December 16, 2007
INCH Power Rankings

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If teams find themselves in the Dec. 16 edition of the INCH Power Rankings, things have generally gone their way over the first few months of the hockey season, meaning they've been more nice than naughty so far. For that, we grant them all a Christmas wish.

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

Note: The next INCH Power Rankings will be published Dec. 31.

No. Team

Christmas Wish
1. Michigan
Breaking an 11-year GLI title drought would be nice, but in the big picture, it's more that the freshmen don't hit the wall during the second half of the season and the maturation of goaltender Billy Sauer (2.06 GAA, .915 save pct.) isn't a mirage.
16-2-0 (11-1-0 CCHA) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. Providence, vs. Michigan Tech/Michigan State (Great Lakes Invitational).
2. Denver
The Pioneers asked Santa for a giant Lucite case in order to keep senior goalie Peter Mannino (14-4-0, 1.80 GAA, .932 save pct.) in mint condition between starts.
12-4-0 (9-3-0 WCHA) LAST WEEK: W at Alaska Anchorage, 4-3; W at Alaska Anchorage, 6-2. NEXT: vs. Sacred Heart, vs. Dartmouth/Northern Michigan (Denver Cup).
3. Miami
What do you get for the team that has everything? How about a little more from senior forward Nathan Davis, who has just three goals and an assist in eight games so far this season?
16-2-0 (10-2-0 CCHA) LAST WEEK: W at Rensselaer, 7-3; W at Rensselaer, 5-1. NEXT: vs. St. Cloud State, vs. Harvard/Ohio State (Ohio Hockey Classic).
4. Michigan State
The Spartans have an impressive record. They'd probably be happier with an impressive win or two, however. MSU's mark against teams above .500 is a discouraging 0-3-1.
12-3-2 (8-2-0 CCHA) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. Michigan Tech, vs. Michigan/Providence (Great Lakes Invitational).
5. Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish might be hoping for a collection of DVDs -- all the better to entertain them during the frequent trips they'll be taking between now and the end of January. The Irish play eight of their next 10 away from home. Notable are dates at Michigan State (Jan. 11) and against Michigan at the Palace of Auburn Hills (Jan. 19).
16-4-0 (10-2-0 CCHA) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. Massachusetts, vs. Rensselaer/Colorado College (Lightning Classic).
6. Colorado College
Judging from the Tigers' second-half schedule, their wish came true. With no trip to Minnesota and no visit from North Dakota, CC's prime concerns are a series at Wisconsin (Jan. 4-5), a pair against St. Cloud State (Feb. 8-9), and a home-and-home with Denver (March 7-8).
11-5-0 (11-3-0 WCHA) LAST WEEK: W at St. Cloud State, 3-1; L at St. Cloud State, 4-2. NEXT: vs. Rensselaer, vs. Notre Dame/Massachusetts (Lightning Classic).
7. New Hampshire
A safe and healthy return from the World Junior Championship for freshman forward James van Riemsdyk, who ranks second on the Wildcats in scoring.
9-4-1 (6-4-1 Hockey East) LAST WEEK: W vs. Maine, 2-0. NEXT: at North Dakota, at North Dakota (Dec. 28-29).
8. North Dakota
A repeat of last season's second half would be a dream come true for the Sioux and their fans. After hitting the '06-'07 holiday break with a 7-10-1 mark, NoDak steamrolled its foes, recording a post-Christmas record of 17-4-4 and making a third straight trip to the Frozen Four.
8-6-1 (6-6-0 WCHA) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. New Hampshire, vs. New Hampshire (Dec. 28-29).
9. Clarkson
Santa could bring the Golden Knights some steel-toed work boots, hard hats, and gloves as a daily reminder that work ethic is just as important as talent.
10-5-0 (6-2-0 ECAC Hockey) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. Maine, vs. UMass-Lowell/Cornell (Florida College Classic).
10. Massachusetts
UMass wishes for an early goal, as they are 4-1-1 on the season when scoring first.
7-3-5 (4-2-4 Hockey East) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. Notre Dame, vs. Rensselaer/Colorado College (Lightning Classic).
11. Northeastern
The Huskies hope for a little margin of error, and continued success in the close games. Northeastern is 5-2 in games decided by one goal (with another win with an empty-net goal) including two overtime victories.
7-4-2 (6-3-1 Hockey East) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. Bowling Green, vs. Wisconsin/Colgate (Badger Showdown).
12. Boston College
Some peace and quiet after the start of the New Year would suit the Eagles just fine, after a first half that included several stories not related to hockey.
6-4-5 (4-3-4 Hockey East) LAST WEEK: W at Harvard, 7-2. NEXT: vs. Air Force, vs. RIT/Minnesota (Dodge Holiday Classic).
13. Minnesota
That somebody, anybody, develops a scoring touch ... and soon. With 46 goals in 18 games, the Gophers are the not-so-proud possessors of the nation's 35th-ranked scoring offense. Last year, the Pride on Icers had 46 goals by Nov. 10.
9-8-1 (5-7-0 WCHA) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. RIT, vs. Boston College/Air Force (Dodge Holiday Classic).
14. Harvard
The Crimson wish for a boost in performance and confidence in the games against ranked opponents, as Harvard is 1-3-0 on the year against teams currently in the top-20.
6-4-2 (5-3-1 ECAC Hockey) LAST WEEK: L vs. Boston College, 7-2. NEXT: vs. Ohio State, vs. St. Cloud State/Miami (Ohio Hockey Classic).
15. Wisconsin
The Badgers are likely wishing that all their remaining games will be moved to the Kohl Center. Bucky is 6-2-0 at home and 1-5-2 away from Madison.
7-7-2 (4-5-1 WCHA) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. Colgate, vs. Bowling Green/Northeastern (Badger Showdown).
16. Quinnipiac
Quinnipiac's Brandon Wong has embraced the giving spirit of the holidays with a team-high 10 assists so far this season, but his two goals are a far cry from the 27 he posted as a freshman.
8-5-2 (3-3-2 ECAC Hockey) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. Western Michigan, vs. Holy Cross/Vermont (Catamount Cup).
17. Rensselaer
Batteries, extension cords, generators ... anything that can bring the Engineers some power, as RPI ranks last in the nation with just five goals in 85 power-play opportunities.
8-7-3 (3-2-2 ECAC Hockey) LAST WEEK: L vs. Miami, 7-3; L vs. Miami, 5-1. NEXT: vs. Colorado College, vs. Massachusetts/Notre Dame (Lightning Classic).
18. Minnesota Duluth
The 'Dogs are hoping that goalie Alex Stalock has nerves of steel, because the sophomore with the 2.42 GAA (and a .910 save pct.) walks the tightrope every night for a team that averages just 2.50 goals per game.
6-6-4 (5-6-3 WCHA) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. Bemidji State, at Bemidji State (Jan. 4-5).
19. Bowling Green
A continued revitilization of this once proud program is a wish many in the college hockey community share. The schedule certainly favors the Falcons, whose toughest post-holiday tests are a series vs. Miami and home-and-home sets with Notre Dame and Michigan State.
8-6-0 (5-5-0 CCHA) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. Northeastern, vs. Wisconsin/Colgate (Badger Showdown).
20. Air Force
The Falcons' wish would likely be twofold — that the holiday break doesn't slow the momentum of their six-game unbeaten streak, and that said streak doesn't continue with half the games ending in ties.
9-4-3 (7-4-3 Atlantic Hockey) LAST WEEK: Off. NEXT: vs. Boston College, vs. Minnesota/RIT (Dodge Holiday Classic).

Dropped out: None

Bubble-licious: Niagara, St. Cloud State, UMass-Lowell, Bemidji State, Minnesota State