It is tough to judge teams right out of the break and this will be taken into account in these power rankings. The top two seem relatively clear after the results over the weekend, with Quinnipiac and Dartmouth getting the nod. The former swept Nebraska Omaha in a two game set at home and the latter defeated in-state rival UNH before falling to UMass the next night. Between those two and the next ten a gap has developed. The matchup of the week will be the top two meeting in conference action on Friday, as Dartmouth travels to the Q.
1. Quinnipiac (14-3-2, 8-0-0)- Before Break 1
There is no hotter team in the country than Quinnipiac right now. The Bobcats are on a 12 game unbeaten streak. They have won 11 of those 12 games and had no trouble disposing of WCHA foe Nebraska Omaha in a weekend two game set. On Friday, the Bobcats took a 5-4 decision and on Saturday they defeated Omaha 3-1. Friday will loom large and a win on Friday would all but put Quinnipiac in complete control of the ECAC standings, as they already have a seven point lead in the standings over Dartmouth.
2. Dartmouth (8-3-1, 4-1-1)- Before Break 2
Dartmouth split at the Ledyard Bank Classic on the weekend but picked up a huge win against in-state rival New Hampshire on Sunday night. The win was passion filled and a perfect game for the Big Green. The next night brought disappointment against UMass in a 3-2 loss, but the effort was there in a disjointed, penalty-filled game from the start. The win against UNH solidified their position behind QU going into the big matchup on Friday.
3. Colgate (9-7-2, 3-4-1) – Before Break 4
By process of elimination Colgate ends up the third spot in these rankings, despite not playing a game last week. In their two games before the break they defeated UMass on consecutive nights. With Dartmouth’s loss to UMass on Monday, those two wins are looking like good ones.
4. Union (9-4-4, 3-2-3) – Before Break 3
Union split at the Catamount Cup losing to host Vermont Friday night 2-1 and defeating Merrimack 4-1. The loss against Vermont is not great, but Vermont is much improved over last year and they were the host. The Merrimack was a good, complete win for the Dutchmen. They have a lot of potential and were missing their top defensemen in Shayne Gostisbehere on the weekend. He should miss this weekend as well.
5. Yale (7-4-2, 3-3-1) – Before Break 5
Yale continued its hot and cold play on the season with a 5-4 loss to Holy Cross on Sunday night. Holy Cross is one of three Atlantic Hockey teams that are considered a TUC in the Pairwise. A loss against an Atlantic team isn’t as disastrous as years past, but a loss shows that Yale has continued its on again, off again play. Yale has a huge game against Boston College on Friday night.
6. Cornell (7-4-2, 3-3-0) – Before Break 6
Cornell took one on the chin in the championship game of the Florida College Classic, against Maine as they fell 6-4. In the opener the Big Red defeated defending national runner-up Ferris State 5-4. On the weekend, Cornell got the offense that they needed to win both but in the end they gave up ten goals in two games, which would hardly win a team many games. In the game against Maine, Cornell raced out to a 3-0 first period lead but Maine scored next four in route to the victory. Maine was 3-11-2 entering the game against Cornell.
7. RPI (6-7-4, 1-5-2) – Before Break 10
Since struggling in early ECAC conference play, the Engineers have come alive and are unbeaten in seven of their last nine games. They are in the midst of a brutal stretch, which began with a win and a loss against St Cloud and win against Sacred Heart. At this point, RPI looks better than any team from positions 7-12 in these rankings hence they move up in the rankings.
8. Clarkson (4-8-5, 3-3-1) – Before Break 8
On December 15th, Clarkson was defeated by Mercyhurst but as I stated above losing to an Atlantic hockey opponent isn’t as demoralizing as it would have been in the past. The result was a major letdown after a clean sweep of rival St. Lawrence the weekend before. They return to action this weekend in a two game series against UMass-Lowell.
9. Princeton (3-7-4, 2-3-3) – Before Break 9
Right now Princeton is playing better than Harvard, this is why I have them here above Harvard. On the weekend, Princeton tied Merrimack and lost to red hot Vermont in the Catamount Cup. The Tigers are winless in six games, but they have three ties in that time frame. They need more wins going forward, or they will move down. This weekend they will entertain Harvard and Dartmouth.
10. Harvard (4-5-1, 3-3-0) – Before Break 7
In the two games since having four players removed from the roster the Crimson are 0-2 and have been outscored 10-1 in the process. They are winless in four games since a win against Cornell on November 16th and the last two just haven’t been pretty. On Saturday night, the Crimson went into the first intermission up 1-0 against Northeastern but that lead quickly disintegrated as NU would score three second period goals en route to a 5-1 win. Rafael Girard was pulled in the middle of the third period and will be looking for a better night on Friday as the Crimson take on Princeton.
11. St. Lawrence (7-8-2, 1-4-2) – Before Break 12
There is a fine line between St. Lawrence and Brown but I am giving the Saints the edge because they have a conference win and they have seven overall wins to Brown’s four. St. Lawrence was idle over the weekend and have lost four games in a row. Gaining consistency from night to night will be important for them in the second half.
12. Brown (4-6-4, 0-3-4) – Before Break 11
Bruno fell to Minnesota State on Saturday night but picked up a win against AIC on Sunday. The win was their first in their last five games. Brown needs conference wins and need them fast.