This is the fourth men's ice hockey Power 10 of the season and already, it's the third time there's been a new No. 1.
That's how wild the season has been so far.
There has also been a ton of volatility outside the top three. It's been a treat to see so many of those teams play each other this quickly into the season. This past weekend, No. 4 Minnesota played a weekend series with No. 5 Minnesota Duluth. No. 6. North Dakota had two games against No. 7 Quinnipiac. No. 8 Denver took a trip to the East Coast and played both No. 10 Boston College and No. 12 Providence.
Those results, which we'll get to in a bit, changed so many things about this week's Power 10.
Let's dive in, shall we?
1. St. Cloud State (6-2) | Previous: 2
The Huskies were No. 1 on my first Power 10 rankings of the season back on Oct. 4 and they're back at the top now.
A combination of things has St. Cloud State in the first spot. No. 1 Michigan's 5-2 loss to No. 17 Western Michigan removed the Wolverines from their perch atop college hockey. So, someone had to move up. That someone is the Huskies, who swept Wisconsin this past weekend, outscoring it 9-2. Forwards Kevin Fitzgerald and Easton Brodzinski potted two goals apiece in the wins.
With splits over Minnesota State and Minnesota, as well as the second-lowest goals-allowed average per game in the nation (1.38), the Huskies are a strong selection for No. 1.
After getting a breather next weekend, St. Cloud State will get a weekend set with Colorado College starting Nov. 5.
2. Minnesota Duluth (5-1) | Previous: 7
After a tough, 5-1 loss against then-No. 3 Michigan last weekend, the Bulldogs roared back this past weekend with a sweep of No. 4 Minnesota, winning at Minnesota Friday night, 5-3, and then winning at home on Saturday, 2-1.
The Bulldogs got goals from all over the lineup, getting lamplighters from six different players, including two from forward Blake Biondi. One of those was the eventual game-winner Saturday night.
The two wins over the Golden Gophers this weekend catapults Duluth higher in these rankings and will have big implications come spring.
3. Minnesota State (4-2) | Previous: 3
The Mavericks don't move from last week's Power 10 ranking since they didn't play this past weekend. Next up is a CCHA series with Northern Michigan next weekend.
4. Michigan (5-1) | Previous: 1
The Wolverines had a rough, 5-2 loss Friday night to No. 17 Western Michigan. They followed it up with a 3-2 win Saturday when senior defenseman Nick Blankenburg scored the OT-winner.
The OT game winner from Nick Blankenburg! pic.twitter.com/lswro16Dtj— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) October 24, 2021
Was Friday a bad loss for Michigan? Yes. Is it the end of the world? No. It's an early-season defeat that Michigan will likely build from and it's a really good team that will compete for that No. 1 spot all season.
Next up is a series with Wisconsin beginning this Thursday.
5. Quinnipiac (3-1-1) | Previous: 5
This past weekend's series with No. 6 North Dakota was a terrific chance for the college hockey world to see if Quinnipiac is legit. It's safe to say the Bobcats are.
They got a big, 5-2 win at home against the Fighting Hawks on Friday. Even though they lost Game 2, 3-1, they outshot North Dakota, 36-19, controlling play and earning ample scoring chances. Quinnipiac forward Oliver Chau had two goals in the win.
RANKINGS: Here's the latest USCHO poll
Up next is a mid-week matchup with Holy Cross on Tuesday. After that is a weekend series with AIC Friday and Saturday.
6. Western Michigan (3-1) | Previous: NR
Welcome to my Power 10, Western Michigan. Didn't see you entering in this early, but glad to have you.
Western Michigan jumps from No. 17 in the latest USCHO ranking to No. 6 in this Power 10. The Broncos shocked the college hockey world when they took down Michigan handily, 5-2, on Friday night. But they made a statement when they hung around with the Wolverines Saturday, coming back from down 2-0 to tie it. They eventually lost, 3-2, in OT.
The Broncos play in the stacked NCHC. To understand how difficult their schedule is, consider this: 17 of their remaining 30 games come against teams ranked in the top 10 of last week's USCHO poll. They play Minnesota Duluth, Denver, St. Cloud State and North Dakota four times each.
Add in a date with Michigan at the Great Lakes Invitational Showcase, and this is a team that's going to be as battle-tested as any come spring.
7. Minnesota (3-3) | Previous: 4
Minnesota had a tough weekend, as it was swept by Minnesota Duluth. The Gophers have had a tough last four games against two really good opponents in Duluth and St. Cloud State, going 1-3. Senior goaltender Jack LaFontaine, the Mike Richter award winner last season, has been far from himself early on this season. His goals against average of 3.21 ranks 48th out of 50 in the nation. If Minnesota wants to push back into the top five, it's going to need LaFontaine to be much more stellar.
Next up is the beginning of Big Ten play with a weekend series against a good Notre Dame team that's ranked No. 13 in the nation.
8. North Dakota (4-2) | Previous: 8
The Fighting Hawks don't move from last week's Power 10 ranking after splitting an away weekend series with Quinnipiac. Goalie Zach Driscoll was North Dakota's most impressive player in the Game 2 win, stopping 35 of 36 shots from the Bobcats.
Next up is the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame game against Penn State this Saturday night in Nashville, Tennessee. After that, things get much tougher with NCHC play beginning.
9. Providence (5-2) | Previous: NR
After a tough showing in the Ice Breaker tournament Oct. 15 and 16, the Friars did their best to rebound with a 6-5 win over No. 8 Denver and a 2-0 victory at New Hampshire. In the high-scoring win over Denver, sophomore Nick Poisson registered a hat trick and an assist. Sophomore Brett Berard potted a goal and two assists on the weekend. Both second-year forwards lead Providence with 10 points apiece.
Next up are more games with UNH, as the two squads face off for a home-and-home this weekend.
10. Boston College (3-2-1) | Previous: 9
The Eagles fell to Colorado College, 5-3, at home on Friday night. Any other time that would spell a removal from this list. But Boston College did exactly what it needed to do to maintain its spot on this list — earn a convincing win over Denver the next night. And that's exactly what it did, beating the Pioneers, 5-1. Sophomore forward Nikita Nesterenko registered a big weekend, scoring three goals over two games.
To rise up on this list, BC needs to be more consistent. It surprised onlookers that after losing, 6-2, to Bentley two Saturdays ago, the Eagles didn't come out looking sharper against Colorado College the following game.
Next up is a weekend series with Vermont that should provide BC the perfect opportunity to find that consistency.