Entering the home stretch

Originally Published: March 12, 2012
Inside College Hockey

Editor's note: These rankings were released March 12.

Most of the teams in the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings made it through the playoff weekend unscathed, but a few upsets around the country caught people's attention.

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

1. Boston College (27-10-1)

Of note: The Eagles had only three shots on goal in the second period of Friday's game, but scored on two of them. That was enough to give them a 2-1 win over UMass.

2. Union (22-7-7)

Of note: After suffering a first-round upset as the top seed in the quarterfinal round last year, the Dutchmen left little doubt this time around. Union trailed for less than six minutes the entire weekend and swept RPI.

3. Minnesota (26-12-1)

Of note: Holla for Haula, indeed: Sophomore forward Erik Haula scored four goals and added two assists in the Gophers' sweep of Alaska Anchorage. The team's leading scorer has nine goals and 16 points in his past 12 games.

4. Minnesota Duluth (24-8-6)

Of note: Sophomore forward J.T. Brown scored goals in each of the Bulldogs' wins against Minnesota State. He's got at least one goal in nine of the 10 games he's played since Feb. 1 and a total of 14 points during that span.

5. Michigan (23-11-4)

Of note: With a sweep of Notre Dame, the Wolverines advanced to the CCHA semifinals for the 24th time in a row. If they can knock off a streaking Bowling Green team, it'll be their 17th trip to the CCHA finals in those 24 seasons.

6. Miami (Ohio) (23-13-2)

Of note: After another super weekend in goal, Connor Knapp leads the nation with a 1.43 goals-against average and is second in the country with a .943 save percentage -- both totals would be Miami single-season records.

7. Boston University (23-13-1)

Of note: BU trailed 4-1 early in the second period of Sunday's game, but Kieran Millan didn't allow another goal and the Terriers rallied for a 5-4 win in double overtime. Millan had 68 saves Sunday and 150 in the series.

8. North Dakota (22-12-3)

Of note: By sweeping Bemidji State, North Dakota earned its 10th straight berth in the WCHA Final Five. Only Minnesota, which qualified for the Final Five 11 straight years from 1999 to 2009, has a longer streak.

9. Denver (23-12-4)

Of note: Four Pioneers -- Drew Shore, Jason Zucker, Nick Shore and Joey LaLeggia -- enter the WCHA Final Five with 37 or more points. DU hasn't had four skaters with 40-plus points since the NCAA title season of 2004-05 when five guys did it (Gauthier, Stastny, Carle, Fulghum, Skinner).

10. Ferris State (23-11-5)

Of note: Despite the Bulldogs' disappointing, overtime loss in Game 3 against Bowling Green, Ferris State's strong record that gave it a regular-season title will likely put it in the NCAA tournament for just the second time in program history.

11. Cornell (17-7-7)

Of note: Defenseman Sean Whitney hadn't scored a goal all season long, but potted his first of the year in the second OT to give Cornell a Game 1 victory. He added another in Game 2 as the Big Red swept Dartmouth.

12. Maine (22-12-3)

Of note: The teams combined to rack up 40 penalties for 184 minutes in Saturday's Game 2, that included four majors and nine misconducts in the third period alone.

13. Western Michigan (19-13-6)

Of note: Captain Ian Slater was an emotional leader for the team this time last year, but he delivered on the score sheet as well this time around, scoring three of Western Michigan's nine goals in a sweep of Lake Superior.

14. UMass Lowell (23-12-1)

Of note: UMass Lowell lost 1-0 to Providence in the decisive game of a Hockey East series, and it had an eerie resemblance to a 1-0 regular-season result. In both contests the Friars scored the only goal of the game in the first period, and Providence goalie Alex Beaudry had 29 saves each time.

15. Harvard (12-9-11)

Of note: Harvard capitalized on second-period success in its series win against Yale, by outscoring the Bulldogs 7-0 during the second periods in the three-game set.

16. Colgate (19-15-3)

Of note: Like Harvard, last week's bye proved beneficial to Colgate, as it polished off Quinnipiac with a 4-0 win on Sunday night. Harvard and Colgate's opponents were playing their sixth game in 10 days.

17. Merrimack (18-12-7)

Of note: It's a story we've told all season long, but Merrimack was done in by a lack of goal scoring in a playoff series at Maine, as it scored just one goal in each of the losses.

18. Michigan State (19-15-4)

Of note: If everything bounces the Spartans' way, Michigan State's senior class will aim to earn its first postseason win in the opening round of the NCAA tournament after being swept in its first series in the CCHA playoffs for the fourth season in a row.

19. Air Force (19-10-7)

Of note: In nine games since sweeping RIT in Colorado Springs on Feb. 3-4, the Falcons' top six scorers -- Kyle De Laurell, John Kruse, Tim Kirby, Cole Gunner, Chad Demers and Scott Mathis -- have combined for 11 of the team's 25 goals. In the first 27 games, that sextet scored 51 of AFA's 85 goals.

20. St. Cloud State (17-16-5)

Of note: Does any player toil in anonymity more than Ben Hanowski? The junior forward, who netted two goals and an assist in the Huskies' sweep of Nebraska-Omaha, has 43 points this season and has yet to be held pointless in consecutive games.

Dropped out: Colorado College, Notre Dame

Bubblelicious: Colorado College, Niagara

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