Only two spots in this week’s USCHO polls remained unchanged, as nonconference battles between ranked opponents continue to make an impact on the weekly rankings. Released yesterday, here’s the new-look USCHO top 20:
- We begin with Notre Dame, whose stay at the top didn’t last as long as they’d hoped it would. Swept by Minnesota Duluth, the new No. 1 team in the country, the Fighting Irish slid down four spots to No. 5 while the Bulldogs jumped up two slots to take over as the top-ranked program. I’ll get into it more with my weekly preview, but ND will have a major opportunity to regain that top slot thanks to an upcoming series with Ohio State at home.
- The Battle For Ohio was not kind to the Buckeyes, who took another tumble in the polls, this time from No. 4 to No. 7 following an 0-1-1 weekend against in-state rival Bowling Green. Meanwhile, the Falcons produced the biggest rise of the week, ascending to No. 9 and into the top 10 for the first time since 2015. I came across an article that made me even more impressed with BG: they aren’t just beating their opponents, they’re doing it with ease. They outscored OSU 10-4 this past weekend, and have two decisive wins over Western Michigan (6-2 and 4-1). If they keep it up, the Falcons should have no problems making the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990.
- And now, for the weekly UMass tidbit. The Minutemen produced a home-and-home weekend sweep over Merrimack, and were rewarded for their victories with a boost to No. 11 in the rankings. This is the highest UMass has been ranked since Nov. 2009, as the Minutemen are one of only three teams for Hockey East to crack the top 20. Cale Makar’s 11 points for UMass are tied for second-most in the country, while the Minutemen continue to succeed on special teams, converting an NCAA best 37.04 percent with the man advantage (Harvard and Dartmouth have a higher success rate, but have only played one game) and killing off 89.66 percent of penalties.
- The other two HE schools in the top 20, Providence and Northeastern, also rose in the rankings. A 5-0 victory over Boston University saw the Friars leapfrog three spots and into the top three, and the Huskies rebounded from a tough weekend against Union (now-No. 17) with an impressive victory over No. 2 St. Cloud State to climb up five spots to No. 13.
- Big 10 schools Penn State and Minnesota headed in opposite directions this week, with the Nittany Lions moving up further inside the top 10 to No. 6 after a 4-2 win over Princeton. The Gophers, on the other end, fell victim to North Dakota 3-1 in Vegas, a loss that slid them down to No. 10.
Just Missed It:
- Colorado College (71 votes)
- Clarkson (39)
- Michigan State (38)
- Western Michigan (21)
- Arizona State (20)
Ranked Teams By Conference:
Big Ten (6): Notre Dame, Ohio State, Minnesota, Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin
ECAC (4): Cornell, Princeton, Quinnipiac, Union
Hockey East (3): Providence, Northeastern, UMass
NCHC (5): Denver, Miami, Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota, St. Cloud State
WCHA (2): Bowling Green, Minnesota State