NCAA hockey top 20: Playing catch-up

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January 7, 2013 by Casey Hart

It’s been a while.

Sorry about that. Plenty of excuses (holidays, new job, puppy, etc.), but now is the time to look forward. Or at least the recent past. Like to the last three weeks of polls, including two rankings I didn’t get around to posting. I’ll paste those below this week’s ranking.

As always, my top 20 is below. Each team is listed with its overall record, record against my ranked teams, last week’s ranking and, for comparison’s sake, national rankings from the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey (top 15) polls. My ballot is submitted to USCHO by Monday at noon.

1. Notre DameFighting Irish
14-4-0 overall • 5-4-0 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 1 • USCHO: 2 • USA Today: 3
2. Minnesota
13-3-3 overall • 3-1-1 vs. my ranked teams  • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 2 • USCHO: 1 • USA Today: 1

I understand the argument for the Golden Gophers at No. 1. Minnesota and Notre Dame have played a pretty solid common opponent, once-invincible Boston College. The Gophers cruised to an 8-1 home win against the Eagles less than two months after the Irish suffered a 3-1 loss at BC. I think Notre Dame’s overall body of work is slightly better, though, especially considering its dominance of the CCHA. (Notre Dame is tied for first place but is 10-1-0 with three games in hand on 8-3-3 Miami.) I’d go into a game-by-game explanation of why I like the Irish right now, but instead I’ll just let the teams decide it Tuesday night at Mariucci Arena. On TV!

3. New Hampshire
13-3-2 overall • 4-2-2 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 3 • USCHO: 4 • USA Today: 4
4. Boston College
12-3-2 overall • 5-2-1 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-1 last week
Last week: 4 • USCHO: 3 • USA Today: 2
5. Boston University
11-6-0 overall • 6-6-0 vs. my ranked teams • 1-0-0 last week
Last week: 5 • USCHO: 8 • USA Today: 8
6. North Dakota
12-5-3 overall • 5-4-1 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 6 • USCHO: 7 • USA Today: 7
7. Quinnipiac
16-3-2 overall • 5-0-0 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 7 • USCHO: 5 • USA Today: 5

The Bobcats just keep winning. They are 10-0-0 in ECAC Hockey and 13-0-1 in their last 14 games overall. Quinnipiac’s scoring balance and defensive numbers tell the story. On a team that’s scoring four goals per game in conference, only one player (senior Jeremy Langlois at 10-10-20 overall) is sporting a point-per-game average, and the Bobcats rank third nationally in both scoring defense (1.62 goals allowed per game) and penalty killing (92.9 percent).

8. Denver
12-6-3 overall • 9-4-1 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 11 • USCHO: 9 • USA Today: 9

Just when you thought the Pioneers’ wagon had broken down, they got a couple weeks off and a stretch of home games that did wonders. All of a sudden they’ve won three straight by a combined 13-2 margin against the likes of Boston University and Cornell. (The story after the Cornell series was Mike Schafer vs. the WCHA referees.)

9. Miami
12-4-4 overall • 2-1-1 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 9 • USCHO: 6 • USA Today: 6
10. Western Michigan
12-5-3 overall • 3-1-0 vs. my ranked teams • 1-0-1 last week
Last week: 10 • USCHO: 10 • USA Today: 10
11. Dartmouth
8-4-2 overall • 2-2-1 vs. my ranked teams • 0-2-0 last week
Last week: 8 • USCHO: 12 • USA Today: 12
12. Minnesota State
14-6-2 overall • 3-4-1 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 13 • USCHO: 11 • USA Today: 11
13. Nebraska-Omaha
13-8-1 overall • 4-7-0 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 14 • USCHO: 13 • USA Today: 13
14. Yale
7-4-3 overall • 4-0-2 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-1 last week
Last week: 16 • USCHO: 14 • USA Today: 14
15. St. Cloud State
12-10-0 overall • 5-5-0 vs. my ranked teams • 0-2-0 last week
Last week: 12 • USCHO: 18 • USA Today: Receiving votes
16. Lake Superior State
12-10-0 overall • 5-5-0 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: Not ranked • USCHO: RV • USA Today: RV

The Lakers debut in my ranking after changing their trend from sweeping every weekend to winning every game. They swept two games from Union by a combined 7-2 margin and have allowed just three goals during their five-game win streak that started with a 1-0 shutout of Miami.

17. Colgate
11-7-2 overall • 2-3-1 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 18 • USCHO: 19 • USA Today: RV
18. Niagara
11-3-4 overall • 0-0-0 vs. my ranked teams • 0-1-0 last week
Last week: 19 • USCHO: 17 • USA Today: RV
19. Union
9-6-4 overall • 1-2-1 vs. my ranked teams • 1-1-0 last week
Last week: 15 • USCHO: 16 • USA Today: RV
20. Cornell
7-6-2 overall • 2-1-1 vs. my ranked teams • 1-1-0 last week
Last week: 17 • USCHO: 15 • USA Today: RV

I chose to drop Robert Morris after a split at Army that included a 5-0 loss. I could have easily gone with this unusually streaky Big Red squad, though. Cornell isn’t penalized for losing two at Denver, but the Big Red has won fewer than half its games and is .500 in ECAC Hockey. We’ll see if the hard-fought second game against the Pioneers can serve as a turning point. Cornell plays at Union and at home against Yale the next two Fridays.

Dec. 31 Ranking

1. Notre Dame
14-4-0 overall • 5-4-0 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 4 • USCHO: 3 • USA Today: 2

2. Minnesota
13-3-3 overall • 3-1-1 vs. my ranked teams  • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 6 • USCHO: 1 • USA Today: 1

3. New Hampshire
11-3-2 overall • 4-2-2 vs. my ranked teams • 0-1-0 last week
Last week: 1 • USCHO: 4 • USA Today: 4

4. Boston College
12-3-1 overall • 5-2-0 vs. my ranked teams • 1-1-0 last week
Last week: 2 • USCHO: 2 • USA Today: 3

5. Boston University
10-6-0 overall • 6-6-0 vs. my ranked teams • 0-1-0 last week
Last week: 3 • USCHO: 9 • USA Today: 9

6. North Dakota
10-5-3 overall • 5-4-1 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 7 • USCHO: 7 • USA Today: 7

7. Quinnipiac
14-3-2 overall • 4-0-0 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 9 • USCHO: 5 • USA Today: 5

8. Dartmouth
8-2-2 overall • 2-1-1 vs. my ranked teams • 1-0-0 last week
Last week: 11 • USCHO: 8 • USA Today: 8

9. Miami
12-4-4 overall • 2-1-1 vs. my ranked teams • 1-1-0 last week
Last week: 5 • USCHO: 6 • USA Today: 6

10. Western Michigan
11-5-2 overall • 3-1-0 vs. my ranked teams • 0-1-1 last week
Last week: 8 • USCHO: 10 • USA Today: 10

11. Denver
10-6-3 overall • 7-4-1 vs. my ranked teams • 1-0-0 last week
Last week: 10 • USCHO: 11 • USA Today: 11

12. St. Cloud State
12-8-0 overall • 5-5-0 vs. my ranked teams • 1-1-0 last week
Last week: 13 • USCHO: 15 • USA Today: RV

13. Minnesota State
12-6-2 overall • 3-4-1 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 14 • USCHO: 14 • USA Today: 14

14. Nebraska-Omaha
11-8-1 overall • 4-7-0 vs. my ranked teams • 0-2-0 last week
Last week: 15 • USCHO: 16 • USA Today: 15

15. Union
9-4-4 overall • 1-2-1 vs. my ranked teams • 1-1-0 last week
Last week: 15 • USCHO: 13 • USA Today: 13

16. Yale
7-4-2 overall • 4-0-1 vs. my ranked teams • 0-1-0 last week
Last week: 16 • USCHO: 17 • USA Today: RV

17. Cornell
7-4-2 overall • 2-1-1 vs. my ranked teams • 1-1-0 last week
Last week: 17 • USCHO: 12 • USA Today: 12

18. Colgate
9-7-2 overall • 2-3-1 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 18 • USCHO: RV • USA Today: NR

19. Niagara
10-3-4 overall • 0-0-0 vs. my ranked teams • 0-1-0 last week
Last week: 19 • USCHO: 18 • USA Today: RV

20. Robert Morris
9-4-2 overall • 2-1-0 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: Not ranked • USCHO: 19 • USA Today: RV

Dec. 17 Ranking

1. New Hampshire
11-2-2 overall • 4-1-2 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 1 • USCHO: 2 • USA Today: 2

2. Boston College
11-2-1 overall • 5-1-0 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 2 • USCHO: 1 • USA Today: 1

3. Boston University
10-5-0 overall • 6-5-0 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 3 • USCHO: 6 • USA Today: 6

4. Notre Dame
14-4-0 overall • 5-4-0 vs. my ranked teams • 1-0-0 last week
Last week: 4 • USCHO: 3 • USA Today: 3

5. Miami
11-3-4 overall • 2-1-1 vs. my ranked teams • 1-0-1 last week
Last week: 5 • USCHO: 5 • USA Today: 5

6. Minnesota
11-3-3 overall • 2-1-1 vs. my ranked teams  • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 6 • USCHO: 4 • USA Today: 4

7. North Dakota
10-5-3 overall • 5-4-1 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 7 • USCHO: 8 • USA Today: 8

8. Western Michigan
11-4-1 overall • 3-1-0 vs. my ranked teams • 1-1-0 last week
Last week: 8 • USCHO: 7 • USA Today: 7

9. Quinnipiac
12-3-2 overall • 2-0-0 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 9 • USCHO: 9 • USA Today: 9

10. Denver
9-6-3 overall • 6-4-1 vs. my ranked teams • 0-1-1 last week
Last week: 10 • USCHO: 11 • USA Today: 10

11. Dartmouth
7-2-2 overall • 1-1-1 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 11 • USCHO: 10 • USA Today: 11

12. Nebraska-Omaha
11-6-1 overall • 4-5-0 vs. my ranked teams • 1-1-0 last week
Last week: 15 • USCHO: 13 • USA Today: 14

13. St. Cloud State
11-7-0 overall • 5-5-0 vs. my ranked teams • 2-0-0 last week
Last week: 13 • USCHO: 17 • USA Today: RV

14. Minnesota State
10-6-2 overall • 3-4-1 vs. my ranked teams • 1-1-0 last week
Last week: 14 • USCHO: 20 • USA Today: RV

15. Union
8-3-4 overall • 1-2-1 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 15 • USCHO: 14 • USA Today: 13

16. Yale
7-3-2 overall • 4-0-1 vs. my ranked teams • 1-0-0 last week
Last week: 16 • USCHO: 15 • USA Today: 15

17. Cornell
6-3-2 overall • 2-1-1 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 17 • USCHO: 12 • USA Today: 12

18. Colgate
9-7-2 overall • 2-3-1 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: 18 • USCHO: RV • USA Today: NR

19. Niagara
10-2-4 overall • 0-0-0 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-1 last week
Last week: 19 • USCHO: 16 • USA Today: RV

20. Providence
7-6-2 overall • 0-3-2 vs. my ranked teams • 0-0-0 last week
Last week: Not ranked • USCHO: RV • USA Today: RV

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