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Ferris State takes over No. 1 spot

2/13/2012

Editor's note: These rankings were released Feb. 13.

We're set up for a week of big games between Hockey East members, which of course starts with Monday's Beanpot championship between Boston University and Boston College. Local bragging rights and a trophy are at stake, but in the long run their weekend series might be bigger -- BU has a home-and-home with UMass Lowell and BC has a similar series with Merrimack. All four teams are ranked in the top 10 of the latest INCH Power Rankings.

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

1. Ferris State (20-8-4, 14-6-4 CCHA)

Of note: By sweeping Notre Dame, the Bulldogs became the first team in the nation to reach 20 wins, ran their unbeaten streak to 12, and extended their lead in the CCHA standings to five points over second-place Western Michigan with four games remaining in the regular season.

2. Union (17-6-7, 11-3-4 ECAC)

Of note: The Dutchmen have scored 37 power-play goals and allowed just 16 such goals by their opponents. The only other team in the country with at least a 2-to-1 ratio in that department is Quinnipiac.

3. Minnesota Duluth (19-7-4, 13-6-3 WCHA)

Of note: The Bulldogs avoided losing their third in a row, hanging on to beat North Dakota on Saturday, but sophomore forward J.T. Brown, UMD's third-leading scorer, was injured late in the first period of that game and did not return.

4. Boston University (17-9-1, 13-7-1 Hockey East)

Of note: The Terriers average the most penalty minutes per game in the country, but they also have eight short-handed goals. Only Boston College (10) and Colgate (11) have more shorties.

5. Minnesota (19-11-1, 15-7-0 WCHA)

Of note: Saturday's overtime loss at Denver was the Gophers' first this season when leading after two periods and the team's first Saturday night loss against a WCHA opponent.

6. UMass Lowell (19-8-0, 14-7-0 Hockey East)

Of note: The River Hawks have been a surprising story this season and they might be around for a while. Standout goaltender Doug Carr is a sophomore, and the team's two leading goal scorers are sophomore Derek Arnold (15 goals) and freshman Scott Wilson (13).

7. Michigan (18-10-4 , 12-8-4 CCHA)

Of note: Junior forward A.J. Treais, who scored three goals in the Wolverines' weekend split with Michigan State, has six goals and an assist in his last five games. In the 12 games prior to his current scoring streak, Treais recorded a total of two goals.

8. Boston College (18-10-1, 13-7-1 Hockey East)

Of note: Monday's Beanpot championship will be the 100th game of Chris Kreider's career at Boston College. He has 44 goals so far, including two in last year's Beanpot final and one as a freshman in the Beanpot title game -- both of which were won by the Eagles.

9. Denver (17-9-4, 12-6-4 WCHA)

Of note: The Pioneers swept Minnesota, giving them 10 wins in their last 12 meetings with the Gophers. One loss DU can't afford is Jason Zucker -- the team's second-leading scorer left Friday's game midway through the second period after a check by Minnesota's Kyle Rau, and didn't play Saturday.

10. Merrimack (15-7-6, 11-6-4 Hockey East)

Of note: Through 21 conference games, Merrimack is 3-3-2 against the other teams in the top half of the Hockey East standings and 8-3-2 against the bottom-five teams in the league.

11. Cornell (13-6-6, 10-3-5 ECAC Hockey)

Of note: Balanced scoring is back for the Big Red, on a weekend during which Cornell lit the lamp nine times. All three of the team's top scoring lines accounted for at least two goals, and the fourth line provided a physical presence in wins over Brown and Yale.

12. Maine (17-9-3, 12-8-2 Hockey East)

Of note: Since stumbling through a five-game winless streak in November, Maine is 14-3-1 in its last 18 games, including sweeps of Boston College and Boston University in late January.

13. Colgate (17-10-3, 11-6-1 ECAC)

Of note: If you're a believer in veteran teams making deep postseason runs, keep an eye on Colgate. Nine of the Raiders' lineup regulars have played at least 100 career games.

14. Colorado College (15-11-2, 12-9-1 WCHA)

Of note: Invigorated by a season series win against rival Denver, the Tigers did a complete 180, losing twice to Bemidji State on the road. "The locker room isn't a very good place right now," Colorado College assistant coach Joe Bonnett said in a radio interview following Saturday's game.

15. North Dakota (16-11-2, 12-10-0 WCHA)

Of note: It was a big weekend for junior forward Carter Rowney, who recorded two goals and an assist in Friday's 3-1 win at Minnesota Duluth and added a pair of goals in Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Bulldogs. Rowney, who entered this season with four career goals, has scored 12 in 29 games this season.

16. Notre Dame (16-13-3, 11-10-3 CCHA)

Of note: All you need to know about the Fighting Irish, losers of three straight and seven of their last 10, is summed up by one statistic: the Irish are 1-10-3 this season when they have scored two or fewer goals. That means Notre Dame is 15-3-0 when it gets three or more goals.

17. Miami (Ohio) (17-13-2, 11-11-2 CCHA)

Of note: Senior third-string goalie Ben Saksa made his first career save in the RedHawks' 4-1 win against visiting Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday. The St. Clairsville, Ohio, native stopped the only shot he faced over the final 3:27 of the third period.

18. Michigan State (16-12-4, 10-9-3 WCHA)

Of note: No-Torey-ous: Junior defenseman Torey Krug scored twice and added an assist in Friday's win versus Michigan and pitched in an assist in Saturday's OT loss to the Wolverines in Detroit. In his last five games, Krug has four goals and six assists.

19. Air Force (15-7-7, 13-4-6 ECAC)

Of note: Is it just us, or does it always seem that Air Force really gets its act together in the second half of the season. The Falcons are on an eight-game unbeaten streak. Last year they had an eight-game winning streak in February and March.

20. Western Michigan (15-12-5, 12-9-3 CCHA)

Of note: Despite the split with Ohio State this past weekend, the Broncos remain in second place in the CCHA standings, five points behind Ferris State. If WMU can keep pace with the Bulldogs, it'll set up a home-and-home showdown for the league title on the final weekend of the regular season.

Dropped out: Harvard

Bubblelicious: Bemidji State, Harvard, Lake Superior State, Ohio State


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