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Evan Marinofsky | NCAA.com | December 20, 2021

Women's college hockey rankings: Wisconsin leads the Power 10 heading into the mid-season break

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We've made it to the holiday break in women's DI college hockey, which allows us a great chance to look back at the first half. 

This week's Power 10 won't just be focused on last weekend. Instead, I'm going to rank the best 10 teams from the first few months. 

Was it easy? Not really. This fall had some amazing games and upsets, making the job of putting together a top 10 a tough one. 

Nevertheless, let's dive in. 

1. Wisconsin (17-1-2)

Admittedly, this wasn't a hard decision. The Badgers were the best team in the first half and it's not really close. 

For starters, they have the best offense in the country with 94 total goals. Even more impressive is that the top three point-getters in the country are all from Wisconsin — sophomore forwards Casey O'Brien (36) and Makenna Webster (35), as well as fifth-year forward Daryl Watts (34). This team just can't stop scoring. 

The Badgers are also great defensively. They're tied for third in the nation in goals against, having only allowed 22. Senior goalie Kennedy Blair has been outstanding in net, sporting the fourth-best goals-against average in the country (1.17). 

The quality wins so far for Wisconsin have come against Minnesota Duluth and Ohio State but really, Wisconsin is the team to beat in college hockey right now.  

2. Northeastern (16-2-1) 

The choice to put Northeastern over Ohio State was a tough one, but I went with the better defensive team at No. 2. 

The Huskies are the best defensive team in the nation. They've given up the least amount of goals against (18) and here's a whopper — they've done it in just 19 games. That's less than a goal against per game. A lot of that success has come from senior goalie Aerin Frankel, who ranks second in the nation in both save percentage (.962) and GAA (0.94). 

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Offensively, senior forward Maureen Murphy leads the way with 24 points and senior defenseman Skylar Fontaine, one of the best defenders in college hockey, comes in with 22. Both have a large role on the nation's fourth-best power play, which sits at a solid 28.5 percent. 

The quality wins so far have come against Boston College and Princeton. Much of the rest of their schedule comes against Hockey East opponents. 

3. Ohio State (15-3-0)

The Buckeyes are great at overpowering teams offensively, as is evident in their 91 total goals, which is good for second in the nation. It makes sense then that their power play is also second, coming in at 35.2 percent. 

A lot of that offense comes from junior forward Jennifer Gardiner and senior defenseman Sophie Jaques who both lead the team in points with 30 each. They're also both tied for sixth in the nation in that category. Sophomore forward Jenna Buglioni and senior forward Clair DeGeorge come in right behind them at 28 points each. 

Ohio State ranks No. 3 at the end of the first half.

Another sign that Ohio State is going on all cylinders offensively is its league-best 66.6 percent Corsi For percentage. 

The most notable wins for Ohio State came against Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth in the first half. Even though the Buckeyes were swept by the Badgers on Oct. 23 and 24, they'll get a chance at revenge Feb. 18 and 19. 

4. Quinnipiac (15-1-2) 

The Bobcats are a very strong No. 4 right now. It's no surprise they garnered a first-place vote in the Dec. 13 USCHO poll

Why? Because Quinnipiac is actually the No. 1 team in women's college hockey, according to USCHO's PairWise rankings. That shouldn't be too much of a surprise. The Bobcats are well-rounded, sporting the second-fewest goals against (21) and the sixth-most goals for (61). Senior goalie Corinne Schroeder ranks first in both save percentage (.966) and GAA (0.80). 

The Bobcats play in the tough ECAC, so quality wins came against Colgate, Princeton and Yale. If the Bobcats can keep winning with an ECAC-heavy schedule in the second half, their case for No. 1 in PairWise will be strengthened.

5. Minnesota (14-5-1) 

The Golden Gophers ended their first half with some big wins over No. 1 Wisconsin and then-No. 9 Minnesota Duluth. Along with a sweep over Colgate on Oct. 22 and 23, those were Minnesota's biggest wins of the first half.

The stats show Minnesota is a perfect No. 5. They're No. 5 in PairWise, No. 4 in goals for (77) and they own the fifth-highest even-strength Corsi For percentage at 61.8 percent. This team has no issue putting shots on net either, ranking second with 773. Offensively, this is a very good team. 

At the heart of that offensive attack is senior forward Taylor Heise who ranks fifth in the country in points with 31. Senior forward Abigail Boreen ranks second on the team with 23 and freshman forward Peyton Hemp comes in third with 21. 

Minnesota will have its toughest stretch of the season in the second half when it takes on Wisconsin one weekend and then Ohio State the next. 

6. Colgate (15-4-1) 

Out of all the teams on this list, the Raiders did the coolest thing in the first half: They won a guitar. 

Yes, back on Nov. 27 when they beat then-No. 3 Minnesota to win the Smashville Showcase, the trophy was a guitar. It was epic. 

Colgate won a guitar at the Smashville Showcase.

Aside from the guitar, Colgate is another team with a high-powered offense. The Raiders carry the third-most goals in the country (86) and rank third in even-strength Corsi For at 64.4 percent. Junior forward Danielle Serdachny leads the offense with 30 points, which ranks sixth in college hockey. Junior forward Dara Greig comes in second with 25. 

The quality wins for Colgate in the first half came against Minnesota and Harvard. Like I mentioned with Quinnipiac earlier, things won't be easy for the Raiders in the second half due to all those ECAC games. 

7. Yale (10-3-1) 

It feels like we're just going back and forth between really strong offensive teams and really good defensive teams. Here's a great defensive team for you. 

The Bulldogs rank third in goals against with only 22 given up in the first half. Senior goalie Gianna Meloni has gotten the majority of the reps in net, posting an impressive 1.43 GAA and .942 save percentage. 

Still, Yale has an impressive offense upfront. Sophomore forward Elle Hartje leads the team with 24 points, while junior forward Claire Dalton ranks second with 22. Yale also has one of the best defenders in college hockey in junior Emma Seitz. She has 17 points on the season. 

The quality wins have come against Colgate and Harvard. With an ECAC-packed schedule in the second half, there will be many more quality wins for this group. 

8. Clarkson (15-2-3) 

The Golden Knights are a solid team overall. They rank fifth in the country for goals for (65) and eighth in goals against (29). 

Lots of the offense comes from one of the best forwards in college hockey — senior Caitrin Lonergan. Lonergan ranks fourth in the country in points with 32. Junior forward Gabrielle David slots in right behind her with 25. 

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One encouraging sign for Clarkson in the second half is that they went 6-1-1 in conference play in the first half. If that trend continues, the Golden Knights will be moving up this list.  

9. Minnesota Duluth (9-7-0) 

The Bulldogs had a lot of time off, as they didn't play any games between Oct. 24 and Nov. 19. Still, they put together a solid first half. 

They have 59 goals in 16 games, which, if you do the math, comes out to be roughly 74 goals over 20 games. That would have them fifth in the nation for lamplighters. Senior forward Gabbie Hughes has the highest points per game in the nation at 1.81 with 29 points in 16 games. Senior forward Elizabeth Giguere ranks sixth in points per game at 1.68 with 27 in 16. 

Despite a tough first half schedule, the Bulldogs earned two big wins over Minnesota and one over Ohio State. 

10. Harvard (9-3-0) 

The Crimson only have 12 games under their belt through the first half, but that's still enough to place them inside the top 10. 

They've already scored quality wins over Cornell and Boston College. Senior forward Becca Gilmore has been a strong line-driver, leading Harvard in points with 15. Senior forward Dominique Petrie ranks second with 14 points and junior forward Anne Bloomer third with 12. 

We'll get a great look at Harvard when it takes on Minnesota Duluth to begin play in the second half of the season. 

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