Sunday, December 02, 2012

WCHA Power Rankings 12/02/2012

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 if anything; this past weekend proved that there is a lot of parity in college hockey and the WCHA this season. More specifically, the goal starved Wisconsin Badgers took three points from the Denver Pioneers who are one of the top scoring teams in the WCHA. That speaks volumes of the Wisconsin Defense. The last place UAA Seawolves scored 6 goals against the second place Saint Cloud State University Huskies.

Again, I think that you could swap any of the top five to six teams in the league as well, there are also seven teams separated by just two points.

1. Denver University – (9-4-1, WCHA 7-2-1) – This past weekend, the Denver Pioneers took a single point (1-1 T – 1-3 L) from the Wisconsin Badgers. This weekend the Pioneers travel to Grand Forks, ND to play the University of North Dakota in an important two game WCHA series. Denver is has a record of 0-3-1 in the last four games.

2. University of North Dakota – (7-5-2, WCHA 4-2-2) – This past weekend, UND split (2-5 L – 3-2 W O.T.) their series with the Colorado College Tigers. This weekend, the University of North Dakota entertains first place Denver Pioneers at Ralph Englestad Arena, in an important two game WCHA series. After not winning a game in overtime since the 2009 season; the Green and White now has two wins in overtime so far this season and owns a 2-0-2 record in the extra session.

3. Minnesota Gophers – (10-3-2, WCHA 5-3-2) – This past weekend, the Minnesota Gophers split (2-3 L – 3-2 W) their series with the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This weekend, the Gophers travel to Colorado Springs to play the Colorado College Tigers at the World Arena. Saturday’s win against the Mavericks, was the Gophers first win against a team that “currently” holds a winning record.

4. Nebraska Omaha – (9-4-1, WCHA 5-2-1) – This past weekend, the Mavericks split (3-2 W – 2-3 L) their weekend series against the Minnesota Gophers at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This weekend, the Mavericks travel to Saint Cloud, Minnesota to play the Saint Cloud State Huskies at the National Hockey Center.  This past weekend, the Mavericks got their first win of the season against a team with a winning record.

5. Saint Cloud State – (8-6-0, WCHA 6-4-0) – This past weekend, the Huskies split (4-3 W O.T. – 3-1 L) their weekend series with the University Alaska Anchorage Seawolves in Anchorage, Alaska. This weekend, the Huskies entertain the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks at the National Hockey center.

6. Colorado College – (8-7-1, WCHA 5-3-0) – This past weekend, the Colorado College Tigers split (5-3 W – 2-3 O.T. L) their weekend series against the University of North Dakota. This weekend, the Tigers entertain the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the World Arena in Colorado Spring Colorado.

7. Minnesota State Mankato – (7-5-2, WCHA 5-5-0) – This past weekend, the Mavericks swept (3-0 W – 6-1 W) the Bemidji State Beavers at the Verizon Wireless Center. The Mavericks defense held to the Beavers to on goal all weekend. This weekend, the Mavericks entertain the University of Anchorage Alaska Seawolves at the Verizon Wireless Center.  While the Mavericks have a winning record, the Mavericks have only beat one team (Minnesota) with a winning record.

8.  Minnesota Duluth – (4-7-1, WCHA 2-5-3) – This past weekend, the UMD Bulldogs took three points (7-3W – 4-4 T) from the Michigan Tech Huskies. This weekend, the Bulldogs entertain the Bemidji State Beavers in a two game series at Amsoil Arena.

9. Michigan Tech – (4-7-1, WCHA 3-6-1) – This past weekend, the Huskies took one point (3-7 L – 4-4 T) from the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs at MacInnes Student Ice Arena. This week, the Huskies play a single nonconference game at Northern Michigan on Tuesday night. This weekend, the Huskies travel to Madison Wisconsin to play an important two game series against the Wisconsin Badgers.

10. Wisconsin – (2-7-3, WCHA 2-5-3) – This past weekend, the Badgers took three points (2-4 L – 2-4 L) from the first place Denver Pioneers. This weekend, the Badgers return home to entertain the Michigan Tech Huskies in an important two game series at the Kohl Center. This weekend, the highly regarded freshman Nic Kerdiles finally made his season debut and scored his first collegiate goal in his second game against the Pioneers. The Badgers have been offensively challenged so far this season and have scored a meager 19 goals in the last 10 games for an average of 1.9 goals per game. The Badgers record during that 10 game stretch is 2-5-3.

11. Alaska Anchorage – (2-4-4, WCHA 0-3-3) – This past weekend, the Seawolves split (4-3 O.T. L – 3-1 W) their series with the Saint Cloud State Huskies at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska. This weekend, The Seawolves travel to Mankato to play the Minnesota State Mavericks at the Verizon Wireless Center. The Seawolves have not been swept in a WCHA series this season and have gotten at least a point in each series.

12.   Bemidji State – (3-7-2, WCHA 2-6-2) – This past weekend, the Bemidji State Beavers were swept (0-3 L – 1-6 W) by the Minnesota State Mavericks at the Verizon Wireless Center. This weekend the Beavers travel to Duluth to play the Bulldogs at Amsoil Arena. The Beavers have had a tough go as of late they are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games. The goal starved Beavers have managed to score only 23 goals in 10 games for an average of 2.3 goals per game.

Taylor Seibel‘s WCHA Power Rankings

1. Denver – (9-4-1, 7-2-1 WCHA) – While Denver only escaped this past weekend with 1 point at home against a struggling Wisconsin squad, the Pioneers maintain the #1 spot in my rankings because of the lackluster results from the teams below them and DU’s hot start to begin the season.  Denver travels to North Dakota in what should be a great WCHA series next weekend.

2. North Dakota – (7-5-2, 4-2-2 WCHA) – UND outplayed Colorado College for nearly 120 minutes, but it appeared that they were going to leave the Springs with nothing to show for it.  All that changed in the blink of an eye, as North Dakota rallied back on Saturday for a 3-2 OT victory.  UND faces rival Denver next weekend at the Ralph.

3. Minnesota – (10-3-2, 5-3-2 WCHA) – The Gophers struggled mightily on Friday in a loss at home against Omaha, but responded well enough to gain a 3-2 victory on Saturday and salvage a series split.  This was probably Minnesota’s toughest test to date, as Omaha is a high quality opponent.  The Gophers travel to Colorado Springs next weekend to square off against the Tigers.

4. Nebraska Omaha – (9-4-1, 5-2-1 WCHA) – Mariucci Arena is always a difficult place to play, and UNO responded well to the atmosphere with a series split against the Gophers.  With the 2 points, Omaha moves up to #4 in my rankings.  To stay there, UNO will have to continue their gritty style of play, as the Mavs travel to St. Cloud to take on the Huskies next weekend.

5. St. Cloud State – (8-6-0, 6-4-0 WCHA) – The Huskies made the trip north to take on Alaska Anchorage this past weekend, and if not for a great comeback on Friday would have been coming back to St. Cloud with 0 points.  Anchorage is a solid squad, but SCSU should have done better this weekend.  SCSU drops to #5 as a result.  The Huskies face a key series with Omaha next weekend at home.

6. Colorado College – (8-7-1, 5-3-0 WCHA) – The Tigers took advantage of several UND mistakes on Friday en route to a 5-3 victory over the visiting squad.  On Saturday, CC nearly hung in long enough to get the win, but a late goal to tie led to an OT defeat for CC.  For now, CC is firmly in the #6 spot in my rankings.  The Tigers host Minnesota next weekend.

7. Minnesota State – (7-5-2, 5-5-0 WCHA) – The Mavericks swept Bemidji State this weekend in convincing fashion, outscoring the Beavers 9-1 on the weekend.  If Mankato can continue to suffocate teams defensively, and score in bunches, they will be a force in the WCHA as the season progresses.  Next weekend, Anchorage comes to Mankato, as the Mavs look to extend their winning streak to six games.

8. Minnesota Duluth – (4-7-3, 2-5-3 WCHA) – Minnesota Duluth took three points in their trip to Houghton this weekend, winning 7-3 on Friday, and drawing 4-4 on Saturday.  Duluth has been waiting to burst for much of the early portion of the season, and they finally erupted for 11 goals on the weekend.  The Bulldogs host Bemidji State next weekend.

9. Michigan Tech – (4-7-1, 3-6-1 WCHA) – The Huskies picked up only 1 point on the weekend against Duluth, and they needed 2 goals in the final 6+ minutes to get that.  Tech is a solid squad, capable of playing top-6 hockey.  However, they are far too inconsistent at the moment to be in the conversation for home ice.  Next weekend, the Huskies travel to Madison to take on the Badgers following a Tuesday game at Marquette against arch rival Northern Michigan.

10. Alaska Anchorage – (3-5-4, 1-4-3 WCHA) – The Seawolves arguably should have swept SCSU this weekend.  On Friday, UAA blew a 3-0 lead to lose 4-3 in OT.  Saturday, the Seawolves kept their composure after building another 3-0 lead, and they won 3-1.  The bottom half of the WCHA has been a wildcard for me much of this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if UAA winds up stealing points from most teams.  Anchorage travels to Mankato next weekend.

11. Wisconsin – (2-7-3, 2-5-3 WCHA) – The Badgers finally played a solid weekend against a very strong team, taking 3 points at Denver.  If Wisconsin can continue playing solid defense, and get timely scoring, they will be a very difficult squad to play against.  For now, I can’t put Wisconsin any higher than #11 until they prove that this weekend wasn’t a fluke.  That being said, I think we’ll see Wisconsin move up the rankings in the coming weeks.  The Badgers host Michigan Tech next weekend.

 12. Bemidji State – (3-7-2, 2-6-2 WCHA) – The Beavers played poorly against Mankato in getting swept this weekend.  Teams 7-12 are extremely close, and, at least in my opinion, could be ranked in a wide array of orders.  However, Bemidji has only 3 points in their last 8 games, and the Beavers were destroyed this weekend.  As a result, they come in at #12 in my rankings.  The Beavers travel to Duluth next weekend to take on the Bulldogs.