It's time for the first men's college hockey Power 10 rankings of the 2022-23 season.
New rankings will come out every other week until the men's hockey tournament kicks off in March. They are my rankings alone, and I base them on a combination of the PairWise, strength of schedule, recent results and trends that have emerged over the course of the season.
With that in mind, here is this week's Power 10:
1. Quinnipiac — The Bobcats (17-1-3, 12-0-0 ECAC) are rolling right along after dominant victories over Dartmouth and No. 10 Harvard, winning 3-0 against the Big Green before downing the Crimson 4-1. Neither game was ever really in doubt as Quinnipiac had 3-0 leads heading into both third periods.
They've lost just once this season, falling to Maine on Oct. 22 in the first game of a split. Since, they've gone unbeaten in 16 straight games, winning all but one when they tied then-No. 17 UMass in Belfast.
QU gets a chance to extend its current winning streak to eight games when they visit LIU, who has been tough outs for top teams, tying Quinnipiac 2-2 at the start of the season and upsetting Ohio State on Nov. 25.
2. St. Cloud State — St. Cloud (15-5-0, 7-3-0 NCHC) made life difficult for state rival Minnesota (No. 2 in the USCHO poll) in a split this weekend, shutting the Gophers out 3-0 Saturday before coming down to the wire in a 2-1 overtime loss Sunday.
SCSU put Game 1 away with a clutch insurance goal late before an empty-netter, and the Huskies showed resilience on Sunday when they tied the game quickly after Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the third, nearly coming away with a tie before the Gophers' late heroics.
The Huskies will have some tough challenges against Colorado College, Denver and Minnesota Duluth in the coming weeks as they try to back up their ranking.
3. Minnesota — It was a tough call between the Gophers (16-6-0, 10-2-0 Big Ten) and St. Cloud for the second spot, but the Huskies outscored Minnesota 4-1 on the weekend.
Minnesota couldn't solve Jaxon Castor in Game 1 of the series, before coming up with some big time plays to come away with the split in Game 2. Young stars in Logan Cooley and Jimmy Snuggerud didn't miss a beat after earning a bronze medal with the U.S. at the WJC, both factoring in on Matthew Knies' power play tally in the third before Cooley ended it in overtime with a pretty individual effort.
Minnesota's stars continue to dominate, so they'll be just fine. Like SCSU, the Gophers have a challenging schedule over the next several weeks with Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State on tap.
4. Denver — Like some of the teams ahead of them, the Pioneers (17-5-0, 8-2-0 NCHC) have shown on a couple of different occasions that they're vulnerable this season, including this weekend with a 3-1 loss to Alaska Fairbanks in Game 1 of their split.
Denver's penalty kill (77.3 percent) struggled in the loss, giving up two quick power-play goals in the second period. They generated just 19 shots on goal, managing to break through on a power play of their own in the middle frame. However in Game 2, the Pios came out and asserted their dominance, cruising to a 7-2 win while going a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Denver will face Miami (Ohio) this weekend. The Pioneers swept the Red Hawks earlier this year, but they have some upsets under their belt with ranked wins over St. Cloud, North Dakota and UMass-Lowell. After that, Denver enters the trenches of its schedule through the end of the regular season.
5. Penn State — Idle this past weekend, the Nittany Lions (17-5-0, 7-5-0 Big Ten) swept then-No. 20 RIT last time out to close 2022. It was a wire-to-wire sweep with 6-1 and 3-1 wins. Kevin Wall had a big showing for PSU with two goals and an assist in the series.
Penn State has been one of the biggest surprises in the nation after they were picked to finish second-to-last in the Big Ten preseason poll. They quickly surged towards the top of the rankings and look to be among the contenders as things stand right now, ranking among the top of the nation in goals-for and against per game.
They have a "show us what you're made of" type of schedule coming up over their next five series with Michigan State, Notre Dame, Michigan and Minnesota posing stiff challenges.
6. Boston University — The Terriers (13-6-0, 8-4-0) went 1-1 at the Desert Hockey Classic last weekend with a 5-1 win over Air Force and a 3-2 loss to No. 13 Michigan Tech.
Wilmer. Skoog. pic.twitter.com/walCT1YqFY— BU Men's Hockey (@TerrierHockey) January 6, 2023
BU stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first before putting the game out of reach to close out the second and third periods against Air Force. In the championship game against MTU, they came back from a 3-0 first period deficit to be in it until the end. Most importantly for BU, they've gotten contributions from secondary threats like Jeremy Wilmer, Devin Kaplan and Quinn Hutson over the last few weeks.
They have a busy schedule this week, hosting No. 19 UMass on Wednesday before No. 15 Cornell on Saturday.
7. Michigan — The Wolverines (12-7-1, 4-6-0 Big Ten) were also idle this weekend, having last played Dec. 10 when they won 2-1 to split with Michigan State after losing 2-1 the previous night.
Michigan lost plenty of big-time challenge last offseason, but the program still has one of the strongest rosters in the country as well as one of the top offenses. The Big Ten is a tough conference, but with a sub-.500 record in conference, the Wolverines haven't quite met expectations, sitting ahead of lowly Wisconsin for first in the conference.
Like most of the teams ahead of them, Michigan has a difficult start to their second half with three-straight top-10 series (right now) against Ohio State, Minnesota and Penn State.
8. Ohio State — Speaking of the Buckeyes (14-7-1, 7-5-0 Big Ten), they've clawed their way into the top-10 of the polls and have shot up the PairWise rankings with a five-game winning streak, sweeping Michigan State over the weekend. OSU won 3-1 before rolling right along to a 6-0 shutout for the sweep.
The Bucks are averaging 5.4 goals per game over the winning streak and have gotten production throughout the lineup on top of having the No. 2 penalty kill in Division I (90.91 percent).
They look to keep the surge going when they visit rival Michigan this weekend.
9. Harvard — The Crimson (10-4-1, 8-2-0 ECAC) came back from a 3-0 hole in the third period to beat Princeton 4-3 in overtime Friday, but seemingly used up all of their energy in the rally, falling to Quinnipiac 4-1 on Saturday.
Harvard hasn't exactly had the strongest schedule, but the Crimson have made the most of the hand they've been dealt. Although against their stiffest competition so far in Michigan, BU and QU, Harvard is 0-3-1. However, they still have one of the top offenses in the country with 3.6 goals per game in addition to having a top-10 penalty kill (85.71 percent). They rank in the top-15 for goals-against per game and power play percentage as well.
The Crimson will face conference foes Clarkson and St. Lawrence this weekend.
10. Merrimack — The Warriors (14-6-1, 9-2-0 HEA) was teetering on falling out of the top-10 after a brutal weekend against beatable teams in Yale and Brown.
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Give them credit though, after being down 3-1 heading into the third against Yale, Merrimack fought back for a tie. But any momentum they might have had going into the Brown game quickly evaporated in a 6-2 loss that saw them give up two shorthanded goals.
With a win over Dartmouth and lopsided loss to Providence as well, MC is 1-3-0 since the holiday break. They get the Friars again this weekend, who will surely be motivated to bounce back from an 0-1-1 weekend against New Hampshire and Army.