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Evan Marinofsky | | October 11, 2021

College hockey rankings: There's another new No. 1, Quinnipiac leaps ahead and BU falls off in new Power 10

The top storylines to watch in college hockey this year

We’re two weeks into the college hockey season and there’s already some shake-ups within the top 10.

The marquee matchup of the weekend was No. 1 Minnesota State playing a series with No. 2 St. Cloud State. It’s rare we get a glimpse at the two, top-ranked teams in the nation playing each other so early, but here we are.

That series impacted my Power 10 rankings, so let’s dive right in.

All records are through Oct. 10.

1. Minnesota State (3-1) | Previous: 2

While the USCHO rankings had the Mavericks at No. 1 last week, I kept them at No. 2. But after going 3-1 in two games against then-No. 1 UMass and No. 2 St. Cloud State, it’s almost impossible to acknowledge Minnesota State as anything other than No. 1 right now.

Surprise, surprise: goalie Dryden McKay already has two shutouts this season. His 1-0 blanking of the Huskies Friday night tied him with Ryan Miller for most shutouts in NCAA DI men’s hockey history. I’d expect him to hold that record for himself sometime soon.

Minnesota State is the No. 1 team in the country.

Even in their 3-1 loss to St. Cloud State Saturday night, the Mavericks still held the advantage in shots, 23-19.

Next up for Minnesota State is the Ice Breaker tournament, where it will have two tests — one with Providence and one with either No. 3 Michigan or No. 5 Minnesota Duluth. If the Mavericks keep that No. 1 ranking after this slate of games, watch out.

2. St. Cloud State (3-1) | Previous: 1

Even after being offensively stifled in Game 1 against Minnesota State, the Huskies did a great job at finding ways to score on McKay in Game 2, winning 3-1.

St. Cloud State showed promise Saturday night, getting some of its best players to step up. Nolan Walker and Mason Salquist scored early in the contest. Veeti Miettinen, a skater I tabbed as a player to watch this season, put up a power play tally.

Next up is a weekend tilt with Minnesota.

3. Michigan (2-0) | Previous: 3

The Wolverines couldn’t stop scoring this past weekend, winning 6-1 and 7-4 over Lake Superior State. Including its exhibition game against Bowling Green, Michigan is outscoring opponents 20-6 to begin the year.

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We'll get our best look at the boys in maize and blue in the Ice Breaker tournament next weekend when they face Minnesota Duluth the first night and either Providence or Minnesota State the following evening.

4. Minnesota (2-0) | Previous: 4

The Gophers swept Mercyhurst in their first two games of the season this past weekend. They took the first game convincingly, winning 7-4.

The next night wasn’t so easy, as Mercyhurst took a quick 2-0 lead in the first period, forcing Minnesota to play from behind for a bit. The Gophers eventually tied it, gave up another goal to go behind 3-2 and then rattled off three straight to win 5-3.

A little adversity never hurt any team early in the year, right?

That adversity isn’t ending anytime soon with a big series against St. Cloud State up next and then another with Minnesota Duluth the following weekend.

The Bulldogs got two wins over Bemidji State this weekend.

5. Minnesota Duluth (2-0) | Previous: 6

Minnesota Duluth got the exact start to the season it was looking for, sweeping No. 15 Bemidji State this past weekend.

A 4-2 win and a 2-1 win don’t exactly jump off the page, but the Beavers are a very good team and to narrowly edge them out on the scoreboard while also outplaying them is a great sign for the Bulldogs.

Next up is that Ice Breaker tournament. Game 1 with Michigan will have huge implications for the top five.

6. Quinnipiac (1-0-1) | Previous: 9

The Bobcats were involved in a different Ice Breaker tournament this past weekend and while No. 6 Boston College won the whole thing, Quinnipiac had the more impressive performances.

Its first matchup came with BC and ended in a 2-2 tie. For tournament purposes, they had a shootout to decide it and the Eagles won, however the Bobcats controlled play for most of the game, outshooting BC 33-19.

The next night featured a 3-0 win over No. 18 Northeastern. Senior defenseman TJ Friedmann posted two goals in his team’s first victory of the season and sophomore goalie Yaniv Perets got his first collegiate win and shutout.

Quinnipiac is deep and has a lot of veterans. If Perets can hold up in net, we’re going to be talking about the Bobcats a lot here throughout the season.

7. Boston College (1-0-1) | Previous: 7

As stated earlier, the Eagles won the Ice Breaker tournament hosted by Holy Cross this past weekend, getting the shootout win over Quinnipiac and beating Holy Cross handily Saturday night, 5-1.

Grad transfer Brandon Kruse had a goal in the big win. Senior forward Marc McLaughin posted two. Both of them are going to be big if the Eagles want to maintain a top 10 placement during the season.

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Next up for BC is its first Hockey East matchup of the season, as it faces Northeastern at home Friday night.

8. North Dakota (2-0) | Previous: 8

The Fighting Hawks outscored Niagara 10-2 in two games this past weekend, which is a great sign for a team who lost its three-leading scorers from last season.

Junior forward Ashton Calder had two goals in the 6-2 win Friday, while freshman forward Jake Schmaltz potted a pair in the 4-0 win Saturday. Senior goalie Zach Driscoll looked really good as well, stopping 36 of 38 shots and recording a shutout.

And once again, sophomore defenseman Jake Sanderson had a highlight-reel goal. 

Next up is Bemidji State this Friday and Saturday.

9. UMass (0-2) | Previous: 5

UMass didn’t play this weekend, which could be a very good thing for it in hindsight. The Minutemen will face No. 20 AIC this weekend, having had two weeks to regroup and prepare a rebound after being swept by Minnesota State to open the season. 

10. Providence (3-0) | Previous: NR

After Boston University lost to UConn, 5-1, Saturday night, this spot was either going to Providence or Denver. The Pioneers beat Arizona State twice, while the Friars had no issue taking care of Merrimack, 5-2, and a ranked AIC team, 5-1.

The Friars have posted 17 goals in three games, with sophomore forward Brett Berard and junior forward Parker Ford leading the way with three goals each. In net, junior Jaxson Stauber has been outstanding, stopping 69 of the 72 shots he’s faced.

Providence earns a spot on the Power 10 for the first time this season.

Next up is Minnesota State next weekend in the Ice Breaker tournament in Duluth, Minnesota. Then it’s either Minnesota Duluth or Michigan in Game 2.

Here’s the deal: Providence will either shoot up these rankings after those games or fall off them. Those are two big, early-season games.

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