Sunday, November 18, 2012

WCHA Power Rankings: 11/18/2012

Here’s this week’s WCHA Power Rankings. This season, I will be doing the WCHA Power Rankings with Taylor Seibel who is a contributor of College Hockey Weekly.

I think that the WCHA is very balanced this season and there is a “little” distinction between teams 6-12.
After watching the UMD Bulldogs this past weekend. I am not sold that the Bulldogs are a last place team or even an 11th place team, in the WCHA. I am not sure anyone would be thrilled about the prospects of their favorite team having to play the Bulldogs in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs. Nothing good can come from that matchup.

I am also not ready to bury the Wisconsin Badgers in the Bottom of the WCHA standings either, let’s see how they respond once they get Nic Kerdiles (NCAA suspension) and Mark Zangerle (injury) back in the lineup.

I also think that you could swap any of the top four teams in the league as well. The Power Rankings are a snap shot of the WCHA teams on this date in the season. I think that the Denver Pioneers are “currently” the best team in the WCHA.

1. Denver University – (9-1-0, WCHA 7-1-0) – This weekend, the Denver Pioneers swept (6-5 W – 6-2 W) their cross-state rival the Colorado College Tigers. This weekend, the Pioneers entertain Yale and New Hampshire at the Magness Arena.

2. Saint Cloud State – (6-4-0, WCHA 4-2-0) – This past weekend, the Huskies are idle. This weekend, the Huskies travel to Duluth to play the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs at Amsoil Arena.

3. University of North Dakota – (5-3-2, WCHA 3-1-2) – This past weekend, UND took three points (4-4 T – 4-3 O.T. W) in their series with University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs at Ralph Englestad Arena. This weekend, the Green and White travel to South Bend, Indiana to play the Fighting Irish in a nonconference series at Compton Family Arena.

4. Minnesota Gophers – (7-2-2, WCHA 4-2-2) – This past weekend, the Minnesota Gophers took three points (2-2 T – 3-1 W) from the Wisconsin Badgers at Marriucci Arena. This weekend, the Gophers go on “rare” nonconference road trip to play the Vermont Catamounts.

5. Nebraska Omaha – (6-3-1, WCHA 4-1-1) – This past weekend, Mavericks were off. This weekend, the Mavericks entertain the Alabama Huntsville Chargers in a nonconference series at Century Link Center.

6. Colorado College – (7-5-0, WCHA 4-2-0) – This past weekend, the Colorado College Tigers swept (5-6 L – 2-6 L) by their cross-state rivals the Denver Pioneers. This weekend, the Tigers entertain New Hampshire and Yale at the World Arena.

7. Michigan Tech – (4-6-0, WCHA 3-5-0) – This past weekend, the Huskies swept the Bemidji State Beavers at the Sandford Center in Bemidji, Minnesota. This weekend, the Huskies are off.

8. Bemidji State – (2-5-1, WCHA 1-4-1) – This past weekend, the Bemidji State Beavers were swept (4-5 O.T. L – 1-2 O.T. L) by the Michigan Tech Huskies at the Sanford Center. This weekend, the Beavers entertain the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves.

9.  Alaska Anchorage – (2-3-3, WCHA 0-2-2) – This past weekend, the Seawolves were off. This weekend, the Seawolves travel to Bemidji to take on the Beavers at the Sanford Center.

10. Wisconsin – (1-5-2, WCHA 1-3-2) – This past weekend, the Badgers took one point (2-2 T – 1-3 L) against their arch rivals the Minnesota Gophers at Marriucci Arena. This weekend, the Badgers return home to entertain the Minnesota State Mavericks at the Kohl Center.

11. Minnesota Duluth – (2-6-1, WCHA 0-4-2) – This past weekend, the UMD Bulldogs took a single point (4-4 T – 3-4 O.T. L) against the University of North Dakota at Ralph Englestad Arena. This weekend, the Bulldogs entertain the Saint Cloud State Huskies at Amsoil Arena in the battle of the dogs.

12.   Minnesota State Mankato – (3-5-2, WCHA 1-5-0) – This past weekend, the Purple Mavericks were off. This weekend, the Mavericks travel to Madison, Wisconsin to play the Wisconsin Badgers.

Taylor Seibel’s WCHA Power Rankings
1. Denver – (9-1-0, 7-1-0 WCHA) – The Pioneers once again used a blistering offense to gain a WCHA sweep, beating arch-rival Colorado College 6-5 and 6-2 this weekend.  Denver leads the country in goals/game at 4.50.  If they keep that up, they’ll likely walk away with the MacNaughton this season.  DU hosts Yale and New Hampshire in non-conference play next weekend.

2. North Dakota – (5-3-2, 3-1-2 WCHA) – UND struggled against Minnesota Duluth this weekend, but managed to walk away with 3 points.  North Dakota has shown flashes of brilliance, but they have also struggled mightily at times.  UND will have to become a more consistent team if they have ideas of winning the WCHA this season.  North Dakota travels to Notre Dame in non-conference play next weekend.

3. St. Cloud State – (6-4-0, 4-2-0 WCHA) – The Huskies were off this past weekend, and maintain the #3 spot in my WCHA rankings.  SCSU is battling some injuries right now, but they have all the pieces of a championship caliber team.  The Huskies square off against Minnesota Duluth in Duluth next weekend in WCHA action.

4. Minnesota – (7-2-2, 4-2-2 WCHA) – Minnesota fans can thank Adam Wilcox for a tremendous performance this past weekend, as the Gophers took 3 points from their arch-rival Wisconsin.  Minnesota struggled on the powerplay this weekend, but looked better on 5x5 against the Badgers.  The Gophers make the trip to Hockey East foe Vermont in non-conference play next weekend.

5. Nebraska Omaha – (6-3-1, 4-1-1 WCHA) – The Mavericks had this past weekend off.  Under Coach Blais, UNO is capable of beating any team in the league.  However, they are prone to inconsistency.  How consistent they are will likely determine how high they go in the rankings.  The Mavericks take on Alabama Huntsville in Omaha next weekend in non-conference action.

6. Colorado College – (7-5-0, 4-2-0 WCHA) – The Tigers took their lumps this weekend, allowing 12 goals to Denver in getting swept this weekend, CC’s first losses in WCHA action this season.  Denver might be just that good, but CC will need to play better if they want to contend for any hardware this season.  CC takes on New Hampshire and Yale in non-conference action down in the Springs next weekend.

7. Michigan Tech – (4-6-0, 3-5-0 WCHA) – Michigan Tech used two overtime victories to get their first ever wins in Bemidji this weekend, winning 5-4 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday.  The Huskies are capable of being a top-half team, but have only shown that in flashes early in the season.  Perhaps this sweep will be what this team needs to get back on track.  Tech is off next weekend.

8. Alaska Anchorage – (2-3-3, 0-2-2 WCHA) – The Seawolves jump up a spot in my rankings, thanks in large part to the bottom-half teams not performing well this weekend.  Anchorage has surprised me this season, but will need to continue their strong play if they want to contend for home ice this season.  UAA travels to Bemidji State next weekend in WCHA play.

9. Bemidji State – (2-5-1, 1-4-1 WCHA) – The Beavers were in excellent position on Friday to notch their 2nd WCHA win and move to .500 on the season and in conference play.  Then Michigan Tech stormed back and won in overtime.  Another similar defeat on Saturday, and Bemidji finds themselves falling in the WCHA standings.  BSU hosts Anchorage next weekend in WCHA action.

10. Wisconsin – (1-5-2, 1-3-2 WCHA) – Wisconsin was able to stifle the Minnesota offensive attack this past weekend, but the Badgers still walked away from Mariucci with only 1 point.  Wisconsin was without star forward Mark Zengerle, and top recruit Nic Kerdiles.  Given that, there is still some reason for optimism in Wisconsin circles.  The Badgers host Mankato next weekend in WCHA play.

11. Minnesota Duluth – (2-6-2, 0-4-2 WCHA) – The Bulldogs played well enough against North Dakota to win both games, but were unable to convert either opportunity into wins, managing only a draw on Friday.  Duluth has a potent offense, but take way too many penalties to be a top-half squad.  Minnesota Duluth hosts in-state rival St. Cloud State in WCHA play next weekend.

12. Minnesota State – (3-5-2, 1-5-0 WCHA) – The Mavericks had last weekend off, and fall to the cellar as a result of Duluth’s performance this weekend.  Mankato is capable of contending for a top-half spot, but have struggled to play a full 60 minutes.  The Mavericks take on Wisconsin in WCHA play next weekend in Madison.

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