Editor's note: These rankings were released Dec. 11.
Minnesota Duluth finds itself atop the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings. The Bulldogs extended their unbeaten streak to 14 games with a tie and win at Wisconsin. It's the first time this season that the defending national champs are ranked first by INCH, and they'll be there a while. Due to a very limited college hockey schedule before holiday tournaments take place, the next edition of the INCH Power Rankings will be published Jan. 1, 2012.
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 Duluth (12-3-3, 10-2-2 WCHA)
Of note: The Bulldogs' unbeaten streak hit 14 (11-0-3) with Saturday's 4-2 win at Wisconsin, matching the school record set in 2003-04, when UMD went 13-0-1 from Jan. 2 to Feb. 21.
2. Minnesota (14-5-1, 11-3-0 WCHA)
Of note: Hard to say what was the most memorable moment of Saturday's 6-2 win against Michigan Tech -- the Gophers' four late goals to break open a 2-2 tie or members of the teams' coaching staffs exchanging words as a chippy third period wound down.
3. Merrimack (10-2-2, 7-2-1 Hockey East)
Of note: Linemates Justin Mansfield and Jeff Velleca each had two goals in a midweek win over Vermont. It was the first career multi-goal game for both.
4. Boston College (12-6-0, 9-4-0 Hockey East)
Of note: Since winning six straight games between Oct. 15 and Nov. 4, BC hasn't won more than two in a row and is just 4-5-0 in its last nine games.
5. Ohio State (13-4-1, 10-3-1 CCHA)
Of note: It took 122:38 for the Buckeyes to finally take the lead in their weekend series against Miami. Freshman Alex Niddery scored his first career goal 2:38 into Saturday's OT in Oxford, Ohio, to salvage a split.
6. Colgate (11-4-2, 6-2-0 ECAC Hockey)
Of note: Former Raider captain and All-ECAC Hockey player Jon Smyth stopped by Starr Rink on Saturday night to check out his alma mater.
7. Notre Dame (11-6-3, 8-3-3 CCHA)
Of note: "It's [a relief] for all of us," coach Jeff Jackson said to Jim Meehan of the South Bend Tribune after the Irish snapped a four-game losing streak with a win against Ferris State on Saturday. "The last four games were pretty miserable."
8. Colorado College (9-5-0, 7-5-0 WCHA)
Of note: Looked like a lost weekend for the Tigers when Alaska Anchorage took a 3-1 second-period lead one night after posting a 6-3 win at World Arena. But CC rallied to salvage a sweep thanks to Mike Boivin's goal with three seconds left in regulation.
9. Western Michigan (9-4-5, 7-4-3 CCHA)
Of note: The Broncos have bounced back from a four-game losing streak with three wins and two ties in their last five. Waiting on the other side of the holiday break are series with St. Cloud State, Minnesota Duluth, Notre Dame and Miami.
10. Union (8-3-5, 3-2-2 ECAC)
Of note: The Dutchmen have scored five goals or more in six of their eight victories this season. Five different players scored for Union in Saturday's win over RPI in Lake Placid.
11. Boston University (10-5-1, 8-4-1 Hockey East)
Of note: We don't think BU would be too disappointed if the Terriers were paired against New Hampshire in the Hockey East playoffs. BU completed a regular-season sweep of UNH and outscored the Wildcats 11-2 in the three wins.
12. Ferris State (11-6-1, 7-6-1 CCHA)
Of note: We've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: In their six losses and one tie, the Bulldogs have scored a total of six goals. They've scored 42 goals in their 11 wins.
13. Cornell (7-3-1, 6-1-1 ECAC Hockey)
Of note: Cornell's 6-1-1 start in ECAC Hockey play is the best since the Big Red opened the 2008-09 season with a 6-0-2 record through their first eight league games.
14. Denver (7-6-3, 5-4-3 WCHA)
Of note: Pretty soon it'll be easier to list the DU players who aren't hurt. The latest to go on the shelf is forward Beau Bennett, out a minimum of six weeks with a wrist injury.
15. UMass Lowell (10-5-0, 7-4-0 Hockey East)
Of note: The RiverHawks faced early adversity when a five-minute major penalty was assessed to Terrence Wallin against Boston College, but they killed that off and then scored twice in the first period en route to the victory.
16. Michigan State (10-6-2, 6-5-1 CCHA)
Of note: The Spartans lost and tied in their home-and-home series with Michigan despite a power-play success rate of 75 percent -- MSU scored on three of its four man-advantage opportunities.
17. Lake Superior State (11-7-2, 7-6-1 CCHA)
Of note: Don't be surprised if the Lakers start scheduling Saturday day-night doubleheaders in the future. Lake State's record is 2-6-0 on Fridays and 9-1-1 on every other day of the week.
18. Nebraska-Omaha (9-8-3, 7-4-3 WCHA)
Of note: Before Friday's 2-1 overtime win at North Dakota, the Mavericks were 0-4-1 this season in games in which they scored two or fewer goals. UNO returned to form in the series finale by dropping a 1-0 decision.
19. North Dakota (9-8-1, 7-7-0 WCHA)
Of note: Goaltender Aaron Dell appears to be rounding into form after a slow start. In his last three appearances, Dell is 2-1-0 and has stopped 79 of the 82 shots he's faced.
20. Northeastern (7-7-2, 4-7-2 Hockey East)
Of note: Northeastern has played just six home games this year, but has a 3-2-1 record at Matthews Arena. The losses were overtime defeats against top-10 teams Boston College and Merrimack.
Dropped out: Yale, Providence
Bubblelicious: Air Force, Michigan Tech, Michigan, Providence
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