Last week’s holiday altered some scheduling forcing a few games before the break, allowing for a number of intriguing matchups in tournaments or just non-conference meetings that rarely happen.
This week will have major implications on the NCAA tournament picture with essentially two home-ice spots up for grabs as we inch closer to the end of the first half.
1. Wisconsin (14-1-1), (12) 138 — Last Week: 1
• Last Week: W 3-0 vs. Cornell (11/25), W 5-1 vs. Cornell (11/26)
• Coming Week: v Minnesota (12/3, 12/4)
Without Ann-Renée Desbiens, who current has no timetable to return, the Badgers let Cornell hang around in both games but put them away as needed. They now draw arch-rival Minnesota for a pair of games at home. This is the series we’ve all been waiting for and it could very well set the table for ownership of the top overall seed down the road.
2. Minnesota (13-1-2), (1) 125 — Last Week: 2
• Last Week: W 4-0 vs. Bemidji State (11/26), W 4-1 vs. Bemidji State (11/27)
• Coming Week: @ Wisconsin (12/3, 12/4)
Minnesota had a pair of important conference games that they won handily. They could’ve been forgiven if they had looked past Bemidji a little with this weekend’s road trip on the horizon. They now must head to Madison and try to take down Wisconsin. The Gophers seem to have lucked out as it appears Patty Kaz favorite Desbiens does not appear ready to play in the series.
3. St. Lawrence (15-0-1), (1) 107 — Last week: 3
• Last Week: W 3-0 @ Penn State (11/21), W 2-0 @ Penn State (11/22)
• Coming Week: @ Clarkson (12/1), v Clarkson (12/3)
Deciding to play before the holiday, the Saints traveled to Penn State and shut out the Nittany Lions as they needed to before enjoying a nice turkey dinner. They now have what would be the marquee matchup if it weren’t for the Wisconsin/ Minnesota knockdown. They will play their home-and-home with Clarkson in conference play; their last home-and-home was a non conference pair. The Saints had taken three of four points, but these games will likely decide the winner of the ECAC regular season crown meaning the pressure is on both teams.
4. Minnesota-Duluth (10-3-3), 104— Last Week: 3
• Last Week: W 4-1 @ Harvard (11/25), W 2-1 OT @ Harvard (11/25)
• Coming Week: @ St. Cloud St (12/2, 12/3)
In a sadly rare occurrence of a respectable western team willing to travel east and risk playing a normally good eastern team, the Bulldogs were able to sweep a down Crimson team. They were taken to OT in the second which is exactly not what they wanted. It is left to be seen whether any other western powers will risk traveling east in the near future. This week they have a pair of WCHA games against a Huskies program that can surprise teams but should be beatable.
5. Clarkson (13-3-2), 75 — Last Week: 5
• Last Week: T 3-3 OT (SOW 2-1) vs. Robert Morris (11/25), W 3-1 @ Vermont (11/26)
• Coming Week: v St. Lawrence (12/1), @ St. Lawrence (12/3)
These weren’t exactly the results the Golden Knights would’ve liked though they might have been looking ahead to the coming week. They were able to escape a dangerous Robert Morris team with a tie advancing in the shootout, but then had a closer game then they would’ve liked against Vermont. They now have a home-and-home against St. Lawrence. A sweep in either direction will all but settle the ECAC regular season and could propel the winner to home ice in the NCAAs.
6. Boston College (10-3-3), 71 — Last Week: 6
• Last Week: W 4-2 @ Northeastern (11/26)
• Coming Week: @ Providence (12/3)
The Eagles played a solid game in their return to Matthews Arena and were able to walk away with the win this time in a penalty filled game. They now move onto Providence in Hockey East play while controlling their destiny again.
7. Colgate (14-2-1), 41 — Last Week: 9
• Last Week: W 4-2 @ Mercyhurst (11/22), W 5-1 @ Mercyhurst (11/23)
• Coming Week: v Dartmouth (12/2), v Harvard (12/3)
Like St. Lawrence, Colgate decided to travel before the holiday and it seems to have worked. They handled Mercyhurst well and now come home for a pair of conference games against two teams that have struggled but have been dangerous. The resounding sweep of the Lakers and the subsequent jump back in the polls has earned the Raiders their first time as the Belles of the Ball this week.
8. Quinnipiac (11-4-3), 37 — Last Week: 8
• Last Week: T 1-1 OT (SOL 0-2) vs. Merrimack (11/25), W 3-2 vs. UConn (11/26)
• Coming Week: @ Union (12/2), @ RPI (12/3)
Houston, we may have a problem. They were able to hold Merimack to a tie at home but were then unable to score in the shootout. They then scraped by a very weak UConn team which they shutout earlier in the season. Their offense has seemed anemic most of the season and sometimes completely forgets to show up. They now head on the road for conference play that should be an easy pair of wins.
9. North Dakota (7-5-4), 26 — Last Week: 7
• Last Week: L 0-3 vs. Syracuse (11/25), W 3-0 vs. Syracuse (11/26)
• Coming Week: @ Ohio State (12/2, 12/3)
This weekend could be described as a wash for North Dakota with opposing 3-0 results. That is not a good thing against a Syracuse team that has struggled offensively. They now travel to Ohio for a pair that they need to win in order to stay afloat in the WCHA standings and this poll.
10. Northeastern (10-4-3), 22 — Last Week: 10
• Last Week: L 2-4 vs. Boston College (11/26)
• Coming Week: @ Providence (11/30), v Vermont (12/3, 12/4)
More what if’s to haunt the Huskies. They played even with Boston College for most of the game and had a goal called back in the third that would’ve given them the lead but were unable to get past the Eagles once again. The loss deals a serious blow to their regular season title hopes. They now must move on quickly as they have three conference games this week that they should sweep. These are their last games before they break for the holidays.
Also Receiving Votes: Robert Morris 17, Boston University 5, Cornell 2
Dropped Out: Princeton, Bemidji St