Minnesota-North Dakota is one of the best rivalries in college hockey. By sweeping the Fighting Sioux last weekend, the Gophers proved they are legitimate NCAA title contenders.
Behind the solid play of netminder Kent Patterson, the Gophers won on Friday 2-0. As expected, the Sioux fought back on Saturday, but the Gophers squeaked out a win 3-2 on a late third-period goal by Kyle Rau.
Minnesota travels to Madison to take on the hot and cold Badgers this weekend.
Here are this week's power rankings:
Dropped Out: Boston University (12), Yale (11), Quinnipiac (15)
First 5 Out: North Dakota, Boston University, Nebraska-Omaha, St. Cloud State, Yale, Quinnipiac
Serie(s) of the week: (1) Minnesota @ Wisconsin, (9) Lake Superior State @ (7) Ferris State, (3) Colorado College @ (11) Denver
15. Dartmouth (3-1-0): The Big Green are looking like the class of the Ivy League thus far. Their lone loss was against Yale. Dartmouth is 2-1 in one goal games.
14. Northern Michigan (4-3-3): The Wildcats have quietly earned points against Notre Dame, Wisconsin, St. Cloud State and Michigan.
13. Michigan Tech (6-3-1): The Huskies continue to be the biggest surprise of the season. They're second in the WCHA standings and 6-1-1 when playing at home.
Who is the best team in the country?
12. Union (5-1-3): Dutchmen goaltender Troy Grosenick leads the nation in save percentage (.949) and is second in shutouts (two).
11. Denver (3-3-2): Two weeks ago, I had George Gwozdecky's Pioneers at number one. Since then, they have gone 0-2-2 and have been outscored 16-7. It isn't going to get any easier with the Colorado College Tigers visiting Denver this weekend.
10. Notre Dame (5-2-2): The Irish tied Northern Michigan twice last weekend. ND forward Anders Lee leads the nation in goals. Imagine how good Minnesota would be if Lee had stayed in state.
9. Lake Superior State (8-2-0): Split with Bemidji State last weekend. The Lakers have a big test this weekend against Ferris State.
8. Minnesota-Duluth (5-3-2): UMD took three points from the Pioneers in Denver last weekend. The Bulldogs have the nation's ninth best scoring offense and it is only going to get better. Minnesota State and Alaska Anchorage are the Bulldogs' upcoming opponents.
7. Ferris State (8-2-0): The Bulldogs are quietly moving up the rankings. FSU swept Bowling Green this weekend by a combined score of 9-3. Netminder C.J. Motte ranks second in the nation in save percentage (.948) and shutouts (2).
6. Western Michigan (6-1-3): The Broncos proved they can play with a national power like Michigan. WMU defeated Michigan 3-2 and lost 5-2 last weekend.
5. Michigan (7-2-1): The Wolverines rank third in team offense and sixth in team defense.
4. Merrimack (7-0-1): Merrimack is the lone unbeaten team in college hockey, but play BU this weekend. They lead the nation in team defense, allowing just 1.25 goals per game.
3. Colorado College (5-1-0): The Tigers suffered their first loss of the season against the UNO Mavericks. Joe Howe, who had led the nation in goals against average, allowed seven on Friday. Howe will need to play well this weekend against Denver for CC to win.
2. Boston College (8-2-0): The Eagles had a small slip-up against UMass, losing 4-2. This weekend the Eagles will have to correct those mistakes against rival Boston University.
1. Minnesota (9-1-0): In their first real test of the season, the Gophers swept the Fighting Sioux in Minneapolis. On Friday, Kent Patterson (my Hobey Baker favorite so far) tied a Gopher single-season record with his fifth shutout of the season. However, it only took Patterson nine games. The Maroon and Gold have a big test this weekend against Justin Schultz and the Badgers in Madison.