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Evan Marinofsky | | November 29, 2021

Michigan is back at No. 1 in latest men's hockey Power 10 rankings

Behind Easton Brodzinski's inspiring return to St. Cloud State hockey, after breaking his leg

While some teams had the weekend after Thanksgiving off, enough schools played to make it a very interesting batch of games. 

Then-No. 6 North Dakota and then-No. 11 Minnesota was the most high-flying matchup of the bunch, and that certainly had an impact on this week's rankings. Minnesota State led last week in both the Power 10 and the USCHO poll, but lost a game this weekend, leading to a very familiar team reclaiming their perch atop the college hockey mountain. 

Here we go. 

1. Michigan (12-4-0) | Prev: 2

The Wolverines are back at No. 1 after a dominant weekend sweep of Niagara, outscoring the Purple Eagles 10-2 over the two games. Senior defenseman Nick Blankenburg registered a big weekend, potting three goals and two assists in the wins. 

Sophomore defenseman Owen Power tallied three assists on the weekend, while sophomore forward Kent Johnson put up two. They're tied for second in the nation in points with 23 each. 

I expect Michigan to be up here for most of the season. On paper, it's the best team in the country. It just comes down to whether or not the Wolverines play like it. 

Up next is a massive Big Ten matchup with Minnesota. 

2. Minnesota State (12-4-0) | Prev: 1 

It's always tough moving a team out of the No. 1 spot for one loss, especially one by a final of 1-0. But the margin for error is so small in college hockey rankings that one minor slip moves teams down. Fortunately for the Mavericks, they're still in the top two. 

They split a series with Lake Superior State this past weekend, losing the first game, 1-0, and winning Game 2, 3-0. In typical Minnesota State fashion, both games featured strong defense. Star goaltender Dryden McKay was out for Friday night's game, opening the door for freshman Keenan Rancier to make his NCAA debut. He stopped nine of 10 shots in the loss. 

RANKINGS: Here's the latest USCHO poll

McKay came back for Game 2, getting a five-save shutout. Yes, the Mavericks stingy defense only allowed five shots. 

Next up is a weekend set with Michigan Tech. 

3. Minnesota Duluth (10-3-1) | Prev: 4 

The Bulldogs put together a solid weekend at home against Alaska Fairbanks, winning Game 1, 5-1, and Game 2, 1-0. That second game was a bit of a nail-biter, as Minnesota Duluth needed overtime to win it. That's when senior forward Noah Cates tallied the winner. 

An interesting thing about the Bulldogs is they are No. 1 in USCHO's PairWise ranking. PairWise tries its best to apply the method the Selection Committee uses to put teams in the NCAA tournament. It's obvious, but being No. 1 in that is a very good thing for Minnesota Duluth. 

4. St. Cloud State (9-5) | Prev: 3 

The Huskies had this past weekend off after being swept by Western Michigan the weekend prior. 

COMEBACK FOR THE AGES: Read about Easton Brodzinski's journey back from a broken leg 

Next up is a huge NCHC set with North Dakota that will have quite the impact on next week's Power 10. 

5. Quinnipiac (10-1-3) | Prev: 5 

The Bobcats also got this past weekend off after beating St. Lawrence and tying Clarkson the weekend before. 

This weekend brings two more ECAC opponents: RPI and Union.

6. Western Michigan (10-4-0) | Prev: 7 

Western Michigan's Thanksgiving spent in Canton, NY was well worth it given its sweep of St. Lawrence. Friday saw the Broncos win, 8-2, while Saturday saw a 5-1 win.

The Broncos exploded offensively, getting goals from all over the lineup. Graduate student forwards Paul Washe and Ethen Frank and senior forward Cole Gallant all registered three lamplighters each on the weekend. Senior forward Drew Worrad posted six points in the two wins, bringing him to a total of 25 on the season. That leads the nation. 

Up next is a weekend set with Miami (Ohio). 

7. North Dakota (10-5-0) | Prev: 6 

The Fighting Hawks fell to Minnesota, 5-1, at home on Friday night, but rebounded well with a 3-2 win on Saturday. 

As bad as the 5-1 loss was for North Dakota, it's an encouraging sign that the Fighting Hawks battled back to even the series, outshooting Minnesota, 26-13, in Saturday's game and controlling play for the majority of the night. Even though it was close at the end with the Golden Gophers scoring two in the third period to cut it to a one-goal game, North Dakota held it down. 

SCOREBOARD: Check out all the scores from the weekend

Things don't get any easier for North Dakota, as it heads to St. Cloud State this weekend for a matchup with the Huskies. That will give us a better picture of what kind of team the Fighting Hawks really are. 

8. Cornell (8-1) | Prev: NR 

Welcome to my Power 10 rankings, Cornell. It's long overdue. 

Ever since losing to Harvard on Nov. 5, the Big Red have been rolling, winning their last six games. The most recent win came 6-4 over Boston University at Madison Square Garden this past weekend to win the Red Hot Hockey Title. It's the third consecutive win for Cornell in this event. 

Cornell took down BU, 6-4, at Madison Square Garden.

Offensively, Cornell has gotten ample production from senior forward Max Andreev and junior forward Matt Stienburg. Both have 13 points each, which is tied for the team lead. 

The Big Red will head to St. Lawrence for a game Friday and then Clarkson on Saturday. 

9. Notre Dame (10-3) | Prev: 9 

The Fighting Irish were supposed to play Boston College on Friday but due to COVID issues with the Eagles, the game was postponed. So, Notre Dame got the weekend off after sweeping Michigan the weekend before. 

Since there's no gameplay to talk about and the Fighting Irish are relatively new to the Power 10, here's a fun fact about them: They lead the nation in penalty killing percentage with a wild 93.9 percent. 

Next up is a weekend series with Ohio State. 

10. Minnesota (9-7) | Prev: 8 

The Golden Gophers got a huge win on Friday night against North Dakota, winning 5-1. Even though they fell, 3-2, in Game 2, the story of the weekend for them was that great performance in Game 1. 

You might be wondering why they fell two spots after earning a big win over the Fighting Hawks. The reason for this is because of their overall inconsistency. In the eight weekend sets so far, they've split five of them, swept two and been swept once. 

The ultimate test will come this weekend against rival Michigan. That should be a terrific series and will either send the Gophers higher on this list or push them off. 

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