To be the best, you've got to beat the best and that's exactly what Minnesota did this past weekend.
We'll get to that performance in a bit, but Minnesota and Wisconsin weren't the only high-ranking clashes from this past slate of games. Ohio State battled Minnesota Duluth, Harvard took on Quinnipiac and Yale duked it out with Colgate. This past weekend was a great one to be a college hockey fan. My guess is your eyes were glued to the screen.
Let's dive into the rankings.
1. Minnesota (19-6-1) | Prev: 4
In one of the largest jumps of the season, the Golden Gophers fly into the No. 1 spot after their sweep of former-No. 1 Wisconsin.
Two gutsy performances got Minnesota the wins. Despite being outshot both nights, big games from redshirt senior Amy Potomak (1 goal, 1 assist) in Night 1, senior forward Taylor Heise (1 goal, 1 assist) and senior forward Abigail Boreen (3 assists) in Night 2 helped get Minnesota the wins.
This Border Battle is going in the history books!— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) January 23, 2022
For the first time since 2016 the @GopherWHockey sweep the Badgers, handing Wisconsin its first sweep since 2018. #NCAAHockey x 🎥@WCHA_WHockey pic.twitter.com/kSTLp0LWsQ
But what really got Minnesota past Wisconsin was the goaltending tandem of junior Makayla Pahl and graduate student Lauren Bench. Pahl made 40 saves on 41 shots in the 2-1 win. Bench stopped 30 of 33 in the 4-3 win.
It was the first sweep of Wisconsin by Minnesota since 2016. Even wilder is that the Gophers are the first team to sweep Wisconsin since 2018.
Things don't get any easier for Minnesota. Next up is a road trip to Ohio State.
2. Northeastern (21-2-1) | Prev: 2
Picking between Minnesota and Northeastern for the No. 1 spot was extremely tough, so, if it's even possible, the Huskies earn a very high No. 2 ranking this week.
Northeastern had a great past week in Hockey East, taking down BC, 5-0, last Tuesday and then beating BU, 6-3, on Friday. Senior Alina Mueller led the Huskies in the win over BC, scoring two goals and adding an assist. Add in a 25-save shutout from goalie Aerin Frankel, and there's how the Huskies can beat you. In the win over BU, Northeastern went down 3-1 after the first period but battled back, scoring five unanswered goals.
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The Huskies have won 13 straight games. They are well on their way to being a No. 1 seed in this year's tournament.
Next up is a home game against Vermont this Friday.
3. Ohio State (18-4-0) | Prev: 3
The Buckeyes didn't have the greatest weekend ever, but it was enough to stay in the No. 3 spot. They split their series with Minnesota Duluth, losing 1-0 in Game 1 and then scoring a 3-1 win in Game 2.
After struggling to generate offense in the loss, Ohio State rebounded really well the next day. It outshot the Bulldogs, 41-19, and got goals from sophomore Jenna Buglioni, senior Sophie Jaques and graduate student Clair DeGeorge.
Three interesting stats about the Buckeyes: They lead the nation in goals (112), even strength Corsi For percentage (66.8 percent) and are now No. 1 in PairWise.
Up next is a series with Minnesota.
4. Wisconsin (18-3-3) | Prev: 1
This is the lowest I've ranked Wisconsin this season and I don't see the Badgers falling much further than this.
The Badgers struggled to generate offense this past weekend in their 2-1 and 4-3 losses at Minnesota. The one bright spot was fifth year forward Brette Pettet's two-goal game in Game 2.
Even with the sweep, Wisconsin is still a top team in the nation. The Badgers rank third in goals for (104), fewest goals against (31) and even strength Corsi For percentage (64.0 percent). They'll be fine.
5. Minnesota Duluth (14-8-0) | Prev: 7
The Bulldogs get a big boost in these rankings after splitting their series with Ohio State with a 1-0 win and then a 3-1 loss.
The win came in thrilling fashion, as senior forward Kylie Hanley scored the game-winner with just 32 seconds remaining. That all happened, however, due to outstanding play in net by sophomore Jojo Chobak who took down the No. 2 team in the nation with a 27-save shutout in her first collegiate start.
Chobak owning the pipes tonight. pic.twitter.com/DazIIgOfuL— UMD Women's Hockey (@UMDWHockey) January 22, 2022
Even in defeat, Chobak had 38 saves, which helped her get WCHA Goaltender of the Week.
Next up is a home series with Minnesota State.
6. Harvard (14-5-0) | Prev: 8
The Crimson jump up two spots this week after two big ECAC wins over Princeton and then-No. 4 Quinnipiac.
Harvard took down Princeton, 1-0, on Friday and got its lone goal from senior Brooke Jovanovich. Goalie Becky Dutton was outstanding, stopping 29 shots en route to the shutout.
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The win that really moved them up two spots was the 3-2 victory over the Bobcats. Harvard got goals from senior Emma Buckles, junior Anne Bloomer and sophomore Shannon Hollands to help stave off Quinnipiac's comeback.
Up next are home games against Clarkson and St. Lawrence this weekend.
7. Quinnipiac (17-4-3) | Prev: 6
Despite the tough, 3-2 loss to Harvard, the Bobcats followed it up with a 3-1 win over Dartmouth.
They got goals from first-year Maya Labad, graduate student Olivia Konigson and sophomore Olivia Mobley, plus junior Kate Reilly adding in two assists. Senior goalie Logan Angers also turned in a solid, 18-save performance in the win.
Next up are home matchups with Colgate and Cornell.
8. Yale (14-4-1) | Prev: 10
The Bulldogs jump over Colgate in these rankings after beating the Raiders, 3-0. They followed it up with a 4-1 win against Cornell.
In the win over Colgate, Yale got three third-period goals from senior Rebecca Foggia, junior Charlotte Welch and sophomore Elle Hartje. Goalie Gianna Meloni was also terrific, stopping all 26 shots she faced.
Against Cornell, the Bulldogs gave up the first goal but rattled off four unanswered through the rest of the game.
Next up is a game with RPI this Tuesday and then a home-and-home with Brown this weekend.
9. Colgate (18-5-1) | Prev: 9
After losing to Yale, 3-0, the Raiders followed up the loss with a 2-1 win at Brown. Colgate got goals from Maggie MacEachern and Dara Greig in the win.
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Here's an interesting Colgate stat: It ranks second in the country in even strength Corsi For percentage at 64.4 percent. This means the Raiders are finding ways to get lots more chances than their opponents, which is a very good sign for the national tournament.
10. Clarkson (18-3-3) | Prev: 5
The Golden Knights fell far, but it was more about what the teams around them were doing more than how they actually did this weekend.
Clarkson lost to RPI, 2-1, but it wasn't for lack of shots on net. The Golden Knights finished with a 40-15 advantage in shots, but there was junior goalie Amanda Rampado making 39 stops and leading the Engineers to an overtime win.
The win was all about the McQuigge sisters. First, it was Brooke opening the scoring. Kirstyn followed it up with one of her own to make it 2-0. And then shortly into the second period, Brooke had to one-up her sister and score her second of the game. Graduate student Caitrin Lonergan added one of her own towards the end of the second period.
Even cooler: Freshman walk-on goalie Alexa Madrid registered a shutout in her first career start.
Clarkson goes on the road for a game against Cornell on Tuesday.