Selection Sunday is closing in and there is a distinct lack of drama this season, as most "bubble teams" find themselves eliminated from their conference playoffs. That doesn't mean, though, that there's a lack of drama in our rankings. Outside of the top spot, of course.
Just 17 games stand between college hockey and its Selection Sunday. But this season, there’s little drama or anxious buildup to the conference semifinals and finals that run this Friday and Saturday. The reason? Most of the “bubble teams” – those just outside the top 16 teams in the Pairwise rankings used to select and seed the NCAA Tournament – have already been eliminated from their conference playoffs.
That means the teams that could usually push their way into a berth on the last day no longer have a say in the matter. The only disruptions to the field currently set by the Pairwise would be huge upsets in the championship games, giving teams like Providence or Bowling Green an automatic bid and sending teams like Western Michigan or Michigan State to the offseason a little early.
So that being said, we offer our final power rankings of the college hockey season. Starting next week, all questions of who’s best get settled on the ice in Worcester, Bridgeport, Green Bay, St. Paul, and ultimately, Tampa.
1. Boston College (27-10-1): The winning streak is now at 13 games. During that run, the Eagles have outscored the opposition 53-16.
2. Michigan (23-11-4): Since Dec. 3, the Wolverines are 16-3-2, giving up less than two goals in 10 of those 21 games.
3. Minnesota-Duluth (24-8-6): The Bulldogs are on a 6-2-2 string, with the two losses coming to North Dakota and St. Cloud State. If Michigan Tech upsets Denver on Thursday, then UMD will get the winner of North Dakota and St. Cloud in the WCHA semifinal on Friday.
4. Miami (23-13-2): The RedHawks have won eight straight, and 14 of their last 18. In that 14-4-0 run, Miami has posted six shutouts.
5. Boston University (23-13-1): Boston may have gotten by New Hampshire in the opening round of the Hockey East tournament, but their 8-7-0 run isn’t impressing anyone.
6. Minnesota (26-12-1): The run-and-gun offense that had the Gophers outscoring the opposition 40-13 in their first seven games has morphed into a nice balanced game. Minnesota has outscored their opponents 25-14 in their current 7-1-0 streak.
7. Union (22-7-7): The Dutchmen are 9-1-1 in their last 11, but the sole loss came to Cornell, Union’s likely opponent in the ECAC final.
8. North Dakota (22-12-3): The guys-who-plead-with-you-not-to-call-them-Fighting-Sioux are 10-2-1 in their last 13. The last two teams to beat NoDak, Denver and Minnesota-Duluth, are fortunately on the other side of the WCHA tournament bracket.
9. Denver (23-12-4): The Pioneers are 15-5-1 since Christmas while the Beau Bennett watch continues. The former Penguins first-round pick hasn’t played since Dec. 2 because of a wrist injury.
10. Ferris State (23-11-5): The Bulldogs followed a 15-game unbeaten streak by going 1-3-0 and being eliminated from the CCHA playoffs by last-place Bowling Green.
11. Massachusetts-Lowell (23-12-1): After sitting near the top of the Pairwise rankings for most of the season’s second half, the River Hawks went 4-5-1 down the stretch. Now they’re watching the rest of the Hockey East tournament from home after being eliminated by an inspired Providence team.
12. Maine (22-12-3): The Black Bears got themselves into the tournament by going on a 16-5-1 run since Christmas. And this despite that their previously lethal power play unit is in a 2-for-19 rut.
13. Cornell (17-7-7): From Nov. 18 through Dec. 3, the Big Red posted five shutouts in six games. They haven’t had one since, though they are 6-1-3 in their last 10.
14. Western Michigan (19-13-6): The Broncos are winners of three straight and unbeaten in four, but they were 7-9-0 in the previous 16 games. Are they clicking just in time?
15. Michigan State (19-15-4): The Spartans have to sit and wait and hope after being eliminated from the CCHA playoffs by Miami. That was no surprise. MSU finished on an 8-9-2 string.
16. Air Force (19-10-7): This spot must, as always, include the disclaimer that this is essentially the automatic bid for the Atlantic Hockey champion. Air Force isn’t thrilling anyone with a 3-3-0 string, but someone has to win the title next weekend.
Other teams still alive for a berth: Niagara, RIT, Mercyhurst, Bowling Green, St. Cloud State, Providence, Michigan Tech, Harvard, Colgate, Northern Michigan.
Dan DeSalvo, Bowling Green
The week: The undrafted freshman celebrated his 20th birthday on Tuesday, then went on to tally five goals and two assists as the Falcons won their CCHA tournament series over Ferris State. DeSalvo was a plus-6, and capped the weekend with a natural hat trick – completed with the overtime winner – in Sunday’s series-clinching 4-3 win.
Fun fact: Dan played for Des Moines of the USHL before moving to Bowling Green, so he obviously has a thing for the vibrant night life.
Alex Killorn, Harvard
The week: The senior Tampa Bay Lightning draftee had two goals, four assists, and was a plus-4 as the Crimson eliminated rival Yale from the ECAC tournament.
Fun fact: His official team bio has just two words under the “Personal” section: “Enjoys golfing.” That’s enlightening.
Alex Chiasson, Boston
The week: The junior and Dallas Stars prospect had two goals, four assists, and was a plus-3 as the Terriers took all three games to eliminate New Hampshire from the Hockey East tournament.
Fun fact: Alex also played for Des Moines of the USHL.
NORTHEAST REGIONAL (Worcester, Mass.)
1 Boston College vs. 4 Western Michigan
2 Boston vs. 3 Denver
EAST REGIONAL (Bridgeport, Conn.)
1 Miami vs. 4 Cornell
2 Union vs. 3 North Dakota
MIDWEST REGIONAL (Green Bay, Wis.)
1 Michigan vs. 4 Air Force
2 Ferris State vs. 3 Maine
WEST REGIONAL (St. Paul, Minn.)
1 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Michigan State
2 Minnesota vs. 3 Mass-Lowell
Photo by Boston College