Last weekend felt a bit like the calm before the storm. Most of the top ten either had the weekend off, or rolled past out-matched opponents, which meant not a lot of movement in the polls. But there are now officially four weeks left in the regular season and things should really begin to heat up.
The NCHC and WCHA dominate this week's poll, with eight of the ten teams. But with every NCHC team playing conference games from here to the end of the season, and the WCHA's top two representatives, Minnesota State and Michigan Tech making tough treks to Alaska, before meeting each other in three weeks, there should be a lot more movement as we head toward the playoff season.
|1||Minnesota State||Minnesota State||Minnesota State||Minnesota State||Minnesota State||Minnesota State||Minnesota State(60)|
|2||North Dakota||North Dakota||North Dakota||North Dakota||North Dakota||North Dakota||North Dakota(54)|
|3||Omaha||Omaha||Boston University||Boston University||Boston University||Boston University||Boston University (46)|
|4||Boston University||Boston University||Minnesota Duluth||Omaha||Omaha||Omaha||Omaha(43)|
|5||Minnesota Duluth||Minnesota Duluth||Omaha||Michigan Tech||Minnesota Duluth||Minnesota Duluth||Minnesota Duluth (36)|
|6||Michigan Tech||Michigan Tech||Miami||Minnesota Duluth||Michigan Tech||Michigan Tech||Michigan Tech(28)|
|7||Bowling Green||Denver||Bowling Green||Bowling Green||Denver||Denver||Bowling Green/Miami(19)|
|9||Providence||Bowling Green||Michigan Tech||Providence||Miami||Bowling Green||Denver (13)|
|10||Denver||Boston College||Providence||Boston College||Boston College||Boston College||Providence (5)|
1. Minnesota State 23-5-1 (60)
The Mavericks played their first ever home series as the top-ranked team in the nation and held serve against Alaska-Anchorage, who is currently in last place in the WCHA, and stayed four points ahead of Michigan Tech in the WCHA title race. In Saturday's game, Minnesota State outshot the Seawolves 53-12 in a 4-0 victory. Goalie Stephon Williams earned his eighth career shutout, making him the school's all-time leader in career shutout victories.
2. North Dakota 19-6-2 (54)
North Dakota had last weekend off. Next weekend, they'll host Denver as they begin what should be an exciting stretch run in NCHC play.
3. Boston University 18-4-4 (46)
The Terriers survived a record-setting performance from Harvard goalie Stephen Michalek in the Beanpot semifinal to advance with a 4-3 double overtime victory. On Friday, they earned a 5-2 road victory at UMass Lowell. Jack Eichel was held off the scoresheet in his first Beanpot game, but picked up three assists in the win over the Riverhawks.
4. Nebraska-Omaha 16-7-3 (43)
Omaha got their last bye week of the season this past weekend, as all eight NCHC teams play the final month of the season. UNO's race to the finish begins next weekend when Western Michigan comes to town.
5. Minnesota Duluth 17-10-1 (36)
The Bulldogs finished up non-conference play with a home series that they swept against Northern Michigan. UMD dominated the series, winning 3-1 and 6-3, and outshooting the Wildcats 85-35 on the weekend. Captain Adam Krause was the star on Saturday with a four-point game.
6. Michigan Tech 22-7-1 (28)
Bemidji State had knocked off three teams ranked in the top ten in the country over the past two weeks, but Michigan Tech was determined not to be the fourth. On Friday, the Huskies got a late tie-breaking goal from Dylan Steman to get a 3-1 victory. On Saturday, it was senior captain Tanner Kero's turn to break a 1-1 tie late in the third period to give the Huskies a 2-1 win. The sweep helped Michigan Tech keep pace with Minnesota State in the WCHA standings. Both teams will travel to Alaska next weekend(though MTU will be without Cliff Watson for the first game, then have a bye week before meeting in a series in Mankato that could decide the WCHA title.
7. Bowling Green 17-6-5/Miami 16-9-1 (19)
Bowling Green fell behind Ferris State in both game this weekend, but managed to get goals in the third period of both games to earn a series sweep. The Falcons will meet Ferris State again next weekend, this time on the road.
Miami's only game this weekend was outdoors at Soldier Field against Western Michigan. The game was delayed two hours due to warm temperatures and sun shine making the ice unplayable. They eventually got the game underway though. Miami built a 4-0 lead before Western Michigan came charging back. The Broncos cut the lead to 4-3 in the game's final minute, but Miami hung on for the one-goal win.
9. Denver 16-9-1 (13)
The Pioneers took the second game of the Gold Pan rivalry with a 3-0 win over Colorado College. The Pioneers sit in fifth place in the NCHC, but would pass second place North Dakota if they managed to sweep North Dakota at North Dakota next weekend.
10. Providence 17-9-2 (5)
It's too bad for the Friars that series aren't decided on aggregate scoring. Providence battled to a 2-2 tie on the road at Connecticut mid-week last week, before exploding on the Huskies for 10 goals in a 10-1 victory at home. Eight different players scored a goal for the Friars in the win, including a hat trick for Nick Saracino.