The ASN Eight: North Dakota takes over at No. 1
Providence, which held the top spot for nearly two months, drops to No. 3 with two losses in its last three games.
The losses should almost come with an asterisk, as all-everything sophomore defenseman Jake Walman has missed all three games with an injury that also keep him from competing for Team Canada in the World Juniors in Finland. Both the Friars and the Canadians could have used him over the past few weeks.
Walman is day-to-day, but his return could come in time for this weekend’s Hockey East showdown against Boston College in a home-and-home series.
How much star power will be on the ice in the heated rivalry depends on if Walman and BC freshman Colin White compete. White is playing for Team USA at the World Junior Championships this week and may miss one or both of the weekend games, just as North Dakota’s Brock Boeser and Nick Schmaltz will miss this weekend’s exhibition against Team USA's 18-under team.
BC has dropped three straight, including a 2-1 loss to Providence in the consolation game of the Florida College Classic to end 2015.
North Dakota, leading the nation with 18 wins, climbs back to No. 1 while Quinnipiac is a close No. 2. The Fighting Hawks are riding an eight-game winning streak, longest in the nation.
The ECAC, meanwhile, is picking up speed thanks to a strong non-conference showing and for the first time this season a Big Ten team is represented in the Elite Eight.
The ASN Eight
1. NORTH DAKOTA
Conference: NCHC | Record: 18-2-0 | Last week: 2
Has given up just one goal in past five games
Conference: ECAC | Record: 17-1-3 | Last week: 3
Giving up 1.45 goals per game, lowest in the country. No. 1 in PairWise rankings
Conference: Hockey East | Record: 12-2-3 | Last week: 1
The Jake Affect: Friars are 1-2 without their sophomore defenseman, including a 4-3 loss at Brown (4-8-3)
4. ST. CLOUD STATE
Conference: NCHC | Record: 16-4-0 | Last week: 4
Huskies lead nation in scoring at 4.5 goals per game
Conference: NCHC | Record: 14-3-1 | Last week: 5
A sparkling 10-0 vs. non-conference foes this season
Conference: ECAC | Record: 8-1-3 | Last week: 8
No. 2 in PairWise rankings and Mariucci Classic champion
Conference: ECAC | Record: 9-2-2 | Last week: 7
For now, we will look at the 8-0 loss to Ohio State as a holiday letdown after handing Providence its first loss of the season. For
Conference: Big Ten | Record: 11-3-3 | Last week: Unranked
If the defense ever comes together, beware of Big Blue
Dropping out: Boston College (13-4-1, riding a three-game losing streak)