Last week Minnesota State felt the fickleness of the voters when they were dropped from the top of the rankings. This week, it was North Dakota's turn. A split on the road against a team against as good as Nebraska-Omaha is by no means a small feat. But it wasn't good enough to hold the top spot in our rankings.
As the calendar flips to February and we hit the stretch run, we're starting to see a lot more consensus in our rankings. Minnesota State, North Dakota, Boston University, Omaha, and Minnesota Duluth seem to have established themselves as the top five in the country. But there might not be a team playing better hockey right now than Boston College, who has just one loss in their last 12 games and looks poised to continue moving up in the rankings.
|1||Minnesota State||Minnesota State||Minnesota State||Minnesota State||Minnesota State||Minnesota State||Minnesota State||Minnesota State(70)|
|2||North Dakota||North Dakota||North Dakota||North Dakota||North Dakota||North Dakota||North Dakota||North Dakota(63)|
|3||Omaha||Omaha||Boston University||Boston University||Boston University||Boston University||Omaha||Boston University(52)|
|4||Boston University||Boston University||Minnesota Duluth||Omaha||Omaha||Minnesota Duluth||Minnesota Duluth||Omaha (48)|
|5||Minnesota Duluth||Minnesota Duluth||Omaha||Minnesota Duluth||Minnesota Duluth||Omaha||Boston University||Minnesota Duluth(45)|
|6||Michigan Tech||Michigan Tech||Harvard||Michigan Tech||Harvard||Harvard||Michigan Tech||Michigan Tech(29)|
|7||Harvard||Boston College||Miami||Harvard||Miami||Michigan Tech||Bowling Green||Harvard(27)|
|8||Bowling Green||Denver||Bowling Green||Bowling Green||Michigan Tech||Bowling Green||Harvard||Bowling Green(18)|
|9||Miami||Miami||Michigan Tech||Miami||Bowling Green||Miami||Boston College||Miami (17)|
|10||Boston College||Harvard||Boston College||Boston College||Boston College||Boston College||Miami||Boston College(11)|
1. Minnesota State 21-5-1 (70)
The Mavericks bounced back from their North Star College Cup final loss to Bemidji State with a pair of confident-looking 5-1 victories over Ferris State at home. The series was intense, with the two teams dropping the gloves for the second straight year, but Minnesota State has now won all seven meetings against Ferris State since the Bulldogs joined the WCHA last season. Minnesota State's Matt Leitner scored a goal and two assists for his 150th career point, tying him with Miami's Austin Czarnik for top active career scorer in college hockey.
2. North Dakota 19-6-2 (63)
In the biggest series of the weekend, North Dakota traveled to Omaha and earned a tough split against the Mavericks. They fell behind 2-0 in Friday's game, but clawed their way, getting the game-tying goal with under a minute to play on their seventh power play of the game. But North Dakota took two penalties in the overtime and UNO's Austin Ortega converted on the 5-on-3 to give the Mavericks the win. On Saturday, North Dakota would return the favor with an overtime goal from Brendan O'Donnell to earn the series split and stay just a single point behind UNO in the NCHC standings.
3. Boston University 16-4-4 (52)
The Terriers were supposed to have a nice, easy tune-up on Friday night for this week's coming Beanpot clash against Harvard with a game against last-place UMass. But the wild 9-5 game was anything but. UMass scored three straight goals to take a 4-3 lead five minutes into the third period while on a five-minute major power play on an Evan Rodrigues boarding penalty. Rodrigues atoned for his sin, and then some by tallying five assists in the third period after that major penalty to help lead the Terrier comeback.
4. Nebraska-Omaha 16-7-3 (48)
With #1 North Dakota coming into town, Omaha pulled in two huge crowds with over 21,000 people taking in the two games. And those fans were treated to a fantastic series of hockey with two overtime games. The Mavericks couldn't complete the sweep, giving up an overtime goal on Saturday night, but they maintained their slim lead atop the NCHC standings with a huge overtime win on Friday night.
5. Minnesota Duluth 15-10-1 (45)
The Bulldogs dropped a tough one-goal decision on the road to Denver on Friday night, extending their recent mini-slump. The difference in Friday's game was a very close goal/no-goal decision that ultimately went against Minnesota Duluth after there wasn't enough conclusive evidence to give UMD's Adam Krause a goal in the second period. But the Bulldogs showed impressive resolve to bounce back in Saturday's game and earn a 3-1 victory. The quality road win seems to have gotten the Bulldogs back on the right track.
6. Michigan Tech 20-7-1 (29)
Alabama-Huntsville has been a pesky team this year, led by strong goal tending. But Michigan Tech just laid the hurt on the Chargers last weekend. The Huskies netted a 5-0 victory on Friday, and then exploded for an 11-1 victory in Saturday's game. The sweep helped the Huskies keep pace with Minnesota State, who is four points ahead of them in the WCHA standings for first place in the league.
7. Harvard 12-5-2 (27)
Harvard fell to the high-flying but inconsistent Dutchmen of Union 5-4 in their only game of the weekend. The bigger concern for Harvard, however, is their growing injury list, including the loss of their top defenseman, Patrick McNally, for the rest of the regular season.
8. Bowling Green 15-6-5 (18)
Bowling Green became the latest victim of the red-hot Bemidji State Beavers. The Falcons fell on the road in Bemdji by a score of 5-2(including two ENGs for the Beavers). It looked like they would rebound on Saturday with a 2-0 lead late in the game, but the Beavers fought back to tie the game with two goals in the final 10 minutes, including a last-minute game-tying goal, and the game finished in a 2-2 tie.
9. Miami 15-9-1 (17)
Miami only played Western Michigan once this past weekend, fighting to a 3-3 draw. The RedHawks held the lead late in the game, but Colton Hargrove's extra attacker goal tied the game for the Broncos. They only played once because the two teams will conclude their series next weekend when they play outdoors at Chicago's Solider Field as part of the Hockey City Classic.
10. Boston College 16-8-2 (11)
It was a rough start to the season for the Eagles, but since December 1st, the Eagles have the best record in the country at 9-1-2. They added to that total last weekend with a gritty 3-2 victory over Providence thanks to Zach Sanford's third period game-winning goal.