Commentary

Pearce under radar as he leads Notre Dame at No. 1

Updated: December 31, 2008, 9:11 AM ET
By Inside College Hockey

There weren't many games involving ranked teams, but a slightly reorganized edition of the INCH Power Rankings gets things organized before a full slate of games early this week and into the weekend as holiday tournaments continue.

Here's how the Inside College Hockey editors and staff rank the nation's top teams (along with a note for each team):

Notre Dame

1. Notre Dame

Is there a more quietly excellent player in the nation than goaltender Jordan Pearce? He's eighth nationally in goals-against average, 11th in save percentage and tied for second in wins.
Record: 14-3-2 (10-2-2 CCHA)
Last week: Off
This week: versus Union, versus UMass Lowell/Minnesota Duluth (Shillelagh Tournament)

Denver

2. Denver

A potential matchup with Boston University in this week's Denver Cup excites Pioneers fans; the prospect of doing so without sophomore center Tyler Bozak (out for the remainder of the regular season with a knee injury) doesn't.
Record: 13-5-1 (9-4-1 WCHA)
Last week: Off
This week: versus Holy Cross, versus Boston University/Rensselaer (Denver Cup)

BU

3. Boston University

The Terriers hold a 32-27-3 advantage over RPI in the all-time series between the former ECAC members but lost the most recent meeting to the Engineers in 2005. Don't look ahead to a possible meeting with Denver in the final.
Record: 11-4-1 (6-4-1 Hockey East)
Last week: Off
This week: versus Rensselaer, versus Denver/Holy Cross (Denver Cup)

Miami

4. Miami (Ohio)

Sophomore forward Carter Camper hopes he can pick up where he left off before Christmas; he had 10 points in the RedHawks' three games before the break.
Record: 12-3-3 (10-2-2 CCHA)
Last week: Off
This week: versus Clarkson, versus Army/Ohio State (Ohio Hockey Classic)

Minnesota

5. Minnesota

Narrow-focused Gophers fans will tell you their team is 1-3-1 in their past five outings, which isn't great. But big-picture types will point out that they're five games better than .500, something they never accomplished last season.
Record: 8-3-5 (7-2-3 WCHA)
Last week: Off
This week: versus Brown, versus Western Michigan/Northeastern (Dodge Holiday Classic)

Princeton

6. Princeton

Mark Magnowski had three points in last season's win over Nebraska-Omaha, including the game-winning, short-handed goal at 15:15 of the third period.
Record: 10-2-0 (7-1-0 ECAC Hockey)
Last week: Off
This week: versus Minnesota State, versus Nebraska-Omaha

Northeastern

7. Northeastern

Each of Northeastern's two previous two-game winning streaks were followed by a loss. Good news for Western Michigan? Northeastern has won two straight.
Record: 11-3-2 (8-2-1 Hockey East)
Last week: Off
This week: versus Western Michigan, versus Minnesota/Brown (Dodge Holiday Classic)

Boston College

8. Boston College

This weekend's exhibition games in the Canadian Maritimes will be a good chance for Boston College to get into shape between its last Hockey East series (a tie and loss versus BU in December) and its next league series (two games at Vermont on Jan. 9-10).
Record: 9-5-2 (5-4-2 Hockey East)
Last week: Off
This week: versus New Brunswick (ex.), versus New Brunswick (ex.)

Cornell

9. Cornell

For the second time this season, Cornell rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie Colgate. This time, it got to decide a tournament title via shootout, which Cornell won on goals from Jared Seminoff and Blake Gallagher. The reward? The Ned Harkness Cup -- quite appropriate, especially this season.
Record: 8-1-3 (6-0-2 ECAC Hockey)
Last week: W versus St. Cloud State, 3-2; T versus Colgate, 1-1 OT (Florida College Classic)
This week: at Massachusetts

Vermont

10. Vermont

The Catamounts haven't won their holiday tournament since the 2005-06 season, but they did so that season with wins over Clarkson and Dartmouth. This season's path also could be lined with former ECAC Hockey foes, as the Cats meet Colgate in the first round and possibly St. Lawrence in the final.
Record: 9-4-2 (6-3-1 Hockey East)
Last week: Off
This week: versus Colgate, versus St. Lawrence/Ferris State (Catamount Cup)

11. Air Force

The Falcons are the only team in the country with three players who have scored 20 or more points so far this season -- Jacques Lamoureux (24 points), Brent Olson (23), and Greg Flynn (22).
Record: 14-2-0 (11-1-0 Atlantic Hockey)
Last week: Off
This week: at Connecticut, versus Quinnipiac/Merrimack (UConn Hockey Classic), at Connecticut, at Yale

11. Michigan

Even without linemate Aaron Palushaj, forward Louie Caporusso fared just fine at the Great Lakes Invitational, leading the Wolverines to a second straight GLI title with four goals, including a natural hat trick in a first-round win against Michigan Tech.
Record: 13-7-0 (7-5-0 CCHA)
Last week: W versus Michigan Tech, 5-0; W versus Michigan State, 5-1 (Great Lakes Invitational)
This week: Off

13. Wisconsin

Since allowing six goals in a loss at St. Cloud State on Nov. 21, goaltender Shane Connelly has given up a total of six goals in the ensuing seven games. The Badgers are 6-0-1 during that span, the lone tie coming against Lake Superior State in the Badger Hockey Showdown final.
Record:10-7-3 (7-5-2 WCHA)
Last week: W versus Alabama-Huntsville, 5-0; T versus Lake Superior State, 1-1 OT (Badger Showdown)
This week: versus Northern Michigan, versus Northern Michigan

14. Colorado College

Forwards Chad Rau, Eric Walsky and Bill Sweatt have accounted for nearly half (29 of 59) the Tigers' goals this season.
Record: 11-6-5 (7-5-2 WCHA)
Last week: T versus Sacred Heart, 2-2 OT; W versus Sacred Heart, 7-0
This week: Off

15. Ohio State

No one is talking about the Buckeyes, but perhaps we should start. They've won six in a row and nine of their past 10 heading into this weekend's Ohio Hockey Classic.
Record:11-6-1 (6-5-1 CCHA)
Last week: Off
This week: versus Army, versus Clarkson/Miami (Ohio Hockey Classic)

16. Dartmouth

What I learned on my European vacation: how to score short-handed goals. The Big Green got three of 'em on Sunday in a win over Army, including the winner from Rob Pritchard at 1:43 of overtime.
Record: 7-4-0 (5-2-0 ECAC Hockey)
Last week: W versus Army, 5-4 OT
This week: versus Bemidji State (Ledyard National Bank Classic), at Quinnipiac, at Princeton

17. Minnesota State

Defense may win championships, but offense wins games for the Mavs -- they're 1-4-2 this season when scoring two or fewer goals.
Record: 8-7-3 (5-7-2 WCHA)
Last week: Off
Next games: at Princeton, at Yale, versus Nebraska-Omaha

18. Nebraska-Omaha

The CCHA's Mavericks already defeated Union earlier this season. Getting a win and a tie at Yale and Princeton this week would move them into a tie for seventh in the ECAC Hockey standings with five points.
Record: 11-4-3 (7-4-3 CCHA)
Last week: Off
This week: at Yale, at Princeton, at Minnesota State

19. Minnesota Duluth

Notre Dame is riding a 14-game unbeaten streak, but the Bulldogs, another participant in this weekend's Shillelagh Tournament, are in the midst of a tidy seven-game run without a loss.
Record: 8-4-6 (5-4-5 WCHA)
Last week: Off
This week: versus UMass Lowell, versus Union/Notre Dame (Shillelagh Tournament)

20. Alaska

An overtime goal by Western Michigan's Max Campbell in a 3-2 win in Fairbanks on Dec. 20 snapped the Nanooks' seven-game unbeaten streak.
Record: 9-5-4 (7-4-3 CCHA)
Last week: W versus Western Michigan, 6-3; L versus Western Michigan, 3-2 OT
This week: at Michigan State, at Michigan State

Dropped out: None

Bubblelicious: New Hampshire

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