For the first time in the history of these men's college hockey Power 10 rankings, less than three of the top 4 teams are from Minnesota.
It is a pretty big deal for the one non-Minnesota team – who we'll get to in a bit – to make that well-deserved jump into the top four. This school has had a terrific start to the season, but has yet to cross the No. 5 ranking in the Power 10.
Let's see who made that jump into the top four and what the rest of the top 10 looks like after this weekend's action.
Spoiler alert: There was a lot of movement in the bottom three.
1. Michigan (10-2) | Prev: 2
It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Wolverines are back in my No. 1 spot. This team is stacked and it's playing like it.
Michigan swept No. 19 Penn State this weekend, with 5-1 and 6-2 wins. In its last four games, Michigan outscored its opponents 21-7. Ever since splitting two weekend series with Western Michigan and Wisconsin, the Wolverines have been dynamite.
Six different Wolverines players are averaging more than a point per game. They are Kent Johnson (20), Owen Power (18), Matty Beniers (15), Brendan Brisson (13), Luke Hughes (13) and Thomas Bordeleau (12). Beniers leads the team in goals with nine and Johnson's 20 points are tied for the league-lead.
Bordeleau snaps his goal skid with this rip from Hughes and Power pic.twitter.com/V1yn0fqkQj— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) November 13, 2021
Next on the schedule is a weekend set at home with a Notre Dame team that's also riding a four-game win streak.
2. St. Cloud State (9-3) | Prev: 1
Moving the Huskies down from No. 1 was a really tough call. It was a combination of a 3-2 OT loss to No. 11 Omaha Saturday night and the dominating way in which Michigan has been playing.
St. Cloud State is still really good. It got a big, 5-1 win over Omaha the night before the overtime loss. Even in the loss, the Huskies outshot the Mavericks, 45-29. Forwards Veeti Miettinen and Easton Brodzinski both registered two goals in the win Friday night.
Things won't get any easier, as next up is a weekend set at Western Michigan.
3. Minnesota State (9-3) | Prev: 3
Minnesota State had a huge weekend against Bowling Green, beating the Falcons 9-2 Friday night and 5-3 on Saturday. The Mavericks stay at No. 3 mainly because of how well St. Cloud State and Michigan have been playing.
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Junior forward Cade Borchardt registered a hat trick in the 9-2 rout. But the key cog in the Minnesota State offense has been fellow junior forward Nathan Smith, who leads the team in points with 17 and who posted four over the weekend.
Up next is a home series with St. Thomas on Thursday and Saturday.
4. Quinnipiac (9-1-2) | Prev: 5
Here it is, everyone. Here is the team that made the jump into the top four. With the way the Bobcats were playing, it was only a matter of time.
Quinnipiac swept Arizona State last weekend, coming back from a three-goal deficit to win 5-3 on Friday. Senior forward Wyatt Bongiovanni and sophomore forward Ty Smilanic both registered two goals in the comeback. The Bobcats won again on Saturday, 5-2. Even though there was no crazy comeback, graduate transfer Oliver Chau potted a hat trick.
This team has won five in a row and it hasn't lost since Oct. 23, against then-No. 6 North Dakota. The Bobcats are one of the best defensive teams in the nation and last weekend, they got the offense they needed. Put those two together and they're easily a top-four team.
5. Minnesota Duluth (7-2-1) | Prev: 4
The Bulldogs secured a great, 5-0 win over Colorado College on Friday night, but came away with a 0-0 tie the following night. However, they did win in a shootout. That gives them an extra point in the NCHC standings, which makes a huge difference when you consider how tight the top of the NCHC will be at the season's end.
Despite the disappointing result in Game 2, junior goalie Ryan Fanti has three straight shutouts. He hasn't allowed a goal since Nov. 5 and has stopped all 84 shots he's faced over those three games. That's incredible.
Minnesota Duluth will be looking for Fanti to stay at his best when it heads to Grand Forks, North Dakota, for a weekend set with the Fighting Hawks. That will have huge implications for next week's Power 10, as well as the NCHC standings.
6. North Dakota (8-3) | Prev: 9
After a big sweep of Denver, North Dakota got another sweep this past weekend. This time, it came over Miami (OH), with 4-1 and 5-4 wins.
Surprise, surprise: The most impressive player on the weekend was sophomore defenseman Jake Sanderson. The offensive dynamo produced six points over the two games, most notably two goals in the Friday night win. He ranks second in the nation for points (15) among all defensemen.
The only one ahead of him? Owen Power.
It's going to be a battle all season between those two to take home the title of the best defenseman in college hockey. Before that happens, just take a second to appreciate how absurd this shift was from Sanderson in Saturday's game.
Jake Sanderson might need to use his free COVID year and stay all five years in college. Not sure he's going to be ready for the next level for a while. pic.twitter.com/QPvVBTqxLR— Brad Elliott Schlossman (@SchlossmanGF) November 14, 2021
North Dakota could move up in these rankings quite a bit with good performances next weekend against Minnesota Duluth.
7. Minnesota (7-5) | Prev: 5
The Golden Gophers have been a bit inconsistent to begin the season and that was on full display this past weekend when they split a series with a sneaky good Ohio State team.
Friday night was disappointing for Minnesota. After rattling off three goals in the first period, the Gophers proceeded to give up four over the rest of the game and never score again which, if you do the math, comes to a 4-3 loss.
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Saturday night was much better, as Minnesota got a 2-0 win behind a 13-save shutout from Jack LaFontaine.
Next up is a weekend set with Penn State. This is a great chance for Minnesota to play with consistency against a very good opponent.
8. Omaha (9-3) | Prev: NR
Welcome back to my Power 10, Omaha. After falling out of the rankings last week, the Mavericks find themselves back here after beating the No. 1 team in the nation. It doesn't matter that they lost, 5-1, the night before. You beat the No. 1 team in the nation and you'll find a spot in here.
Omaha got a sweet OT-winner Saturday night from senior forward Taylor Ward. Even better was the pass from grad student forward Brannon McManus, who threaded the puck perfectly to Ward just in time to save it from being called offside.
Up next is a trip to Alaska for a weekend set with Alaska Fairbanks. The Mavericks have already beaten the Nanooks twice this season.
9. Denver (6-4) | Prev: NR
And welcome back to my Power 10, Denver. It's hard to put a team in the top 10 after four straight losses, but those all came against ranked opponents: Providence, Boston College and North Dakota twice. The Pioneers righted the ship last weekend with two wins over No. 9 Western Michigan.
Denver was down 1-0 in both games against the Broncos, but came back strong each time. Sophomore forward Carter Savoie was vital, scoring four goals over the two wins. His 10 goals on the season place him second in the nation.
Up next is Miami (OH), which is a great chance for the Pioneers to build off last weekend's winning ways.
10. UMass (6-3-1) | Prev: 8
The Minutemen hang onto this ranking by the tips of their fingers after tying Boston University Friday night (later winning in a shootout) and losing to the Terriers in overtime the next night, 4-3.
These weren't the results this squad was looking for after sweeping Providence last weekend, but there are some signs of optimism in areas that were question marks heading into this season. Freshmen defensemen Scott Morrow and Ryan Ufko have been terrific of late. In Saturday's game, Morrow sauced a ridiculous pass to Bobby Trivigno for a goal. Ufko followed it up with his first collegiate goal.
What's unfortunate for UMass is it will be without star center Josh Lopina until after Christmas, according to head coach Greg Carvel.
Up next is a weekend set with New Hampshire.