December 6, 2009
INCH Power Rankings

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The top two teams in the WCHA standings met last weekend in the heights of the Rocky Mountains, and a three-point weekend allowed Denver to maintain the No. 1 position in the INCH Power Rankings. Closer to sea level Miami pitched two big shutouts, Yale and Quinnipiac went in opposite directions and Bemidji State kept on winning.

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

No. Team

Of Note
1. Denver
The Pioneers managed to take three of four points from rival Colorado College, but squandering a two-goal, third-period lead Saturday and losing standout defenseman Patrick Wiercioch to an apparent knee injury will sting.
10-4-2 (8-2-2 WCHA) LAST WEEK: W at Colorado College, 2-1; T vs. Colorado College, 4-4 ot. THIS WEEK: at Minnesota Duluth, at Minnesota Duluth
2. Miami
What's more impressive than the putting up consecutive shutouts against Notre Dame? How about Miami's penalty killers successfully killing 15 Fighting Irish man-advantage opportunities on the weekend?
11-2-5 (8-1-3 CCHA) LAST WEEK: W vs. Notre Dame, 1-0; W vs. Notre Dame, 4-0. THIS WEEK: at Ohio State, vs. Ohio State
3. North Dakota
Senior defenseman Chay Genoway has missed seven straight games due to injury. Now senior forward Chris VandeVelde could be joining him on the shelf; he missed Saturday's series finale at UMD with an undisclosed ailment.
9-5-2 (6-5-1 WCHA) LAST WEEK: W at Minnesota Duluth, 4-2; L at Minnesota Duluth, 3-2 ot. THIS WEEK: vs. Wisconsin, vs. Wisconsin
4. Cornell
After being scratched for Friday's win at Rensselaer by coach Mike Schafer for taking undisciplined penalties, senior defenseman Brendon Nash returned to the lineup and scored a goal against Union.
7-2-2 (6-2-1 ECAC Hockey) LAST WEEK: W at Rensselaer, 2-1; T at Union, 2-2 ot. THIS WEEK: Off
5. Bemidji State
The Beavers got into the holiday spirit by hanging a snowman on visiting Niagara Friday, the first time BSU scored eight goals in a game in four years and one day--it last occurred on Dec. 3, 2005, in an 8-1 win against Niagara at John Glas Fieldhouse.
13-2-1 (8-0-0 College Hockey America) LAST WEEK: W vs. Niagara, 8-2; W vs. Niagara, 3-2. THIS WEEK: vs. Minnesota State, vs. Minnesota State
6. Yale
Yale scored the last four goals of the game in a 7-4 win over Quinnipiac that featured five lead changes. Denny Kearney and Sean Backman scored in a span of 63 seconds to break a 4-4 tie in the last five minutes of the third period.
7-3-2 (4-1-2 ECAC Hockey) LAST WEEK: L vat Vermont, 1-0; W vs. Quinnipiac, 7-4; W vs. Princeton, 4-1. THIS WEEK: Off
7. Colorado College
The Tigers left Magness Arena with a tie in the finale of the home-and-home series with Denver to improve their road mark this season to 3-0-2; each of the three wins were decided by one goal.
10-4-2 (7-3-2 WCHA) LAST WEEK: L vs. Denver, 2-1; T at Denver, 4-4 ot. THIS WEEK: at St. Cloud State, at St. Cloud State
8. Quinnipiac
All three of Quinnipiac's losses this season have come on the road, and three of their next four are away from TD Banknorth Sports Center. The good news is that the Bobcats start January with eight home games of nine, and they're 7-0-0 at home this season.
12-3-0 (7-2-0 ECAC Hockey) LAST WEEK: L at Yale, 7-4; L at Brown, 2-1. THIS WEEK: at Holy Cross, vs. American International
9. Boston College
The Eagles won a pair of games against teams that consider Boston College their biggest rivals. Freshman goalie Parker Milner made 23 saves in the win at UMass and is 3-0-0 on the year.
8-3-2 (6-3-2 Hockey East) LAST WEEK: W at Massachusetts, 3-1; W at Boston University, 4-1. THIS WEEK: at Harvard, at Providence
10. UMass Lowell
After scoring a total of four goals in their previous three games (all losses), UMass Lowell scored five in a win over Massachusetts. David Vallorani had a hat trick and the River Hawks rallied from a 2-0 first period deficit.
9-5-1 (5-4-1 Hockey East) LAST WEEK: L at New Hampshire, 2-1; W vs. Massachusetts, 5-3. THIS WEEK: vs. Princeton, vs. Princeton
11. Wisconsin
Junior defenseman Brendan Smith extended his point streak to seven games in the Badgers' weekend sweep of Michigan Tech by recording four assists in Friday's 8-2 win and adding two goals and an assist in Saturday's 6-0 romp.
10-5-1 (7-4-1 WCHA) LAST WEEK: W vs. Michigan Tech, 8-2; W vs. Michigan Tech, 6-0. THIS WEEK: at North Dakota, at North Dakota
12. Michigan State
The Spartans, who scored 40 goals during their 9-2-1 run to start the season, have registered a total of nine goals in their last six games; MSU is 1-4-1 during that span.
10-6-2 (7-3-2 CCHA) LAST WEEK: W at Northern Michigan, 1-0; L at Northern Michigan, 3-2 ot. THIS WEEK: at Bowling Green, vs. Bowling Green
13. Massachusetts
James Marcou's 20 assists leads the nation, three better than Wisconsin's Brendan Smith and Minnesota Duluth's Rob Bordson who have played in more games than Marcou.
9-5-0 (5-4-0 WCHA) LAST WEEK: L vs. Boston College, 3-1; L at UMass Lowell, 5-3. THIS WEEK: vs. Merrimack
14. Minnesota Duluth
In the Bulldogs' 4-3 overtime win at Minnesota last month, Travis Oleksuk scoring the winning goal with 12 seconds left in OT. In the Bulldogs' 3-2 overtime win against North Dakota Saturday, Justin Fontaine netted the winner 12 seconds into extra time.
10-5-1 (7-4-1 WCHA) LAST WEEK: L vs. North Dakota, 4-2; W vs. North Dakota, 3-2 ot. THIS WEEK: vs. Denver, vs. Denver
15. Ferris State
By sweeping Nebraska-Omaha in Big Rapids last weekend, the Bulldogs extended their current unbeaten streak to eight (6-0-2) and ran their home record to 10-0-0 this season.
11-3-2 (6-2-2 CCHA) LAST WEEK: W vs. Nebraska-Omaha, 2-0; W vs. Nebraska-Omaha, 3-1. THIS WEEK: at Western Michigan, vs. Western Michigan
16. Alaska
Since starting the year with a 5-0-1 run, the Nanooks' record is a palindromic 3-4-3. Four of the team's last five games have gone into overtime.
8-4-4 (5-4-3 CCHA) LAST WEEK: L at Western Michigan, 3-1; T at Western Michigan, 4-4 ot. THIS WEEK: vs. Nebraska-Omaha, vs. Nebraska-Omaha
17. St. Cloud State
The Huskies posted an admirable 6-4-0 mark over a 10-game stretch in which they played all but two games on the road. SCSU's reward? Seven of the team's next 10 games are at home including the next six in a row.
8-6-2 (7-4-1 WCHA) LAST WEEK: W at Alaska Anchorage, 3-1; W at Alaska Anchorage, 3-2. THIS WEEK: vs. Colorado College, vs. Colorado College
18. Union
Union is the only undefeated team in ECAC Hockey play (3-0-3) but stands in fifth place. The Dutchmen will make up a bunch of games in hand against teams they currently trail in January and February.
7-3-5 (3-0-3 ECAC Hockey) LAST WEEK: W vs. Colgate, 3-1; T vs. Cornell, 2-2 ot. THIS WEEK: at Renssealer, vs. US NTDP Under-18s (Ex.)
19. New Hampshire
Lining up against the likes of Miami, Wisconsin and Rensselaer is no easy task, and it gives good reason why New Hampshire stands atop Hockey East with a 7-2-2 record despite being 0-4-1 in non-conference play.
7-6-3 (7-2-2 Hockey East) LAST WEEK: W vs. UMass Lowell, 2-1; W at Vermont, 5-2. THIS WEEK: at Providence
20. Maine
The Black Bears have allowed exactly one goal against in each game of a four-game win streak, and sophomore goalie Scott Darling has started all four. He's stopped 91 of 95 shots he's faced during the streak.
8-7-1 (6-4-1 Hockey East) LAST WEEK: W vs. Providence, 3-1; W vs. Providence, 3-1. THIS WEEK: vs. Northeastern

Dropped out: Notre Dame, Vermont, Nebraska-Omaha

Bubble-licious: RIT, Air Force, Colgate, Vermont, Notre Dame