February 15, 2004
INCH Power Rankings

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Seeding speculation:
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USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Poll
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Sweeps by Boston College, Michigan and Minnesota Duluth helped those three teams take control of their conference races with three weeks remaining in the regular season. Meanwhile, the ECAC's leaderboard got even more confusing with just two weeks left to sort it all out.

Here's how the Inside College Hockey editors and staff rank the rest of the nation's top teams (along with movement since last week and a note). You can let us know what you think, including your name and hometown, and we'll share your thoughts below.

No. Team

Of Note
1. Boston College The high-flying Eagles could see injured star Ben Eaves return this weekend. That's something like the Yankees adding A-Rod.
23-3-4 (14-1-3 Hockey East). LAST WEEK: W vs. Boston University, 2-1 ot (Beanpot); W at Massachusetts, 5-2; W vs. Massachusetts, 6-1. THIS WEEK: vs. UMass Lowell, at UMass Lowell.
2. North Dakota The Sioux, who lost just two of their first 22 games, have doubled that number in their last seven (2-4-1).
20-6-3 (14-5-3 WCHA). LAST WEEK: W vs. Colorado College, 5-2; L vs. Colorado College, 4-1. THIS WEEK: at Minnesota State, at Minnesota State.
3. Michigan 2 "They're the best team in the league until someone else proves otherwise," said Red Berenson a day before his team moved past Miami and into the CCHA lead.
21-8-1 (16-5-1 CCHA). LAST WEEK: W vs. Miami, 4-1; W vs. Miami, 8-5. THIS WEEK: vs. Bowling Green, vs. Bowling Green.
4. Minnesota Duluth 2 The last time the Bulldogs went 12 consecutive games without a loss was March 1985, which is also the date of UMD's last Frozen Four appearance.
20-8-3 (16-5-1 WCHA). LAST WEEK: W vs. Minnesota, 6-1; W vs. Minnesota, 4-1. THIS WEEK: at Colorado College, at Colorado College.
5. Maine 1 Saturday night dead: Black Bears have been shut out in three of their last five Saturday games.
21-6-3 (12-4-2 Hockey East). LAST WEEK: W at Northeastern, 3-1; T at Northeastern, 0-0 ot. THIS WEEK: vs. Providence, vs. Providence.
6. Minnesota 3 Gophers had never been swept in a season series by UMD. And it's probably been a while since they had a 40% penalty kill for a weekend, too.
18-11-3 (11-10-1 WCHA). LAST WEEK: L at Minnesota Duluth, 6-1; L at Minnesota Duluth, 4-1. THIS WEEK: vs. Alaska Anchorage, vs. Alaska Anchorage.
7. Wisconsin 1 NCAA rules mandated that Mike Eaves have no contact with his team last week. We like to think he rearranged the items on his desk about 243 times.
17-9-6 (11-6-5 WCHA). LAST WEEK: Off. THIS WEEK: vs. St. Cloud State, vs. St. Cloud State.
8. Denver 2 Smart gamblers know to bet the "over" when DU and Mankato meet. The Pioneers and Mavs combined for 47 goals in four meetings this year.
18-10-4 (8-10-4 WCHA). LAST WEEK: W vs. Minnesota State, 7-1; W vs. Minnesota State, 9-7. THIS WEEK: at Michigan Tech, at Michigan Tech.
9. St. Cloud State 2 Chem majors in St. Cloud have a new favorite element (B) after freshman goalie Tim Boron got the Huskies a pair of wins.
18-9-3 (12-7-3 WCHA). LAST WEEK: W vs. Bemidji State, 5-2; W vs. Bemidji State, 3-2. THIS WEEK: at Wisconsin, at Wisconsin.
10. New Hampshire 1 Try as you might, Wildcats, we don't think you can catch Dartmouth for the state lead in ties (8).
16-10-5 (8-6-5 Hockey East). LAST WEEK: T at UMass Lowell, 3-3 ot; T vs. UMass Lowell, 3-3 ot. THIS WEEK: vs. Northeastern.
11. Miami 4 Wolverines hang 12 goals on RedHawks this weekend after Miami had allowed 14 goals in the previous month.
18-11-3 (15-7-2 CCHA). LAST WEEK: L at Michigan, 4-1; L at Michigan, 8-5. THIS WEEK: Off.
12. Colorado College 3 On Saturday, the Tigers played like they'd just heard about that whole "hosting the West Regional" thingy.
16-11-3 (9-9-2 WCHA). LAST WEEK: L at North Dakota, 5-2; W at North Dakota, 4-1. THIS WEEK: vs. Minnesota Duluth, vs. Minnesota Duluth.
13. Massachusetts 1 A hockey school now: Friday's crowd of 8,373 was the first hockey sellout ever at the Mullins Center, and over 3,000 more than the biggest hoops crowd of the year.
16-8-5 (12-6-2 Hockey East). LAST WEEK: L vs. Boston College, 5-2; L at Boston College, 6-1. THIS WEEK: at Boston University, vs. Boston University.
14. Colgate The best team in the ECAC? We think so. A 6-0-0 record against the top-four teams in the league.
16-9-5 (11-5-2 ECAC). LAST WEEK: L vs. Yale, 3-1; W vs. Princeton, 4-2. THIS WEEK: at Union, at Rensselaer.
15. Brown 2 Not a good sign when these words are uttered by your head coach, "I don't know what went wrong."
14-6-5 (12-4-2 ECAC). LAST WEEK: T vs. Union, 2-2 ot; L vs. Rensselaer, 4-0. THIS WEEK: at St. Lawrence, at Clarkson.
16. Cornell 1 Way to go Jon Gleed. This sign was held by a ladyfriend at Lynah on Saturday: "Gleed's gonna score at least once 2-Nite. Happy Valentine's Day. Go Big Red!"
12-7-6 (10-5-3 ECAC). LAST WEEK: W vs. Princeton, 6-1; W vs. Yale, 2-1. THIS WEEK: at Rensselaer, at Union.
17. Ohio State 2 CSI: Columbus – goalie Dave Caruso has won three straight starts and five in a row dating back to Nov. 21.
19-13-0 (14-10-0 CCHA). LAST WEEK: W vs. Nebraska-Omaha, 3-1; W vs. Nebraska-Omaha, 4-3. THIS WEEK: at Western Michigan, at Western Michigan.
18. Michigan State 2 Rick Comley suffered the first loss to UAF of his career Friday night. We'd like to say the sun still came up the next day, but it was winter in Alaska.
18-15-1 (14-9-1 CCHA). LAST WEEK: L at Alaska-Fairbanks, 5-4; W at Alaska-Fairbanks, 3-2. THIS WEEK: vs. Nebraska-Omaha, vs. Nebraska-Omaha.
19. Providence 1 In the Friars' last seven games, only Boston College has scored more than two goals – or come away with a win.
14-9-6 (6-8-5 Hockey East). LAST WEEK: W vs. Boston University, 2-1. THIS WEEK: at Maine, at Maine.
20. Rensselaer NR Every time we think these guys are going away, they come back with an impressive weekend.
17-11-2 (11-6-1 ECAC). LAST WEEK: W at Harvard, 3-2; W at Brown, 4-0. THIS WEEK: vs. Cornell, vs. Colgate.

Dropped out: Bemidji State

Bubble-licious: Notre Dame, Holy Cross, Northern Michigan, Bemidji State, Dartmouth


Is there some super secret formula you're failing to mention to help you determine these rankings? Because I think that logic may have little to nothing to do with it. So North Dakota loses (and pretty badly mind you) to SIXTH PLACE CC, the same CC that has a losing record in the conference, and they don't budge from #2. Michigan and Duluth sweep Miami and Minnesota, the first place teams in their conferences, and somehow manage NOT to jump them? I didn't know that having the words "North Dakota" printed on the front of a jersey somehow gave you a gift of at least two places in the rankings, because both UM and UMD should have jumped them after this weekend's performances..... but then again, what the heck to I know right. After all, I let logic get in the way.

Jon, C-Bus, Ohio

north dakota have gone 2-4-1 in their last seven games and i'm just
wondering how they are still at number 2, that confuses me!

patrick, austin, mn

Finally, it takes a sweep of miami for them to drop down 4 spots below the badgers, where they belong....i think i remember mike, of grand rapids saying:"Do the Badger fans think their team is better than Miami or Michigan? That's why you're not higher than #8." As I recall, wisconsin won the only meeting between michigan and wisc. And yeah, i think wisconsin is MUCH better than miami, who has no impressive wins, while wisconsin has a full resume. I guess i'll save the talk for playoff times though, hope to be seeing miami!

Jed, Madison, WI

I was surprised that UMD didn't move up to #2 and UND drop to #4 in the power poll, given sweeps by both UMD and Michigan last weekend, combined with recent UND weakness.

Bob "Old WIldcat" Roetger, Andover, MA

Wake up and rank North Dakota based on their play. Yes, they are good, but as you point out they are 2-4-1 in their last 7. Michigan beats the only other half-way decent team in the CCHA. Put them at #3 if you want, but they will lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament anyway. MN-Duluth manhandled a very good Gopher team and is the team to beat in the WCHA. What in the world happened to UNH? Is Hockey East becoming a 2 horse conference with BC & Maine.

Mike - Woodbury, MN

Congratulation's Wolverines you were excellent this weekend! In fact, through most of the first period of Saturday's game Michigan played lights-out hockey holding Miami (then seventh place) to a near-fifty-percent save percentage. With the new Ice Hockey RPI's also having Michigan in third place (with the ninth best strength of schedule), the CCHA has undoubtedly been underrated. Of course the parody within the conference has been questioned at times this year, but such intraconference parody is surely a sign that CCHA teams are of
comparable talent, and that with wins such as Michigan's, and the physics-defying saves of USA's Junior World Cup starting goalie Al Montoya this past weekend, CCHA teams are comparable in talent to any conference. For if teams of the CCHA really are comparable to Michigan, it would be unwise to consider that conference anything less than one of the two best in the nation. However, I assume that many will continue to cry that the CCHA is not a formidable antagonist of conferences like the WCHA, and until we see the member's of 2004's frozen four... none of us will know. However, do remember that the CCHA has sent more teams to the frozen four in the past decade (eleven) than ANY "western" conference, and that if frozen fours do not matter,... ncaa championships do. Michigan has the MOST ncaa championships (nine) as well. I certainly expect these trends to continue.

Dave, Ann Arbor, MI

UMD is first in the WCHA, playing some of the best hockey in the country right now, beat a solid Gopher team and can’t bypass the Sioux in the rankings??? Isn’t it strange how UMD leads North Dakota in the WCHA but not in these rankings. I guess tradition has more weight than the way a team plays in the national rankings.

Zach Duluth, MN

To Jon in Ohio. To clear one misprint, Miami might have been leading the CCHA, but UMD and ND were tied going into this weekend.

And in my view I think that UMD should have been ranked higher than Michigan considering the teams they beat, and the conferences they are leading. Minnesota is way better than Miami, and the WCHA is the toughest league in the NCAA. I also think that UMD should be ahead of ND, but I also see how they are still in second. Look at the teams they have played and beat. They have had some bad ties but no real bad losses. Losing to Wisconsin is something that not to be ashamed of, they are an excellent team this year. UMD hold their fate in their own hands. Going to CC this weekend they need a sweep to stay atop the WCHA. They then come back to Duluth for a series against ND, then travel to Madison to close out the regular season. Now I am not going to say they sweep every series (would be very nice), but they are going to win a majority of the games, and that should prove to everybody how good of a team they are.

So for hockey fans blasting ND, look no further to the weekend of the 27th and 28th to see if they are for real and to see how well UMD does play.

Mike, Duluth, MN

There may be a lot of disagreement regarding various positions in the poll. However, at the present time, there should be no question that Boston College is # 1. I am just having trouble understanding why it did not occur sooner, especially after they split a series on the road at # 2 North Dakota. A split under those circumstances should have elevated Boston College to their rightful place at # 1several weeks ago. In addition, BC beat # 3 Michigan in Detroit. As if that was not enough, they played the last few weeks without one of their best players and still won the Beanpot. How could anyone else be # 1?

Bob G., Stamford, CT

As a BC student and Red Sox fan, I ask you to please refrain from further comparisons between the Eagles and the Yankees. We're way better than they are.

Paul, Boston College '04

Considering they play a majority of their games on Olympic-sized sheets, it’s understandable that Minnesota would have trouble on the Boston Garden-like ice surface at the DECC. However, there can be only reason that a team of Minnesota’s reputed caliber lost two games in such convincing fashion: UMD is a very good team. It is a mystery why UND has UMD’s rightful #2 spot. The series in two weeks should be epic.

Like UND, Maine and Minnesota have not been impressive of late and may be ranked too high. One of the best things about college hockey is there are no dynasties. The power shift is on …

Joe, Boston

Every week I come to the conclusion that your polls don't conform to identical trends of other polls, which I find refreshing. I think you go out on a different limb and give credit to teams that have a lower profile but are successful in their own right, especially within the ECAC. Thanks for saying Colgate is best in their league but as their biggest fan, even I am not so convinced - on paper, anyway.

Bill, Poughkeepsie, NY

I agree with Paul. Please do not make comparisons between the Eagles and Yankees. While dated a better comparison would have been Kurt [sic] Schilling signing with the Sox. I also agree with every other college hockey fan (except maybe fans that live in North Dakota or work for INCH) that the Sioux should not be in ranked 2nd I mean c'mon 2-4-1 in the last seven!?!?!

Andrew, Boston College 2005

I would like to know how Maine fell when it got 3 out of four points last weekend and ND split (and lost 3 out of 4) when ME has a better winning percentage. If ME fell ND should have two.


All these people that are ripping on the SIOUX for have a 2-4-1 record need to stop it. One reason why UMD is not ahead of the SIOUX is because the SIOUX SWEPT them already this year. I also believe that they took 3 out of the 4 games from Minnesota this year too. They also split with the NUMBER ONE team in the power rankings too. So before you start badgering them get your facts straight because the POWER RANKINGS are not just based on their last few games, it's based on the whole season too.

Ryan, Grand Forks, ND

Ryan, rankings are based on how well a team is playing at the time of the new batch of rankings. the overall season only affects the rankings by record. how do u think that a team that is ranked say 20 can move to 15 when they beat someone in the top 5??? exactly like college basketball, when the number 1 team loses, they don't stay at number one because they have only lost once, they get moved down a few rankings. get your facts straight, Nodak does not deserve to be ranked as highly as it is.

Patrick, Austin, MN

Ed.: Actually, Patrick, INCH's Power Rankings do take into account the entire season. Otherwise, we wouldn't include each team's record, and we could simply list which teams swept that weekend. And please – no more comparisons of college hockey to basketball, ok?

Ryan in ND, you do make a good argument for North Dakota. But remember the sweep was one, the last time UMD has lost a game, and two when they were in a little bit of a funk. Friday was a barnburner 6-5, and Saturday 6-3. UMD is undefeated in the 2004 calendar year (11-0-1). Something else to think about is the remaining schedule. I believe there is more pressure on North Dakota because they one, do not have the WCHA lead and two play weaker teams looking to play spoiler. The only good series they have left is at Duluth on th 27th and 28th, other than that they are at MSU and have Michigan Tech at home to finish the year. A loss in any of the MSU or Tech series seriously puts them in jepordy to drop in the rankings while UMD is at CC and at Wisonsin (both ranked teams in the polls and the PairWise) and a loss doesn't hurt as much.

So a little reminder to ND fans, and players: Come prepared to Duluth. They are the hottest team right now, they are playing dominant hockey, they have the WCHA lead, and we all saw what happened to Minnesota. You caught us in a funk once, don't expect it to happen a second time.

Mike, Duluth, MN

Don't forget that when Michigan Lost to BC,they were missing their starting goalie,and that the backup played great until the last 5 minutes...That was his first start.

Alex, Monroe, MI

Mike in Duluth, please don't say that they where in a funk when they played them because if you say that then I can just say that the Sioux are in a funk for the last 8 games, when in reality each team that played the Sioux just outplayed them in every aspect of the game, thats the bottom line. Also I do believe they are still in First place in the Pairwise rankings, to me that means they are in pretty good shape. Also you better tell them Goalies of yours to bring there A game because the Sioux are going to light them up.

Also Patrick in Austin, MN how could you not take the entire season record into account when you are doing rankings. If you didn't take the whole season into account then you would have teams like Anchorage Alaska (who beat the Gophers) who don't deserve to be in the rankings. I think you need to learn a little bit more about how College hockey and the National Polls work before you start talking about them.

Ryan, Grand Forks, ND

OK everyone who thinks the CCHA can compare to the WCHA please bite your fingers off...never to type again. The WCHA is the best conference in hockey...has been for a LONG time. 7 of the Top 12 are WCHA teams. Sure, there have been some great CCHA teams over the years. But if you think the likes of Miami or Bowling Green can play neutral site versus the Top 5 WCHA squad, you are mistaken. Be happy you have college hockey, but don't put yourself up against the nation's elite conference. As for the rankings, UND should have dropped, not much but to 3 or 4. The BIGGEST question of the rankings should be why Denver is #8. Wisconsin and Saint Cloud State are tied for third in the league point standings, but are both behind MN in the rankings. Duluth is underrated ...a very deep team. Saint Cloud State has as tough a schedule down the stretch...@ WI, CC, and @ MN. WCHA fans now is our time, six games left and a lot of power matchups.

Joe, Saint Cloud, MN

When BC marched to the title in 2001, it won every tournament it entered. It beat BU in the Beanpot. And, avenging their losses in each of the previous 3 Frozen Fours, they beat Maine, Michigan, and North Dakota. We've been to this movie before and I've seen how it ends. Matti is a 4' x 6' wall in goal and the Eagles add a National Championship to their trophy case. Ever to Excel.

John, Northboro, MA, BC '88

What Alex neglected to mention is that when Michigan played BC, (a) it was pretty close to a home game for Michigan, (b) the Eagles too were without their starting goalie, sticking a freshman in whose only previous appearance was a 3-goal period against Merrimack, and (c) BC was also missing one of its best scorers. So take that missing ingredient gripe with a grain of salt. That said... yeah, Michigan still should have leapfrogged North Dakota. ND is all but reeling, and the only way they ought to be up at #2 again is if they roll through Duluth.

Darius, Grayslake, Illinois

Hockey East is certainly not a two horse conference, although the overall records don't look too great, it's because of the intra-conference bashing going on. In January, last place Northeastern smoked B.C. 3-0! Just look at their collective record against teams outside of Hockey East (54-28-13) and I think its safe to say that B.C. and Maine are not the only ones that carry the Hockey East flag. In fact, only one team has a losing record against teams outside of Hockey East and that's UMass Lowell. I still think its safe to say Hockey East is and will continue to be College Hockey's strongest conference. (We've had a representive in the National Championship for the last 7 years.)

Doug Dorval, Boston, MA

Dave in Ann Arbor, If there's one thing that drives me up the wall, it's people in the CCHA that think thier conference is comparable to the WCHA. So America, Canada, the world, let's be honest with eachother the WCHA has seven teams in the top fifteen, and the CCHA has three in the top fifteen, you do the math. I could talk about WCHA vs. CCHA games this year, but I think the polls are self explainatory. Also Dave, how many of those nine Michigan championships have come in the last forty years, three. So quit bragging about your nine championship dominance of the NCAA, and lets talk about what's relevant for now.

Jimmy, Salt Lake City, Utah

Let me pose the question of the day. I keep hearing about WCHA dominance. How much more dominating is the WCHA dompared to Hockey East. The head-to-head records are inconclusive, despite the fact that the interconference games were played largely on WCHA home ice or neutral sites. I understand that 7 WCHA teams are ranked versus 4 HEA teams, but Providence could just as easily be in the top 15 as Colorado College or Denver, both of whom played cupcake non-conference opponents.

Joe from New Jersey

The WCHA has to be considered the best conference with a 50-18-9 (.708) record against non-conference foes. In addition WCHA has won three out of the last four national championships!! Oh and that whole east coast bias comes into play for the rankings.

Sam, CC 03, Colorado Springs, CO

Doug in Boston, you may have had a representive in the National Championship for the last 7 years but out of them 7 there were 5 WCHA teams there playing for a National Championship and 4 of them won it. Also the only 2 teams from the Hockey East acutally won it all. You can not really compare the Hockey East or any other conference for that matter to the WCHA because the WCHA is the strongest and will always be the strongest conference in college hockey.

Ryan, Grand Forks

Regarding Joe in Boston's comments...

You stated that Maine & Minnesota have begun falling off... I don't understand the Minnesota part, sure they just got swept at Duluth (First place team in the WCHA) but the prior week they swept Wisconsin and the week before split with North Dakota in a series that they could have swept! I'm a big fan of our hockey out east bud, but open your eyes when you say these things and give Minnesota credit for winning the past two National Championships against Hockey East opponents (Maine & New Hampshire)... I'd say they are as close to a dynasty as College hockey has seen in a long time. I also hate to say it but the WCHA has got to be the toughest conference right now... their 7th place team could give our three best teams a scare I'm certain. It's going to be fun, may the best team win and it won't be North Dakota for they are circling the drain with there goalie problems!

Mike, Worcester, Mass.

How about the UMD Bulldogs. They are the hottest team in the country, but they are not recieving enough credit. It's funny how they are number on in the WCHA, ahead of North Dakota, but they are in forth place. Oh ya, last weekend they did season sweep the defending national champ Gophers, who should be out of the top ten. On top of it all they are in the toughest division in the country. Watch out North Dakota and Boston College. Go Bulldogs!

Luke, Geneva Illinios

Just to add to Jimmy's argument about the WCHA vs CCHA, ND and MN have won 10 of the last 30 championships. That is 1/3 going to only 2 teams. If you check the strength of schedule you will see that 1-10 are WCHA teams then it moves to Hockey East teams. Just a couple of facts to back up the WCHA being the toughest league to play in.

Jake, Dallas, Texas

I don't think Hockey East is a two-horse conference. Look at the other teams such as Providence, B.U., Massachusetts, UMass Lowell, and UNH. All those teams were either ranked at certain points during the year, or still are ranked. There are a ton of good hockey teams in the East, and unfortunately conference play kills their records. I believe Providence recently in non-conference play was 8-1-1, and Umass Lowell was ranked for a time before the forfeits. I'm not saying they are the calibur of Maine and B.C., but they are still very good. Being a UMaine student, I have had the opportunity to see alot of them play, and they are good.

Eric, Orono, Me.

I do not question the power rankings and I like counting every game of the season in the rankings. Defeating a number one ranked team in October should count as high as doing it in February. Remember, two time defending NCAA Champion Minnesota opened the WCHA schedule against UM-Duluth at home on Oct 24-25 and UMD swept. Those dogs did the same in Duluth on Feb 13-14 when Minnesota was ranked lower (#5).

The two most impressive teams in the WCHA this year are UM-Duluth and Wisconsin. Look at last years standings to verify these two resurrections. What a finish it will be!!! UMD will play North Dakota next and finish at Wisconsin. If Wisconsin thinks they have "arrived", let's see how you handle the Bulldogs at home. If you win, do you think you are good enough to duplicate your 3-2 win over Michigan in the NCAA tournament?....my bet is, neither one of these two teams can beat Michigan....perhaps that job will be left to North Dakota.

Jerry J., Shoreview, MN (home of Miracles and the late Herb Brooks)

I understand most of the complaints concerning the rankings. What I do not understand is how 75% of you can argue the power rankings when I can't figure out how you graduated from high school. Go back to eighth grade and learn English grammar and spelling. You're giving hockey fans a bad name. As for hockey, all Colgate and Michigan fans should be hoping for a playoff rematch so that Colgate might avenge the atrocity they suffered at the hands of the refs in 2000.

Adam, Gyeryong, South Korea

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