Oct. 18, 2010

By Jennifer Gunnels

Many of the nation's top men's ice hockey teams asserted their dominance in weekend play, proving their place among the elite teams in the country.

Standing atop last week's USA TODAY/USA Hockey standings, the Boston College Eagles remained unbeaten in two road games at No. 8 Denver, sweeping the Pioneers by scores of 6-2 and 3-0. The No. 2-ranked North Dakota Fighting Sioux spoiled Bemidji State's opening festivities at the Bemidji Regional Events Center with back-to-back 5-2 wins against their newest Western Collegiate Hockey Association conference foes.

Last week's No. 3 Michigan Wolverines and No. 9 New Hampshire Wildcats faced off in a Saturday matchup at New Hampshire where Michigan's senior goaltender Shawn Hunwick made a career-high 45 saves to hold the Wildcats and seal a 3-3 tie.

"I think [Shawn] Hunwick, our goalie, kept us in the game," said Michigan head coach Red Berenson. "It was a game of special teams, obviously. There were times I thought our team played well, but [New Hampshire] is a real good team. These are the kinds of teams that you hope you get to play later this year."

No. 4 Miami scored six unanswered goals against No. 11 St. Cloud State on Friday night, eventually taking the first game of the series by a score of 6-2. The Redhawks and Huskies finished in a stalemate in the second contest of the series at 1-1.

The Black Bears of Maine skated to a 4-4 tie with Michigan State on Thursday in East Lansing before falling to the Spartans 3-2 on Friday. The loss came despite two goals by junior forward Spencer Abbott in a span of 10 seconds, setting a new school record for fastest two goals. The No. 6 Black Bears fell to 1-1-2 on the season after the weekend series.

No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth swept Providence in its weekend series, remaining unbeaten at 3-0-1 on the season. The Bulldogs dominated their home ice, outscoring the Friars 12-4 in the series. The Boston University Terriers couldn't hold on to an early 2-0 lead and eventually skated to a 2-2 tie with visiting Massachusetts on Saturday when two third-period Minutemen goals sent the game into a scoreless overtime.

It was a battle of the unbeatens in Minneapolis as the Golden Gophers hosted new WCHA conference opponent Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks pulled out two impressive road wins, beating the Golden Gophers by scores of 5-4 and 4-2. The No. 13 Golden Gophers were playing catch-up all weekend as the Mavericks jumped out to early leads in both games. No. 14 Alaska improved to 3-1 on the season, defeating Union and Colorado College to take its second consecutive Brice Alaska Goal Rush tournament title. The No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers downed Alabama-Huntsville in their weekend series by scores of 7-0 and 5-2 on home ice. The Badgers' senior forward Jordy Murray completed his first career hat trick on Sunday in front of 11,731 fans.

"I am not surprised," said Wisconsin head coach Mark Eaves. "These are the types of things [Jordy Murray] can do, and the types of things he can provide for this team."

Results from October 11-17 for Teams in the USA TODAY/USA Hockey Poll

1. Boston College - won at Denver, 6-2, won at Denver, 3-0.

2. North Dakota - won at Bemidji State, 5-2; won at Bemidji State, 5-2.

3. Michigan - tied at New Hampshire, 3-3.

4. Miami (Ohio) - won at St. Cloud State, 6-3; tied at St. Cloud State, 1-1.

5. Yale - DNP.

6. Maine - tied at Michigan State 4-4; lost at Michigan State, 3-2.

7. Minnesota Duluth - beat Providence, 5-3; beat Providence, 7-1.

8. Denver - lost to Boston College, 6-2; lost to Boston College, 3-0.

9. New Hampshire - tied Michigan 3-3.

10. Boston University - tied Massachusetts, 2-2.

11. St. Cloud State - lost to Miami (Ohio), 6-3; tied Miami (Ohio), 1-1).

12. Cornell - DNP.

13. Minnesota - lost to Nebraska-Omaha, 5-4; lost to Nebraska-Omaha, 4-2.

14. Alaska - beat Union (N.Y.), 2-1; beat Colorado College, 2-1.

15. Wisconsin - beat Alabama-Huntsville, 7-0; beat Alabama-Huntsville, 5-2.