We are just fresh in the month of February we are just two months away from the Frozen Four. Just like in college football, the standings can change week by week. The last time I check the standing the St. Cloud Huskies were the number one team in the country. As of this week’s standings they currently are now number six. The Minnesota Golden Gophers are the number-one team in the country. The Quinnipiac Bobcats are number two and once again it is them and Minnesota battling for the number one spot. The next three from three to five are as follows the Boston University Terriers, Denver University Pioneers, and Michigan Wolverines. The rest of the top ten are the Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions, Western Michigan University Broncos, and Harvard University Crimson. Let’s look back at last week’s games and how we got here.
Let’s start with the number five team the Michigan Wolverines. They had two games against Big Ten rival Wisconsin Badgers. Both games were at home. The first of two games was a 6-2 win. The Wolverines dominated scoring two goals on the first and holding the Badgers to just one goal. The goal came from Nick Granowicz and the second one was scored by Adam Fantilli. In the second period it was all Michigan they scored three goals two on the power play. Gavin Brindley scored two goals in the period. That was the winning goal as they would add another in the third and Wisconsin scored their second, but it was not enough. Just like in game one the early part of the game was dominated by the Wolverines scoring five goals in the first period. They would score two more in the second in a 7-4 win.
The number four team is the Denver Pioneers. They had a home-and-home series. We see these a lot in college hockey. It was against the Colorado College Tigers. The first game was at home in a 2-0 win. The Pioneers scored a goal in the first and second periods. Magnus Chrona has two shutouts this year. He faced 23 shots and stop them all. The two goals were scored by Jared Wright and Connor Caponi. In game two Chrona had another good game allowing just one goal on 22 shots. The Tigers only had one goal in a 4-1 loss. Denver scored two goals in the first and third periods. Two of those goals came from the power play. The winning goal came in the first period off the stick of Justin Lee. Colorado College did not score a goal until the final frame.
The Boston University Terriers have been the number three team in college hockey for the last few weeks. During the week they had two games in which they won one and lost one. The first one the Terriers won was against the Maine Black Bears. They dominated them just a couple of weeks ago. In this game, there was only one goal scored in the first period. It was scored by Boston University. In the second period the Black Bears scored two goals and so did the Terriers. The game was tied early in the third period. The goal came from Nolan Renwick but midway through the third period, the winning goal came off the stick of Wilmer Skoog. The Terriers added another one scored by Jeremy Wilmer in a 5-3 win.
The second game was part of the 70th Men’s Beanpot tournament. It was a semifinal game against the Northeastern Huskies. This game did not go well for the Terriers. The Huskies scored two goals in the first and second periods. They had a 2-0 lead going to the final period. Boston University pulled within one goal that was scored by Matt Brown. Unfortunately, Northeastern added another one off the stick of Hunter McDonald. The Terriers fell 3-1. They now will play a consolation game against the Boston College Eagles the day before Valentine’s Day.
The number two team the Quinnipiac Bobcats have been on top of near the top of college hockey all season. The Bobcats had two games this past week both were victories. Both were against Ivy League schools. The first one was against the Harvard Crimson. In this game, there were no goals scored in the first period. Quinnipiac scored the first goal in the second period on the power play. It was scored by Skyler Brind ‘Amour and that was the winning goal in a 3-0 win. The Bobcats scored two more goals in the final period off the sticks of Christophe Fillion and TJ Friedman. Also, Yaniv Perets had a shutout on 25 shots. The second game was against Dartmouth Big Green. The Big Green scored the first goal in the first period, Mark Gallant. The Bobcats tied the game in the second period from Christophe Fillion.
Dartmouth retook the lead early in the third period off the stick of Cooper Flinton. They were unable to stop the Bobcats as they scored three goals in the last period in a 4-2 win. All the goals came late in the period, and they were scored by Zach Metsa, Sam Lipkin, and Ethan De Jong. They are once again getting close to returning to the number-one spot in college hockey. If they keep winning and Minnesota goes on a losing streak, they will retake the top spot.
Speaking of the Minnesota Golden Gophers they showed why they are the top team in college hockey. They had two games against their Big Ten rival the Michigan State Spartans. Both games were wins and in dominating fashion. The first game was an 8-0 win. Minnesota scored in every period with two goals in the first period and three in the final two periods. Justen Close had a shutout on 21 shots. Eight different players scored a goal in this game. The scorers were Logan Cooley early in the game, followed by Jimmy Snuggerud, Connor Kurth, Matthew Knies, Mike Koster, Jackson LaCombe, Aaron Huglen, and Garrett Pinoniemi. There were two power-play goals both came in the third period.
In the second game, it was closer than the first, but the Golden Gophers still came out on top. After the first period, it was 3-2 Minnesota. But the game changed in the second period as the Golden Gophers scored three more and lead 6-2 after two. The Badgers added two goals in the final frame but fell short 6-4. The cool aspect about this game was there were four power-play goals scored one by the Badgers and three by the Golden Gophers. They continue to win games and stakes because they are currently the best team in college hockey.
Just like in the past, this is what I love about college hockey. At any point, a team could lose games and they dominate in some. Any of the top 10 teams could be holding the national championship in Tampa, Florida in just a month and a half. You can see why the top five teams are where they are in the standings. Quinnipiac could be the top team in college hockey but right now that belongs to the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The St. Cloud Huskies had the top spot, and they are not out of the realm of getting back there. The new team in the top five is the Michigan Wolverines. There are four Big Ten teams in the top 10. Look for Boston University, Denver University, and Michigan to play their butts off and try and get the top spot.
What are your thoughts on this week in college hockey? Leave a comment below.
For all your sports news log on to NGSCsports.com
For more follow me on Twitter @bradwalker3083, on Facebook, and on my weekly podcast The Walker Report.