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CBSSports.com College Hockey Power 10: Week 12

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

Power 10Every week here at Eye on Hockey, we'll provide the CBSSports.com College Hockey Power 10, highlighting the top teams across college hockey.

The CBSSports.com College Hockey Power 10 is a collaboration between Eye on Hockey blogger Chris Peters and CBS Sports Network Hockey analyst Dave Starman.

It appears we have a bona fide No. 1 team in the land after Minnesota dropped both Boston College and Notre Dame in a span of 10 days. The Gophers came into the second half flying and look like the team that so many believed they could be coming into the season.

The rest of the rankings could go in a lot of different directions. One of the surprise teams of the season ascended to its highest point yet on the Power 10 as Quinnipiac seized a top-five spot, coming in at No. 4 this week with its nation-leading 16 wins. Meanwhile, North Dakota is beginning to make its push back up to the upper-tier while currently riding a seven-game unbeaten streak.

It seems to be getting more crowded in the middle of the pack as college hockey's parity appears to be taking hold at this stage of the season. Usually at this point of the season, the top tier and bottom tier are clearly defined, but that's not the case as of yet. There's a lot left to be decided in the second half of the season.

This weekend is packed with good college games on TV from every conference including CBS Sports Network.

Saturday on CBS Sports Network -- Army at Air Force -- 6 p.m. ET

Whenever the service academies get together, buckle up. These foes have a lot more on the line than just academy pride. Valuable conference standings points will be up for grabs when Air Force welcomes Army to Colorado Springs on Saturday evening.

As the two teams meet, the script is flipped this year. Air Force has struggled throughout the season and uncharacteristically has been severely challenged in Atlantic Hockey with a 4-5-2 record. The Falcons, an NCAA tournament team last year, sit eighth in the conference. Meanwhile, Army is enjoying a strong campaign with a 7-4-2 conference record, good for second in the AHA.

Neither team has a lot of offensive firepower, but both play a gritty style that makes for an exciting brand of hockey.

Andy Starczewski leads Army with 17 points including 12 assists, while the terrifically-named Cole Gunner is pacing USAFA with 17 points of his own. Air Force's Jason Torf has carried the load in net with a .916 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average. Army has split the goaltending duties between Rob Tadazak and Ryan Leets for a team save percentage of .910 and a 3.02 goals-against average.

Expect a tight, physical battle between these two squads on the beautiful campus of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

This week on CBSSports.com ULive (all times ET):

Friday, Jan. 11

New Hampshire at Boston College -- 7 p.m.
Notre Dame at Michigan State -- 7:05 p.m.
U.S. National Under-18 Team at Penn State -- 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 12

UMass at Providence -- 7 p.m.
Notre Dame at Michigan State -- 7:05 p.m.
U.S. National Under-18 Team at Penn State -- 7:30 p.m.

This week's College Hockey TV Schedule (all times ET):

Friday, Jan. 11

New Hampshire at Boston College -- 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
Union at Princeton -- 7:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)
Colorado College at North Dakota -- 8:30 p.m. (Fox College Sports)
Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota -- 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Nebraska Omaha at Denver -- 10 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)

Saturday, Jan. 12

Army at Air Force -- 6 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
Alaska at Michigan -- 7:30 p.m. (Fox College Sports)
Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota -- 8 p.m. (Fox College Sports)
Colorado College at North Dakota -- 8 p.m. (Fox College Sports)

CBSSports.com College Hockey Power 10

1. Minnesota (14-3-3) -- Last Week: 1
In back-to-back games, Notre Dame has beaten former No. 1 Boston College and current No. 2 Notre Dame by a combined score of 12-2. That's an emphatic showing from the Gophers and is further proof the team is back on top. There is scoring throughout every line for Minnesota, which gives the Gophers one of the deadliest attacks in the country.
2. Boston College (12-3-2) -- Last Week: 2
Coming off the 8-1 loss to Minnesota, BC was probably hoping for a good showing against Yale. Instead, the Eagles skated away with a 3-3 tie. It appears Boston College has fallen off its previous pace, but this is a team that tends to get stronger over the course of the second half of the year.
3. Notre Dame (14-5--0) -- Last Week: 3
It isn't easy to go into Marriuci Arena and it showed as the Irish didn't have an aswer for a motivated squad from Minnesota. Notre Dame now has an important road series against Michigan State. The Irish have been dominant in the CCHA this year with a 10-1-0 conference record.
4. Quinnipiac (16-3-2) -- Last Week: 6
The Bobcats stayed hot last weekend with a pair of huge ECAC wins over Dartmouth and Harvard. Quinnipiac is now unbeaten in its last 14. No one is sleeping on QU anymore with its perfect 10-0-0 record within the ECAC. They'll put perfection on the line this weekend with a pair of home games.
5. New Hampshire (13-3-2) -- Last Week: 4
UNH had just one game last weekend and took care of business against RPI. Now the Wildcats' sole focus is on a humongous home-and-home series with Boston College. A sweep puts UNH in the top spot in Hockey East. Friday marks the first meeting between the two top HE clubs this year.
6. North Dakota (12-5-3) -- Last Week: 7
Here comes North Dakota. Unbeaten in its last seven games, UND is getting production out of its big guns in Corban Knight (29 points) and Danny Kristo (25) and the rest of its offense seems to be wide awake now. An important WCHA home series with Colorado College is on tap this week.
7. Miami (12-4-4) -- Last Week: 5
The RedHawks have had two weeks to stew over its 1-0 loss to Robert Morris at the Three Rivers Classic. Miami will get a shot in the arm this weekend with leading scorer Riley Barber returning from winning a gold medal with the U.S. National Junior Team at the World Juniors.
8. Denver (12-6-3) -- Last Week: NR
After an ugly eight-game stretch without a win, it looks like the Pioneers are back on track. With wins over Boston University and Cornell coming out of the holiday break, Denver has been getting the job done at both ends of the ice. A huge home series with UNO will put their consistency to the test this weekend.
9. Western Michgian (12-5-3) -- Last Week: 10
A 6-0 win at Bemidji State Friday marked WMU's biggest offensive explosion of the season. The Broncos couldn't close out the weekend with a win however, tying the Beavers 2-2 the next night. This team has been inconsistent in the scoring department, but that tremendous D keeps them here.
10. Dartmouth (8-5-2) -- Last Week: 8
Currently on a three-game skid, the Big Green nearly fell off the Power 10 this week, but there weren't a lot of teams making enough of a statement to knock them out. Dartmouth has a huge game against Harvard at home Saturday. The Big Green needs a win to stop the bleeding.

Dropped Out: Boston University (11-7-0)

On the Cusp: Nebraska Omaha (13-8-1), Boston University (11-7-0), Niagara (11-3-4), Minnesota State (14-6-2), Yale (7-4-3)

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