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Patrick Donnelly | | January 23, 2023

St. Cloud State, Minnesota lead the Power 10 men's college hockey rankings

2009 Frozen Four classic: Boston U. scores twice after pulling goalie

A wild weekend of sweeps and upsets shook up the men's college hockey landscape, leading to some jockeying in the second Power 10 of the season. 

A reminder: these are my rankings alone, and I base them on a combination of the PairWise, strength of schedule, recent results and trends that have emerged over the course of the season. New rankings come out every other week until the men's hockey tournament in March. 

Here is this week's Power 10 (previous rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Cloud State (2) – There's a new top dog in town. The Huskies swept Denver this weekend in a big NCHC series. SCSU (18-6-0, 10-4-0 NCHC) is one of the stingiest teams in the nation as both goaltenders in Dominic Basse and Jaxon Castor are having stellar seasons. Meanwhile, their key veterans are getting it done offensively in addition to key production from role players down the lineup. They have a tough road series at Minnesota Duluth this weekend.

OH HOW SWEEP: How No. 4 St. Cloud State earned huge NCHC sweep over No. 3 Denver 

2. Minnesota (3) – The Golden Gophers (18-7-1, 12-3-1 Big Ten) went the distance with Michigan this past weekend, rallying in Game 1 to win, 4-3 in overtime, before a back-and-forth Game 2 saw Minnesota tie it late only to lose in overtime, 5-4. The Gophers are some of the top contenders in the nation, between their offensive talent, goaltending and coaching. They face another test when they host Michigan State this week.

3. Quinnipiac (1) – What a disaster this weekend was for the Bobcats. Quinnipiac fell flat to No. 16 Cornell in a 4-0 shutout on Friday before blowing a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 loss to unranked Colgate on Saturday for their first losses since Oct. 22. With the Bobcats at 18-3-3 (12-2-0 ECAC), it's easy to forget losses will happen. QU needs to get back on track this weekend against Sacred Heart before facing the winner of No. 13 UConn/Yale in the Connecticut Ice tournament. 

UPSETS: How No. 16 Cornell toppled No. 1 Quinnipiac | How Colgate handed QU a second straight loss

4. Denver (3) – The Pioneers (19-7-0, 10-4-0 NCHC) had a tough weekend at St. Cloud. DU looked to be in good shape after taking the lead in the second period in Game 1, but from there the series was all SCSU. Denver has had some slip-ups lately, but should be fine in the long run because of depth and experience. It doesn't get easier for the Pios this weekend as they return home to face a pesky Colorado College squad.

5. Boston University (6) – The Terriers (17-6-0, 11-4-0 HEA) rolled right past Maine to a weekend sweep, dominating for a 5-1 win in Game 1 before a wild 9-6 victory the following night. Jay Pandolfo's group is getting contributions from everywhere in the lineup of late, and both goaltenders are more than capable of winning games themselves. They're 9-2-0 since Dec. 1, and face a big rematch with historic rival Boston College this weekend, who handed them one of those losses in a raucous 9-6 affair on Dec. 9. 

6. Michigan (7)  – The Wolverines (14-9-1, 6-8-0 Big Ten) have split four straight series going back to the start of December. Their most recent slit with Minnesota saw all sorts of offense, especially in Game 2 when Michigan's stars took over. UM is up there with the Gophers as far as arguably having the most talented roster in Division I. Adam Fantilli and the rest of the offense is still cooking, but keeping the puck out of the net has been an issue as the Wolverines have left wins on the table, failing to win two in a row since Nov. 5 and Nov. 11. They still have their hands full with Penn State coming up. 

FROZEN FOUR: Click or tap here for the latest men's Frozen Four predictions

7. Penn State (5) – The Nittany Lions (18-7-1, 8-7-1 Big Ten) are 1-2-1 since the start of 2023. They salvaged just one point from Michigan State two weeks ago, losing 3-2 before a 4-4 tie and eventual shootout loss. This weekend, PSU dropped Game 1 at Notre Dame, but bounced back nicely in a Game 2 comeback for the split. The recent inconsistency could hurt Penn State down the stretch. It has one of the most challenging schedules the rest of the way, facing Michigan, Ohio State and Minnesota next.

8. Ohio State (8) – Similar to the two teams ahead of them, consistency has been an issue for the Buckeyes (16-9-1, 9-7-0 Big Ten). They're 1-2-0 since an impressive six-game winning streak, which followed a 1-5-0 stretch after opening the season 7-1-1. OSU fizzled in Game 1 at Wisconsin on Friday, losing 4-0 and being outshot 34-22. They responded with a 2-0 win in Game 2 for the split. The Bucks are off this coming weekend before a series with Penn State to kick off February.

9. Western Michigan (NR) – The Broncos (16-9-1, 8-5-1 NCHC) have mowed down opposing defenses in the midst of their six-game winning streak, scoring at least four goals in each game and putting up a pair of eight spots. They have arguably the two top skaters in the nation right now between leading point-getter Ryan McCallister (11-29--40) and leading goal-scorer Jason Polin (23-13--26). Goaltending is definitely a concern, though. They have a chance to keep cruising against Omaha this weekend.

TOP STORIES: Click or tap here for five storylines to watch in the second half of the season

10. Cornell (NR) – The Big Red (12-6-1, 9-3-0 ECAC) picked up their most impressive win of the season on Friday when they dominated Quinnipiac in a 4-0 shutout at home, following it up with a 3-2 win against Princeton to sweep the weekend. They held QU to 21 shots on Friday and managed to solve one of the nation's best goalies in Yaniv Perets three times on 21 shots of their own. They look to make it three straight at Dartmouth this Friday before a chance to prove they're for real at Harvard on Saturday.

Dropped out: Harvard and Merrimack

Where one Ivy League school gains, another falters. Harvard (13-5-1, 11-3-0 ECAC) narrowly beat Yale in overtime on Friday before unexpectedly losing to Brown on Saturday. The Crimson are one of the higher-flying teams in the ECAC and the nation, but haven't faired well against their toughest tests so far. They have another challenge on tap this weekend, facing Colgate then Cornell, each riding high from wins over Quinnipiac.

After a first-half surge seemingly out of nowhere, Merrimack (15-9-2, 10-5-0 HEA) has gone ice cold of late with a 2-5-1 record since the semester break, suffering a sweep at the hands of Northeastern this weekend. Recent weeks have also seen concerning results in a tie at home against Yale and blowout losses against Providence (twice) and Brown. The Mack might not be back, after all, although they have a potentially huge road trip to Vermont this weekend to try to right the ship. 

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