Ohio State on rise, but danger lurks

Originally Published: January 5, 2012
Inside College Hockey

Editor's note: These rankings were released Jan. 3.

This edition takes into account all of the results since we last published, including games on the weekend of Dec. 16-17 in addition to action during the holiday tournaments and regular-season games.

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 take a 14-game unbeaten streak into what might be their toughest road trip of the season, a nonconference series at Western Michigan.

2. Ohio State (14-4-1, 10-3-1 CCHA)

Of note: The Buckeyes have 14 games remaining, all against CCHA opponents. Combined league record of those seven foes: 38-45-13.

3. Minnesota (15-6-1, 11-3-0 WCHA)

Of note: Sophomore defenseman Nate Schmidt, who leads the Gophers with a plus-minus rating of +17, has been even or better in all but two of the team's 22 games.

4. Notre Dame (12-6-3, 8-3-3 CCHA)

Of note: Sophomore forward Anders Lee snapped a nine-game goal drought with a pair of goals in the Irish's 5-2 win over Boston University on New Year's Eve.

5. Boston College (13-7-0, 9-4-0 Hockey East)

Of note: This is the first time that a BC team has had at least seven losses on Jan. 1 since the 1996-97 season. The Eagles have been to nine Frozen Fours and won three NCAA titles since then.

6. Colgate (12-4-2, 6-2-0 ECAC Hockey)

Of note: Colgate is 6-0-1 in its last seven games, and the Raiders are doing it with defense. They've allowed just one goal in four of those and two goals in the other three.

7. Merrimack (11-3-3, 7-2-1 Hockey East)

Of note: After an undefeated 10-game stretch to start the year (9-0-1), Merrimack is just 2-3-2 in its last seven, and tough games loom at BU and BC this weekend.

8. Colorado College (12-6-0, 9-5-0 WCHA)

Of note: The Tigers try for their fourth and fifth wins against ECAC Hockey opponents this season when they host Cornell for a nonconference series this weekend.

9. Western Michigan (10-5-5, 7-4-3 CCHA)

Of note: Dan DeKeyser was no. 95 in The Hockey News' annual list of the game's top 100 people of power and influence -- the publication expects the sophomore defenseman to be the most coveted college free agent this spring.

10. Denver (10-7-3, 6-5-3 WCHA)

Of note: Junior foward Drew Shore had three goals and two assists in the Pioneers' wins over Union and Air Force. In DU's last 12 games, Shore has nine goals and 10 assists.

11. Union (9-5-5, 3-2-2 ECAC)

Of note: After playing just five home games so far this season, and recently wrapping up an eight-game road trip, Union plays nine of its next 14 games at home, beginning this week against Harvard and Dartmouth.

12. UMass Lowell (12-5-0, 7-4-0 Hockey East)

Of note: David Vallorani had three goals and two assists in Lowell's two wins at the UConn Hockey Classic. He was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

13. Boston University (10-6-1, 8-4-1 Hockey East)

Of note: None of Boston University's freshman players has more than five points this season, and the leading rookie scorer is Cason Hohmann with a goal and four assists.

14. Cornell (8-4-1, 6-1-1 ECAC Hockey)

Of note: Florida native and Big Red freshman Brian Ferlin had three points at the Florida College Classic, played at the home of the Florida Everblades. Ferlin played in the Junior Everblades program during his developmental years.

15. Michigan (11-8-3, 5-6-3 CCHA)

Of note: The Wolverines are 4-0-1 in their last five. Three of those wins have been of the one-goal variety and two of those three were in OT. An empty-net goal provided the margin of victory in the fourth, a 4-2 triumph against Boston College.

16. Michigan State (11-7-2, 6-5-1 CCHA)

Of note: Key stretch coming up for the Spartans with six in a row at home (Miami, Northern Michigan, Lake Superior State). Michigan State is a sterling 6-1-2 in East Lansing this season.

17. Nebraska-Omaha (10-8-4, 7-4-3 WCHA)

Of note: Freshman forward Jayson Megna, who ranks second among WCHA rookies in points, scored a goal and added three assists in the Mavericks' tie and win against visiting Quinnipiac this past weekend.

18. Northeastern (8-7-2, 4-7-2 Hockey East)

Of note: Goalie Chris Rawlings went 4-0-1 in leading Northeastern to an undefeated December with a 1.97 goals-against average and earned Hockey East Goaltender of the Month honors.

19. North Dakota (10-8-2, 7-7-0 WCHA)

Of note: The team that shall not be named is 6-1-1 in its last eight games; it has scored 35 goals and given up 21 during that span.

20. Lake Superior State (12-8-2, 7-6-1 CCHA)

Of note: The next four weeks are of vital importance to the Lakers' CCHA hopes -- starting this weekend, Lake State has series at Michigan, vs. Miami, at Michigan State, and vs. Ohio State.

Dropped out: Ferris State

Bubblelicious: Air Force, Ferris State, RIT, Yale

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