota North Dakota (42)
5 Boston University UMass Lowell Boston University Boston University Boston University Boston University Boston University(37)
6 Miami Miami Miami Miami Miami Miami Miami (30)
7 Omaha North Dakota Omaha Omaha UMass Lowell UMass Lowell UMass Lowell(23)
8 UMass Lowell Omaha UMass Lowell UMass Lowell Omaha Bowling Green Omaha(20)
9 Bowling Green Bowling Green Minnesota Bowling Green Boston College Omaha Bowling Green(7)
10 Minnesota Boston College Vermont Minnesota Bowling Green Boston College Minnesota/Boston College(tie)(4)

1. Minnesota State 14-4-1 (58)

The Mavericks started 2015 with a road trip to Marquette where they took three of four points against the Wildcats. In Saturday's overtime, the Mavericks did not allow a shot on goal, despite being short-handed with four and a half minutes of the five minute overtime. The tie, combined with other WCHA teams struggling in non-conference play dropped the Mavericks from the top overall spot in the Pairwise Rankings.

-Chris Dilks

2. Minnesota Duluth 12-6-0 (51)

The Bulldogs didn't play any real games over the long winter break, but did travel north up Highway 61 for a pair of exhibition games against Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The Bulldogs won both games, but more importantly, got an opportunity to shake off the holiday rust ahead of their very important series next weekend at North Dakota.

-Chris Dilks

3. Harvard 10-1-2 (48)

The Crimson won their only game over the holidays against RPI. Harvard fell behind 2-1 after twenty minutes, but outscored the Engineers 5-0 over the game's final forty minutes to get the victory. Harvard now has the best winning percentage in the country. They only play once again next weekend, but it's a big one, as they will take on rival Yale at Madison Square Garden in the Rivalry on Ice.

-Chris Dilks

4. North Dakota 13-4-2 (42)

North Dakota's only action of the holiday season was to defeat the NTDP U18 team 7-2 in an exhibition last Saturday. North Dakota will play Minnesota Duluth next weekend for the only time this regular season in a series that should have huge implications on the top of the NCHC standings.

-Chris Dilks

5. Boston University 11-3-3 (37)

Jack Eichel was back from the World Juinors in time for Saturday's game against Union--BU's only game during the break--but Eichel sat out the Terriers 3-3 tie against Union. The Terriers fell behind 3-2 with just under six minutes remaining, but Evan Rodrigues notched the game-tying goal shortly after to even the score. The Terriers will fly halfway across the country next weekend to face Wisconsin.

-Chris Dilks

6. Miami 14-6-0 (30)

Miami's trip to sunny Florida for the Florida College Classic got off to a rough start  when they gave up a late overtime goal to Notre Dame in a 3-2 loss, but the RedHawks rebounded to shutout Cornell 3-0 in the consolation game. Last weekend, Miami won a pair of games on the road against a struggling RPI team.

-Chris Dilks

7. UMass Lowell 14-3-3 (23)

Dyan Zink scored three goals in two games for the River Hawks, which claimed its second holiday tournament of the yearSaturday at the Mariucci Classic. UMass-Lowell started off by beating RIT 7-3 before handing fellow Hockey East member Merrimack a 3-1 loss in the tournament championship. Next up is a conference game Saturday on the road against UConn in Hartford.

-Nate Wells

8. Omaha 12-5-3 (20)

The Mavericks hosted a pair of home series against Alabama-Huntsville and New Hampshire, and had trouble dispatching their lower-ranked opponents. After winning a tight game the first night against UAH, the Mavericks needed a late comeback, including an extra-attacker goal in the final minute of regulation to scrape out a tie against the Chargers. Against New Hampshire, they came from behind again and got an overtime goal from Austin Ortega to steal a 2-1 victory. Playing with fire eventually got the Mavericks burned though, when they lost 6-2 to New Hampshire in the second game of the series.

-Chris Dilks

9. Bowling Green 12-3-3 (7)

The Falcons played an outdoor game against Robert Morris at Toledo's Fifth Third Ballpark. Rain and unseasonably warm weather made the game a wet slopfest that eventually ended in a 2-2 tie. An ECHL game schedule for later in the day was eventually postponed until Sunday. On Sunday night, the series moved indoors to Pittsburgh where the Falcons looked much better in a 4-1 victory.

-Chris Dilks

10. Minnesota 10-5-1, Boston College 11-7-1 (4)

The Gophers put up a combined 91 shots on goal in two games, but it took a Kyle Rau overtime winner to get a victory on the weekend at the Mariucci Classic. Minnesota fell 3-2 Friday in Minneapolis to Merrimack (the first time a team other than UMD has beat the Gophers at Mariucci Arena since March 2013) behind 40 saves by Warriors goalie Rasmus Tirronen. A night later the team won by the same score in OT against RIT. Minnesota next resumes conference play this weekend when it travels to Michigan.

-Nate Wells

Boston College started the new year on the right foot by winning a pair of games at Dartmouth's Ledyard Bank Classic over Brown and host Dartmouth. It's been a rocky start to the season, but the Eagles are a team that could surge in the second half of the season.

-Chris Dilks