|Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
It’s apparent the last few weeks that there is a lot of parity in the WCHA. I believe that there are five or six teams at the top of the league standings that we will refer to as the first tier. You also have the second tier; these are the 6-12 teams.
1. Saint Cloud State – (5-3-0, WCHA 3-1-0) – This past weekend, the Huskies split their series with the Denver Pioneers (3-0 W – 1-6 L) at Magness Arena in Denver. This weekend, the Huskies return home to entertain UND in an important WCHA series at the National Hockey Center.
2. University of North Dakota – (3-2-1, WCHA 1-0-1) – This past weekend, UND split their important nonconference series (4-2 W – 2-4 L) with the Boston University at Ralph Englestad Arena. This weekend, UND travels to Saint Cloud for a very important WCHA series with the Huskies
3. Denver University – (5-1-0, WCHA 3-1-0) – This weekend, the Denver Pioneers split their weekend series with the Saint Cloud State Huskies (0-3 L – 6-1 W) at Magness Arena. This weekend, the Pioneers travel to Mankato, Minnesota to play the Minnesota State Mavericks.
4. Minnesota Gophers – (5-2-0, WCHA 2-2-0) – This past weekend, the Minnesota Gophers split their home and home series with the Minnesota State Mankato (3-2 W – 3-5 L). This weekend, the Gophers travel to Anchorage to for a two game series with the UAA Seawolves in Anchorage, Alaska. This is the second time that the Gophers have split a series with a team in the lower half of the standings.
5. Colorado College – (5-3-0, WCHA 2-0-0) – This past weekend, the Colorado College Tigers swept The Wisconsin Badgers (5-4 O.T. W – 2-0 W) in Madison, Wisconsin. This weekend, the Tigers entertain the Bemidji State Beavers in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
6. Nebraska Omaha – (4-3-1, WCHA 2-1-1) – This past weekend, the Red Mavericks swept (2-1 W – 5-3 W) the Michigan Tech Huskies in Houghton, Michigan. This weekend, the Mavericks return home to entertain the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs in a Saturday 7:07 pm and Sunday 2:07 pm series.
7. Minnesota Duluth – (2-3-1, WCHA 0-1-1) – This past weekend, UMD Bulldogs were idle. This weekend, the Bulldogs travel to Nebraska Omaha to play the Red Mavericks in a Saturday 7:07 pm and Sunday 2:07 pm series.
8. Bemidji State – (2-1-1, WCHA 1-0-1) – This past weekend, the Bemidji State Beavers were off. This weekend, the Beavers travel to play the Colorado College Tigers in Colorado Springs.
9. Michigan Tech – (2-6-0, WCHA 1-5-0) – This past weekend, the Huskies were swept (1-2 L – 3-5 L) in the weekend series against the UNO Mavericks at MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton, Michigan. This weekend, the Huskies are off. Currently, the Huskies are mired in a five game losing streak dating back to Saturday October 20, 2012. All five loses were against conference foes.
10. Wisconsin – (1-4-1, WCHA 1-2-1) – This past weekend, the Badgers were swept (4-5 O.T. L – 0-3 L) by the Colorado College Tigers at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin. This weekend, the Badgers have a well-deserved weekend off. The Badgers also got some very bad news that they’ve lost one of their top scoring forward Mark Zengerle (2g-4a—6pts) for 5-6 weeks with a broken finger. The Badgers are now without top forwards Nic Kerdiles and Mark Zengerle.
11. Minnesota State Mankato – (3-3-2, WCHA 1-3-0) – This past weekend, the Purple Mavericks split (2-3 L – 5-3W) their home and home series with the Minnesota Gophers. The Mavericks are having trouble staying out of the penalty box and are ranked 3rd in penalty minutes after 8 games and have the worst penalty kill in the WCHA killing 69.2 percent of their opponent’s power plays.
12. Alaska Anchorage – (2-1-1, WCHA 0-1-1) – This past weekend, the Seawolves were off. This weekend the Seawolves entertain the Minnesota Gophers at Sullivan Arena.
Taylor Seibel WCHA Power Rankings
1. Denver – (5-1-0, 3-1-0 WCHA) – The Pioneers had a rough night Friday, losing to St. Cloud 3-0. The Pioneers bounced back on Saturday and crushed the Huskies. Denver is playing very strong hockey early in the season, and they look to continue their hot streak next weekend in Mankato.
2. St. Cloud State – (5-3-0, 3-1-0 WCHA) – The Huskies struggled out of the gate this season, but they have come back with a force winning 5 of their last 6. This weekend they went to Denver and walked away with a split. Next weekend, SCSU will again be tested by UND in a WCHA series in St. Cloud.
3. North Dakota – (3-2-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) – North Dakota remained somewhat inconsistent this weekend, as they looked very strong against BU in a 4-2 victory on Friday, before getting gassed and struggling somewhat on Saturday in a 4-2 loss against the Terriers. UND travels to St. Cloud to take on the Huskies next weekend in a key WCHA matchup.
4. Minnesota – (5-2-0, 2-2-0 WCHA) – The Gophers have had some early season struggles, as they barely defeated Canisius last Sunday; then, they squeaked out a 1-goal victory on Friday against Mankato before falling to the Mavs on Saturday. The Gophers travel to Anchorage this weekend, and they look to get back on track and back up in the rankings.
5. Colorado College – (5-3-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) – The Tigers looked very impressive in their sweep of Wisconsin this past weekend. CC won in OT on Friday, and they followed that up with a 3-0 victory on Saturday. The Tigers host the Bemidji State Beavers in WCHA action next weekend.
6. Nebraska Omaha – (4-3-1, 2-1-1 WCHA) – The Mavericks went into a difficult place to play (Houghton), and came away with a sweep over Michigan Tech. Omaha has been a very inconsistent team this season, but they look to keep their strong play going next weekend as they host Minnesota Duluth in a Saturday/Sunday series.
7. Bemidji State – (2-1-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) – Bemidji State didn’t play this past weekend, but benefit from a few of the teams in front of them falling to go up a spot in my power rankings. The Beavers have the heart to compete for home ice, but they will be tested next weekend when they travel to Colorado to take on CC.
8. Wisconsin – (1-4-1, 1-2-1 WCHA) – The Badgers have continued to struggle early on this season, but could have easily taken 2 points this past weekend against CC. It didn’t happen, so they drop 3 spots. The Badgers have a weekend off to regroup. They’ll need to because their next series is Nov. 16/17 at Minnesota.
9. Minnesota Duluth – (2-3-1, 0-1-1 WCHA) – The Bulldogs were off last weekend, and they stay at the #9 spot in my rankings. There appears to be a significant amount of parity from about #5 down to #12 this season, so the Bulldogs will certainly have the chance at home ice this year. Next weekend the Bulldogs play a Saturday/Sunday series against Omaha.
10. Minnesota State – (3-3-2, 1-3-0 WCHA) – The Mavericks bounced back from a disappointing sweep against St. Cloud to manage a split against Minnesota. MSU needs to work on their penalty killing, but they appear to have the talent in place to make a push for the top half of the league. Next weekend the Mavs face another tough opponent as Denver makes their way up to Mankato.
11. Michigan Tech – (2-6-0, 1-5-0 WCHA) – After starting the season 2-1-0, Michigan Tech has dropped 5 consecutive games, all of which were in WCHA play. Tech certainly has the talent to compete for home ice, but they have to be able to get points at home, which they didn’t this past weekend. Tech is off next weekend.
12. Alaska Anchorage – (2-2-2, 0-1-1 WCHA) – The Seawolves were off this past weekend. Anchorage is a gritty team capable of picking points off of anyone in the league. While I don’t see them getting home ice this season, I think they are much stronger than most expected them to be. The Seawolves host Minnesota this weekend in WCHA play.