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Monday, January 30, 2012
Maine rises after Boston sweep

Inside College Hockey

Editor's note: These rankings were released Jan. 30.

Minnesota Duluth took a little bit of a dip this past weekend with a tie and loss on home ice against Michigan Tech, but their body of work throughout the entire season is strong enough to keep them atop the latest edition of the 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. Minnesota Duluth (17-5-4, 11-4-3 WCHA)

Of note: Michigan Tech snapped Jack Connolly's 22-game point streak Friday, holding the senior forward scoreless in a 4-4 tie. The following night, the Huskies ended every Bulldog point streak, blanking the defending champs, 5-0.

2. Minnesota (19-9-1, 15-5-0 WCHA)

Of note: Green Day could live without warning; the Gophers have a five-point cushion atop the WCHA standings thanks freshman forward Sam Warning. His goal with 1:19 left in regulation Saturday -- his first since Oct. 21 -- propelled Minnesota to a 3-2 win at St. Cloud State.

3. Merrimack (14-5-5, 10-4-3 Hockey East)

Of note: Merrimack was outshot 39-23, but never trailed in the game with a 4-2 win over Providence on Sunday. It's the sixth straight game that Merrimack has allowed exactly two goals against.

4. Union (15-6-6, 9-3-3 ECAC)

Of note: It was a weekend of fast starts for the Dutchmen, who scored four goals in the first period against Clarkson and two in the first period against St. Lawrence.

5. Boston University (15-8-1, 12-6-1 Hockey East)

Of note: The Terriers were held to just three goals in two losses against Maine, the lowest goal total of the season in a two-game weekend for the club that entered the weekend ranked third nationally in scoring average.

6. UMass Lowell (16-7-0, 11-6-0 Hockey East)

Of note: With its 16th win of the season, UML already has won 11 more games than it did last year. It's tied for the greatest single-season win increase in program history.

7. Notre Dame (15-10-3, 10-7-3 CCHA)

Of note: Maybe the CCHA should award the Fighting Irish a half-point for going on the road to face Alaska this past weekend. The temperature in Fairbanks Saturday was minus-41 -- and that was the high.

8. Boston College (16-10-1, 12-7-1 Hockey East)

Of note: The Eagles aren't leaving themselves much room for error, as each of their last four wins have come by one goal. That goes along with five losses and a tie in their last 10 games.

9. Denver (15-8-3, 10-5-3 WCHA)

Of note: No bull about Loney: Freshman forward Ty Loney scored three goals in the Pioneers' sweep of Alaska Anchorage this past weekend. In his last seven games, the son of former NHLer Troy Loney has scored seven goals and 12 points.

10. Cornell (11-6-4, 8-3-3 ECAC Hockey)

Of note: We guess it could have been worse for Cornell on a weekend where they were swept by travel-partner Colgate … at least they remembered to pack their jerseys this time.

11. Colorado College (14-9-1, 11-7-0 WCHA)

Of note: Here's the definition of dichotomy: In their five losses prior to Christmas, the Tigers were outscored 29-21, an average of 5.8 goals against versus 4.2 goals for. In its four post-Christmas losses, CC has been outscored 12-7, an average of 3.0 goals against and 1.8 goals for.

12. Michigan (15-9-4 , 9-7-4 CCHA)

Of note: Hey, did you see coach Red Berenson's old Michigan hockey sweater on page 24 of the the most recent ESPN The Magazine? It's one of the dozen or so vintage jerseys featured in a photo collection in the publication's Feb. 6 issue.

13. Ferris State (17-8-3, 11-6-3 CCHA)

Of note: The Bulldogs moved into first place in the CCHA with their first weekend sweep of Michigan State since 1990; it's also the first time in school history that Ferris swept the Spartans in Big Rapids.

14. Maine (14-8-3, 11-7-2 Hockey East)

Of note: Maine had a nice season going, but no truly great wins to make people take notice. That's not the case anymore, following back-to-back sweeps of Boston College and Boston University.

15. Ohio State (14-8-5, 10-7-5 CCHA)

Of note: Freshman forward Max McCormick scored three goals for the Buckeyes in Saturday's 4-4 tie at Lake Superior State, becoming the first OSU rookie to record a hat trick since Jan. 29, 2005, when Tom Fritsche scored three against Western Michigan.

16. Miami (Ohio) (15-11-2, 11-9-2 CCHA)

Of note: Fun with round numbers: Junior forward Reilly Smith recorded his 100th career point in Saturday's 6-0 rout of Northern Michigan, assisting on Alex Wideman's first-period goal.

17. North Dakota (15-10-2, 11-9-0 WCHA)

Of note: NoDak may be a one-line team, but it doesn't matter if you can't stop 'em. Leading scorers Brock Nelson and Danny Kristo each scored two goals and two assists as the Monoliths of the Great Plains swept Wisconsin in Grand Forks.

18. Western Michigan (13-10-5, 10-7-3 CCHA)

Of note: The Broncos had a chance to hang onto first place in the CCHA Saturday, but lost a 2-1 decision at Bowling Green. Said Western Michigan coach Andy Murray to David Drew of the "Kalamazoo Gazette" following the game: "Losing sucks."

19. Colgate (14-9-3, 8-5-1 ECAC)

Of note: After a two-win weekend against former league-leaders Cornell, Colgate coach Don Vaughan joked about resigning. We don't think he'll have to make good on that threat.

20. Nebraska-Omaha (12-10-4, 9-6-3 WCHA)

Of note: Could Omaha be the site of an outdoor hockey game in the near future? The Mavs are looking at playing at TD Ameritrade Park, home of the College World Series. Our suggestion: an eight-team, double-elimination tournament spread over 10 or so days.

Dropped out: Quinnipiac

Bubblelicious: Quinnipiac, Harvard, Lake Superior State, RIT

For more from Inside College Hockey, check out insidecollegehockey.com.