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Patrick Donnelly | | February 6, 2023

Minnesota leapfrogs Ohio State to top the women's college hockey Power 10 rankings

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A matchup between two national super powers led to a new top team in this week's women's college hockey power rankings. 

A brief reminder: These rankings are mine alone, and I base them on a combination of the PairWise (NPI), strength of schedule, recent results and trends that have emerged over the course of the season. New rankings will come out every other week until the women's hockey tournament begins in March.

With that in mind, here is this week's Power 10:

1. Minnesota (3): The Golden Gophers (23-4-2, 20-2-2-2 WCHA) jump to the top after a split with Ohio State, improving to 2-1-1 on the year against the reigning national champs with a 4-2 win before OSU bounced back in Game 2. Minnesota rolled through then-No. 6 Minnesota Duluth the previous weekend as well. Taylor Heise and Grace Zumwinkle remain red hot and in the hunt for the national scoring lead, while Skylar Vetter remains strong in goal. Before the Game 2 loss, they had won 13 straight. The Gophers have the highest strength of schedule, and they have another tough matchup with Wisconsin this week before closing the regular season against St. Thomas.

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2. Ohio State (1): The Buckeyes (25-3-2, 20-3-1 WCHA) responded nicely in their 5-1 victory on Saturday to split the series with Minnesota, who is one of few teams to have the formula to beat OSU this year. They swept Minnesota State last weekend as well as part of a 10-game winning streak before the loss to the Gophers. Jennifer Gardiner has come on very strong of late, jumping to fourth in the nation with 46 points, and the power play remains as close to automatic as it can get. They should be able to build momentum against St. Thomas this weekend before a series at Wisconsin in the regular-season finale. 

3. Yale (2): Sliding Yale (23-1-1, 16-1-1 ECAC) down was tough because it's not a reflection of performance. The top three is packed right now. That said, the Bulldogs are just as strong as the two teams ahead of them, winning 15 in a row. They took care of St. Lawrence and Clarkson before hanging a 10-spot on Union in a 10-1 win prior to their victory over RPI. They have a top penalty kill, and leading scorers Elle Hartje (6g, 12a) and Charlotte Welch (6g, 16a) each have an 11-game point streak. Pia Dukaric remains one of the nation's elite goaltenders. They have challenges with Colgate and Cornell this weekend before facing Dartmouth and Harvard next week. 

4. Northeastern (4): The Huskies (25-2-1, 21-2-1 HEA) look unstoppable right now, in the midst of a 13-game win streak. They cruised past Holy Cross and New Hampshire in their last two games to keep their momentum rolling into a Beanpot semifinals date with Boston University on Tuesday as part of three games against the Terriers before the end of the regular season. Gwyneth Philips has been the nation's best goaltender, leading in save percentage, goals-against average, wins and shutouts. Meanwhile Alina Müller, Chloé Aurard and Maureen Murphy still make up a buzzsaw on offense, ranking eighth, ninth and tenth, respectively in scoring. They'll face UConn on Friday between Beanpot games. 

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5. Colgate (6): The Raiders (24-4-2, 14-3-1 ECAC) took down St. Lawrence before shutting out Clarkson as part of a 4-0-1 stretch over their last five games. Both Kayle Osborne and Hannah Murphy have been dependable between the pipes of late, allowing a combined five goals over that span, and Danielle Serdachny has reclaimed the NCAA scoring lead with a ridiculous 53 points (18g, 35a) in 30 games. They'll host Yale for their most difficult matchup left before games with Brown, Union and RPI ahead of the ECAC tournament. 

6. Quinnipiac (7): The Bobcats (25-5-0, 15-3-0 ECAC) bounced back from their loss to Yale with a thorough 4-0 victory over Princeton on Jan. 28, only to fall flat in an 11-3 loss to the Tigers the following day, allowing three separate hat tricks. QU responded accordingly this past Friday with a dominant 8-0 win over Dartmouth that saw eight different goal-scorers. They're still a major threat in the ECAC with strong goaltending, and have a chance to wrack up wins through the end of the regular season with games against RPI, Union, St. Lawrence and Clarkson. 

7. Wisconsin (8): The Badgers (21-8-1, 17-6-1 WCHA) have won five of six with dominant showings against Minnesota State and St. Thomas, recovering from their five-game losing streak in January. Most recently, they split with No. 14 St. Cloud State at home as Jojo Chobak made 39 saves and stole a 1-0 Game 1 win for SCSU. They came back with a 3-2 win in the rubber match, thanks to three-straight goals in less than 15 minutes of elapsed time in which Jesse Compher potted in a goal and two assists. Their remaining schedule is a gauntlet with Minnesota and Ohio State on deck. 

8. Minnesota Duluth (7): The Bulldogs (20-8-2, 14-8-2 WCHA) went 1-0-1 against Minnesota State with a 4-3 win and 0-0 tie this weekend. They came back from a 3-1 hole to the Mavericks before taking Game 1 in overtime. Last week, the Gophers ended UMD's nine-game unbeaten run (8-0-1) with a wire-to-wire sweep that never saw the Bulldogs hold a lead. Duluth can add some more wins to its resume with series against St. Cloud and Bemidji State on tap. 

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9. Clarkson (9):  The Golden Knights (22-8-2, 11-6-1 ECAC) had an up-and-down last two weeks, beating Brown in a game where they allowed only 11 shots before losing to Yale for the second time in less than a month. They followed it up with a 2-1 win against Cornell and a 2-0 shutout loss to Colgate, where none of their 37 shots found a way through. Michelle Pasiechnyk has been one of the strongest netminders around lately, allowing more than two goals just twice since the start of December.They'll face Harvard, Dartmouth and Princeton en route to a battle with Quinnipiac in the regular season finale. 

10. Penn State (NR)The Nittany Lions (22-8-2, 12-1-1 CHA) have won six straight and 12 of 13 as part of an unbeaten 12-0-1 stretch, going back to Thanksgiving weekend. They haven't had the strongest schedule, but have made the most of the opponents they've been dealt, averaging 4.78 goals per game in this stretch. Kiara Zanon has been on fire, leading the nation in goals (23) and sitting fifth in points (45). PSU will finish their regular season with a series at RIT this weekend.

Dropped out: Cornell (10):

The Big Red (12-11-2, 9-8-1 ECAC) have hit a rut, losing four straight and six of eight. They dropped a wild 7-6 affair with Harvard before a 5-1 rout at the hands of Dartmouth last weekend. This past week they fell to Clarkson, 2-1, and St. Lawrence, 3-2 in overtime, in a pair of close games, blowing a 2-0 lead in the third period and managing just 16 shots on goal against SLU. Cornell will look to right the ship against Brown before facing Yale, and will visit RPI and Union before the conference tournament. 

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