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Evan Marinofsky | | November 1, 2021

Minnesota rises in latest men's hockey Power 10 after sweep of Notre Dame

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There was only one matchup between teams in USCHO's top 20 this weekend. Ironically enough, it had a large impact on this week's Power 10. 

In place of a bunch of ranked teams clashing against one another, which is what we became accustomed to over the past few weeks, lots of inter-conference games took place, also impacting my rankings quite a bit. 

Let's get into it. 

1. St. Cloud State (6-2) | Prev: 1

For the first time in my Power 10 rankings this year, the team at No. 1 the week before stays there a week later. 

Because the Huskies had the weekend off, there's no reason to move them from the top spot. They'll look to stay hot as they head to Colorado Springs for a set with Colorado College next weekend.

2. Minnesota State (6-2) | Prev: 3

The Mavericks looked fresh after a weekend off, sweeping Northern Michigan, winning 4-2 in Game 1 and crushing the Wildcats in Game 2, 7-0.

While Minnesota State got offense from everywhere over the two games, the story of its weekend was goalie Dryden McKay getting his 27th career collegiate shutout, which sets a new DI men's ice hockey record. The previous holder was Michigan State's Ryan Miller with 26. I'd say that's pretty elite company, wouldn't you? 

Next up is a weekend set with Ferris State. 

3. Minnesota Duluth (5-1) | Prev: 2 

Minnesota Duluth had the weekend off. The only reason the Bulldogs dropped down was due to Minnesota State playing extremely well. Next up is a big NCHC matchup with Western Michigan, which will have large implications for the top 10. 

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4. Minnesota (5-3) | Prev: 7 

Allow me to explain why I have Minnesota jumping up this much and ranking higher than Michigan. 

Both squads opened Big Ten play this past weekend. More than likely, Minnesota and Michigan will be the two teams at the top of the Big Ten come the end of the regular season. What we don't know is what that order will be. 

Minnesota comes in at No. 4 this week.

The Golden Gophers looked like a complete team in their sweep of No. 14 Notre Dame this past weekend, picking up victories of 4-1 and 3-2. The Fighting Irish are a legitimate threat this year and Minnesota put together a pair of 60-minute efforts to edge them out over two-straight nights. 

Another important aspect of this past weekend for the Gophers was the return to stellar play for goalie Jack LaFontaine. Last year's Mike Richter award winner stopped 54 of the 57 shots he faced, playing a major role in the sweep. 

5. Michigan (6-2) | Prev: 4

After a loss and an OT win against Western Michigan the week before, the Wolverines had another split this past weekend, skating to a 3-0 win and a 4-2 loss against a Wisconsin team still trying to find its identity. 

The 3-0 win Thursday night was convincing, as Michigan outshot Wisconsin, 41-28, and applied pressure throughout the night. But in the loss Friday, the Wolverines looked like a young team. They had trouble getting high-danger chances and getting to those dirty areas. One of the highest-scoring teams in the nation had trouble getting past two goals and lost because of it. 

However, sophomore phenom forward Kent Johnson did have a spectacular through-the-legs goal in the loss. 

I don't expect Michigan to go past No. 5. I'm picking them to have a bounce-back series against Michigan State next weekend, moving itself back into the top four. 

6. Quinnipiac (5-1-2) | Prev: 5 

The Bobcats had a tough time scoring this weekend against AIC, tying the first night, 1-1, and winning the second, 2-1. 

A lot of those goal-scoring troubles stemmed from terrific goaltending out of AIC. In the tie, redshirt sophomore Jake Kucharski stopped 33 Quinnipiac shots. Graduate student Alec Calvaruso was peppered the following night, stopping 43 shots. Limiting this deep Quinnipiac squad to four goals is no small feat. 

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Next up for Quinnipiac is the start of ECAC play, with Yale Friday and Brown on Saturday. 

7. Western Michigan (5-1) | Prev: 6 

What. A. Comeback. 

Western Michigan was down 5-0 to Colgate halfway through the second period. It looked like a rout and that the win over then-No. 1 Michigan the week before was just one, big fluke. 

And then the Broncos rattled off six goals — three of which came from defenseman Ronnie Attard. It was only the second time in NCHC history a defenseman recorded a hat trick. And judging by the way in which Attard's game-winner found the back of the net with 1:14 left on the clock, this was a meant-to-be win for Western Michigan. 

The following night was just a casual 2-1 win in OT. Ho hum. 

This Broncos team is clearly mentally tough and driven. Beating the No. 1 team in the nation and then coming back from a five-goal deficit against Colgate the next weekend shows this team can overcome adversity. That's big. 

Next up is a huge two-game date at home with Minnesota Duluth. 

8. Providence (6-3) | Prev: 9 

The Friars continued their play against UNH this weekend, scoring a big, 6-1 win Friday night and a 2-1 OT loss on Saturday. The loss wasn't all bad though — they outshot the Wildcats, 32-24. 

Providence has been fairly consistent to start the season. The Friars are beating the teams they're supposed to beat. Their only two other losses came against then-No. 1 Minnesota State and then-No. 5 Minnesota Duluth. This is a good team. 

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These bottom three spots were really up for grabs this week. There could be even more shifting in next week's Power 10 with Providence having a home-and-home with UMass next weekend. 

9. Omaha (7-1) | Prev: NR 

Omaha finally cracks my Power 10 for the first time this season, and rightfully so. The Mavericks were ranked in the USCHO poll last week and after outscoring Long Island 13-1 over two wins on the weekend, I thought it was time they get some recognition after seven-straight wins. The reason they're not ranked higher is because they've yet to face a really good team. 

Omaha jumps into the Power 10 for the first time this season.

Among teams with at least six games played, Omaha is third in the nation in both goals per game (4.5) and total goals (36). They're taking care of business against easier competition. But they're in the NCHC, so they're ultimate test will come Nov. 12 and 13 against St. Cloud State. 

Next up is a weekend set against Miami (OH). 

10. Harvard (2-0) | Prev: NR 

Harvard looked good this weekend. Like, not just regular good. Italics good. 

The Crimson wiped the floor with Dartmouth on Friday night, winning 9-3. Then they took care of Bentley Saturday, posting a 7-3 victory. Some of the numbers after the two games are absurd. 

Junior defenseman Henry Thrun posted eight (8!) points over the two wins, scoring a goal and seven assists. Not only is that tops for Harvard, but that's tied for fourth in the nation in scoring among defensemen and he's played *checks notes* two games. Sophomore forward Sean Farrell tallied seven points on the weekend and freshman forward Matthew Coronato, the 13th overall selection in this summer's NHL Draft, posted three goals and six points on the weekend. 

Coronato's best lamplighter of the weekend came against Bentley when he went off script and took on the entire team by himself. 

Harvard has a lot of potential. This is a team with a great recruiting class and an even better head coach in Ted Donato. If all goes well, I wouldn't be surprised to see this team rise quite a bit in these rankings. 

Up next is a weekend full of ECAC action with a big test in Cornell first and then Colgate right after. 

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