It has become pretty clear there are the top-four teams and then there are the rest. No one wants to stand out as the clear favorite to win it all right now, which will leave room for lots of drama as the season winds down.
1. Wisconsin (24-1-1), 138 (12) — Last Week: 1
• Last Week: W 4-3 OT @ Bemidji State (Jan. 19), T 3-3 OT (2-1 SOW) @ Bemidji State (Jan.20)
• Coming Week: v St. Cloud State (Jan. 27, Jan. 28)
Not exactly Wisconsin’s best weekend, but they walked away with five points, and with the mess around the country they sit handily atop the poll again. In their conference, Minnesota is in free fall, and the Badgers are now only four points away from locking up a top-two spot in the WCHA They will have a pair in Columbus coming up, and that could help them lock the top spot up in two weeks; up first is a pair of expected big wins as they host St. Cloud State.
2. Clarkson (21-3-1), 116 (1) — Last Week: 3
• Last Week: W 3-1 @ Harvard (Jan. 19), W 8-1 @ Dartmouth (Jan. 20)
• Coming Week: @ Cornell (Jan. 26), @ Colgate (Jan. 27)
Two trips to the Ivies meant two big wins for the Golden Knights. Up next is two teams that are vying for the top spot. This weekend will give a lot of clarity for the ECAC.
3. Boston College (22-2-3), 115 (1) — Last Week: 2
• Last Week: W 6-2 v Harvard (Jan. 16), W 3-2 OT v Vermont (Jan. 19), W 2-1 v Vermont (Jan. 20)
• Coming Week: v Providence (Jan. 26), @ Providence (Jan. 27)
The Eagles handled their Beanpot foe on Tuesday before struggling with a resurgent Vermont team. They walked away with a pair of conference wins and earned a top-three spot. They can lock up at least a top-two as they play Providence and are on the verge of locking up the top seed.
4. Colgate (22-3-1), 107 — Last Week: 4
• Last Week: W 2-1 v Syracuse (Jan. 16), W 6-1 v Union (Jan. 19), W 5-0 v RPI (Jan. 20)
• Coming Week: v St. Lawrence (Jan. 26), v Clarkson (Jan. 27)
If Colgate wants to prove they belong, this is the weekend to do it. They handled the bottom teams; now they host the top teams in a chance to take over the top of the conference.
5. Ohio State (17-5-4), 76 — Last Week: 6
• Last Week: W 3-2 v Minnesota (Jan. 19), W 5-1 v Minnesota (Jan. 20)
• Coming Week: @ Minnesota-Duluth (Jan. 26, Jan. 27)
The Buckeyes returned to the promised land as they won a pair against a languishing Minnesota team. The wins earned them another turn as the Belles of the Ball. They now travel to Duluth with an outside chance at the WCHA crown still in sight.
6. Cornell (12-6-2), 64 — Last Week: 5
• Last Week: W 1-0 v RPI (Jan. 19), T 3-3 OT v Union (Jan.20)
• Coming Week: v Clarkson (Jan. 26), v St. Lawrence (Jan. 27)
This was a bad weekend for the Big Red; a narrow win over RPI and a tie against Union drop them in the ECAC table and leave them barely holding onto a top-four spot. The road does not get any easier as they next play host to two very good teams.
7. St. Lawrence (14-7-3), 50 — Last week: 8
• Last Week: W 4-0 @ Dartmouth (Jan. 19), W 3-0 @ Harvard (Jan. 20)
• Coming Week: @ Colgate (Jan. 26), @ Cornell (Jan. 27)
The Saints have finally got their groove back. They started 2018 off with a puzzling weekend against Lindenwood after a rough end to 2017. They will get a chance to boost their profile this weekend with a pair of big games.
8. Minnesota (17-8-2), 34 — Last Week: 7
• Last Week: L 2-3 @ Ohio State (Jan. 19), L 1-5 @ Ohio State (Jan. 20)
• Coming Week: v Minnesota State (Jan. 26, Jan. 27)
This season is not going well in Minneapolis. They continue to receive votes on their name but need to start winning games if they want to stay here. They are almost a lock to travel in the NCAA, likely to Madison, if they make it. This weekend’s games are two must wins, as they take on a Mavericks team that has only won one game in conference play.
9. Northeastern (13-10-3), 29 — Last Week: 9
• Last Week: T 3-3 OT v Boston University (Jan. 16), W 5-3 v Connecticut (Jan. 19)
• Coming Week: @ Vermont (Jan. 26, Jan. 27)
The rollercoaster ride continues. Despite taking the lead late, Northeastern ended up tied with Victoria Bach — whose hat trick made up all of BU’s goals in the midweek game. They then handled those other Huskies for the second time in as many weeks. They will now head to Vermont to take on a Catamounts team that has been beating good teams.
10. Robert Morris (14-6-3), 15 — Last Week: ARV
• Last Week: W 12-1 @ RIT (Jan. 19), W 4-3 OT @ RIT (Jan. 20)
• Coming Week: v Penn State (Jan. 26, Jan. 27)
The Colonials return to the poll with some help. This was a head scratcher of a weekend as they blew RIT out of the water one night and then have to come back and win it OT the next. They need wins now, as they have fallen out of the top spot in the CHA and risk not making the NCAA without an autobid.
Also receiving votes: Providence 12, Maine 11, Bemidji State 2, Saint Anselm 1