January 20, 2020: NCAA Hockey Power Rankings

It’s the first edition of the NCAA Hockey Power Rankings! Here are the College Kids Talking College Sports rankings for the college hockey season, with our Top 10 listed, as well as a couple of honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions

  • Ohio State
  • Minnesota Duluth
  • Bemidji State

#10 – Providence Friars 

  • The Friars have been difficult team to figure out, as they opened up their season impressively, with a 7-0 win versus the University of Maine, and then thumping BC on the road later that month, 6-2, before muddling through an 11-game stretch that saw them go 4-4-3. But the Friars are streaking again, with a 6-1-2 record since December 7, including an impressive tournament victory in the Fortress Invitational. Their next three games are against Northeastern and UMass (2 games) which should show where Providence stands. 

#9 – Harvard Crimson

  • I might be a little high on this Harvard team, but I really like what the Crimson are doing. The results aren’t always apparent, but statistically, this is a very good hockey team. After starting 6-0 on the year, Harvard has cooled off a little bit, but they recently took a series from #14 Arizona State and cracked the whip on Yale, throttling them 7-0. The Beanpot tournament in early February will give them a clearer idea of where they stand.

#8 – UMass Minutemen

  • Last year’s national runner-up, the Minutemen have shown the ability to beat elite teams, but they have not quite established consistency. At times, their defense has seemed a problem, but they seemed to handle it just fine in whipping Vermont in a two-game sweep this past weekend. They’ve beaten Boston College and Northeastern, but they were also swept by Denver. Consistency will be key for this team in unlocking the potential for a deep run. 
DENVER, CO – JANUARY 03: forward Brett Stapley (7) of the Denver Pioneers tries a wrap around shot on goaltender Filip Lindberg (35) of the Massachusetts Minutemen against the defense of defenseman Marc Del Gaizo (2) of the Massachusetts Minutemen in the first period at Magness Arena January 03, 2020. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

#7 – Denver Pioneers

  • Statistically, Denver should not be doing what they’re doing. They don’t rank in the top 10 in scoring offense, defense, or scoring margin. They are pretty solid on the penalty kill and powerplay, but it doesn’t really explain their stellar 15-4-5 record. However, this team did start 8-0, so maybe those statistics are starting to catch up to them. They just lost a series to Omaha, snapping a six-game winning streak. Denver is in the rankings largely due to record and national standing (#4 in the last poll), but I’m not too optimistic about them right now. 

#6 – Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Penn State has been impressive, and they may be the Big 10 favorite, but one has to wonder if they peaked too soon. The Nittany Lions are just 6-5-1 since a 10-2 start to their season. They just lost a home series to Michigan, including a demoralizing 6-0 loss. Their offense and defense have both been really good at times, but they ultimately haven’t put it all together in the same game very often. The pieces are there, the results are inconsistent. 

#5 – Clarkson Golden Knights

  • Clarkson is one of the hotter teams on this list, with a 9-2-1 record since mid-November. They boast a recent win at Harvard and a series victory over Michigan Tech. They made a statement by opening the year with a series victory at Michigan, and the Golden Knights have been a pinnacle of consistency, having not had a losing streak all year; only once have they followed a loss or tie with less than two wins in a row. 
Photo Courtesy of Boston College Athletics

#4 – Boston College Eagles

  • A four-game slide in late October and early November took the Eagles off the national radar, but BC is 12-1 since that slide, and they are absolutely cooking right now. They outscored Notre Dame in a home and home series 10-1, They split with UMass, and they have another road date with the Minutemen upcoming, as well as the Beanpot tournament. But ladies and gentlemen…BC hockey is back…and really scare to play right now. 

#3 – North Dakota Fighting Hawks

  • Although BC is fighting for their inclusion, the top 3 are remaining the same, as it has been for much of the year. Their ‘hot streak’ has basically been the whole season, as the Fighting Hawks have amazed to the tune of an 18-2-3 record. They are, 16-1-2 since October 19. They’ve scored 29 goals in their last 6 games and are in direct opposition to the two defensive stalwarts that top this week’s rankings. A road series against Minnesota-Duluth will test this team’s season-long hot streak. 

#2 – Cornell Big Red

  • Cornell has been muddled in a bit of a weird stretch. They’re not losing games…but they lack the killing stroke they had for the beginning portion of the year. After winning their first eleven, the Big Red finally stumbled at Dartmouth. They followed that up with a second-place finish in the Fortress Invitational, losing via shootout, and then a 2-0-2 record in four games. Overall, since their 11-0 start, the Big Red are 2-1-3. Again, that’s not bad, it’s just strange for a team that was so proficient at putting away opponents earlier in the year. The defense is still elite, having given up 3 goals in a game just once, so the offense may need to step it up so Cornell can keep recording victories. 

#1 – Minnesota State Mavericks

  • The Mavericks were my clear choice for #1. They lead the nation in power-play efficiency, goals allowed, scoring margin, and winning percentage. They are 6th in goals scored and 2nd in penalty kill percentage. All-in-all, I felt Minnesota State was the obvious pick for #1 this week. The Mavericks doubled down on this feeling by earning another impressive sweep this weekend, going on the road and taking down #18 Bowling Green twice. They’ve won seven straight games, outscoring their opponents 28-7 in the process. 

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