Merrimack only remaining unbeaten

Originally Published: October 26, 2011
Inside College Hockey

Editor's note: These rankings were released Nov. 6.

We entered the past weekend with five undefeated teams. After four of them suffered their first losses of the season, only one unbeaten team remains, and Merrimack moved up to fourth in the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings. There's also a new No. 1 team, it's the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Following a home sweep of North Dakota, the Gophers have nine wins on the season, most of any team in the country.

Here's how the Inside College Hockey editors and staff rank the nation's top teams (along with a note for each team).

1. Minnesota (9-1-0, 6-0-0 WCHA)

Of note: Goaltender Kent Patterson needed just nine starts to match the school's single-season shutout record of five set by Robb Stauber in 1987-88. He tied the record by making 24 saves in Friday's 2-0 whitewash of North Dakota.

2. Boston College (8-2-0, 6-1-0 Hockey East)

Of note: Duffers on the golf course aren't the only people screaming "FORE!" The Eagles rallying cry is "FOUR!" as BC is 8-0-0 when scoring four goals or more, and both defeats have come when the Eagles have allowed four goals.

3. Colorado College (5-1-0, 3-1-0 WCHA)

Of note: One night after goalie Joe Howe struggled in a 7-5 loss at Nebraska-Omaha, little-used backup Josh Thorimbert made 45 saves as the Tigers earned a split with a 5-2 win.

4. Merrimack (7-0-1, 5-0-1 Hockey East)

Of note: Some say that a shot on goal is never a bad play, and Merrimack is proving that theory to be true. The nation's only undefeated team has outshot its opponents in every game this season.

5. Michigan (7-2-1, 3-2-1 CCHA)

Of note: Friday's loss to Western Michigan ended the Wolverines' 20-game home winning streak, a run comprised of 19 matches at Yost Arena and last December's Big Chill at the Big House against Michigan State.

6. Union (5-1-3, 2-0-0 ECAC Hockey)

Of note: Union is an example of a team with defined roles. Three players have seven or more assists and just two goals each. Two others (Wayne Simpson and Jeremy Welsh) have six goals and two assists.

7. Western Michigan (6-1-3, 4-1-1 CCHA)

Of note: Dane Walters' goal with 57 seconds left in regulation propelled the Broncos to a 3-2 win at Michigan Friday, WMU's first at Yost Arena since Nov. 14, 2008.

8. Yale (2-1-1, 1-1-0 ECAC)

Of note: Sophomore Clinton Bourbonais appeared in 15 games last year and had four points. He's got a goal and two assists in four games already this year.

9. Ferris State (8-2-0, 4-2-0 CCHA)

Of note: Sweep or be swept: Each of the Bulldogs' five series have resulted in a sweep. Four of them -- including this past weekend's set at Bowling Green -- have ended in FSU's favor.

10. Notre Dame (5-2-2, 3-1-2 CCHA)

Of note: Couple of firsts this weekend for the incomparable Anders Lee: Friday's tie at Northern Michigan was the first game this season in which he failed to register a goal, and Saturday's draw with the Wildcats marked his first pointless effort of the year.

11. Dartmouth (3-1-0, 2-0-0 ECAC Hockey)

Of note: Dartmouth, along with Union, was one of just two teams to get through the first weekend of ECAC Hockey conference play with two wins. The Big Green scored five goals each night in wins over Quinnipiac and Princeton.

12. Lake Superior State (8-2-0, 5-1-0 CCHA)

Of note: Eight of the Lakers' 10 games this season have been decided by one goal, including both ends of this past weekend's split with visiting Bemidji State.

13. Denver (3-3-2, 2-2-2 WCHA)

Of note: A tie and loss to Minnesota Duluth this past weekend extended the Pioneers' winless streak to four games (0-2-2). It's DU's longest winless stretch since ending the 2006-07 season with four losses and a tie.

14. Colgate (5-3-1, 1-1-0 ECAC Hockey)

Of note: The INCH Power Rankings are a popular place to learn about Anders Lee, and also about Austin Smith. He's got nine goals and only trails Lee's 10 in Division I hockey. He also has yet to commit a penalty.

15. Quinnipiac (7-3-1, 1-1-1 ECAC)

Of note: Loren Barron scored a third-period goal to give Quinnipiac a 4-3 lead in the third period at Dartmouth, but the Big Green scored twice in the last two minutes to win it. The next night, Quinnipiac got a tie at Harvard to finish its first three games in ECAC Hockey with a win, loss and draw.

16. Minnesota Duluth (5-3-2, 3-2-1 WCHA)

Of note: After starting the season by losing three of their first four, the Bulldogs have gone 4-0-2 in their last six. With Alaska Anchorage and Minnesota State visiting Amsoil Arena the next two weekends, UMD has a good chance to extend the unbeaten streak.

17. Michigan Tech (6-3-1, 4-3-1 WCHA)

Of note: In their six wins this season, the most recent a 1-0 shutout of Minnesota State Friday, the Huskies have allowed a total of nine goals. In it's three losses, the latest a 6-3 decision in favor of the Mavericks Saturday, MTU has given up 15 goals.

18. Ohio State (6-3-1, 3-2-1 CCHA)

Of note: Goaltenders Cal Heeter and Brady Hjelle enter this weekend's series against visiting Northern Michigan with a combined scoreless streak of 195:51. The Buckeyes' three straight shutouts against Alaska and Alabama-Huntsville (twice) are a first for the program.

19. Clarkson (6-2-2, 1-1-0 ECAC)

Of note: Clarkson has allowed the first goal in four of its 10 games this year, including both this weekend, but got its first win in that situation this weekend in a win over RPI. When the Golden Knights score the first goal, Clarkson is 5-0-1.

20. Northern Michigan (4-3-3, 1-2-3 CCHA)

Of note: In this economy, who doesn't like a little more bang for the buck? Five of the Wildcats' 10 games this season have gone into overtime, including three in a row and four of the last five.

Dropped out: Boston University, North Dakota

Bubblelicious: Air Force, Boston University, New Hampshire

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