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USCHO Rankings: Michigan Hockey Jumps To No. 1

The month of October did not get off to a very good start for the Michigan hockey program. After losing Jon Merrill to a 12-game suspension, Michigan dropped its first exhibition game of the season to the Ontario Institute of Technology. While exhibition games don't count, it was concerning, to say the least.

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Michigan has rebounded since the loss with five straight wins, four of which were regular season games. The latest win was a 10-3 drubbing of St. Lawrence on Thursday, and it has prompted voters in the USCHO rankings to move Michigan up to No. 1 in the country.

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The Wolverines made the jump from fourth to first thanks to picking up 24 first place votes. Last week's No. 1, Boston College, only received 15 first place votes. The difference gave Michigan a six-point edge over BC in the USCHO poll.

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Considering the Wolverines haven't exactly faced a very difficult schedule, I'm pretty surprised the voters made them No. 1. With Merrill's status in jeopardy beyond his suspension and with so many young players having to contribute, Michigan is expected to face a difficult road back to the NCAA tournament. For now, though, I guess voters like Michigan's undefeated record enough to make them No. 1 despite the concerns going forward.