Sunday, December 16, 2012

WCHA Power Rankings: 12/16/12

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.

In my opinion, the Denver Pioneers officially have hit rock bottom and are winless in eight games and are in a free fall. Again, I believe that you could swap any of the top four teams in the league as well.

This is the last power ranking until 2013. The WCHA Power Rankings will again resume on January 6, 2013 when teams will resume full league or nonconference action. Some of the teams in the WCHA will be off for three weeks.

1. University of North Dakota – (10-5-3, WCHA 7-2-3) – This past weekend, UND swept (6-1 W – 4-1 W) the Michigan Tech Huskies in Houghton, Michigan. UND is off till January 4-5 when the Green and White play nonconference foe Holy Cross at the Ralph Englestad Arena.

 2. Minnesota Gophers – (11-3-3, WCHA 6-3-3) – This past weekend, the Minnesota Gophers were off. The Minnesota Gophers return to action on December 29, 2012 when the Gophers host the Mariucci Classic. The Gophers will play Air Force Academy and Boston College in their annual tourney.

 3. Saint Cloud State – (11-7-0, WCHA 9-5-0) – This past weekend, the Huskies swept  (5-3 W – 3-1 w) the Colorado College Tigers at the National Hockey Center. The Huskies are off till December 27, 2012 when the Huskies will entertain nonconference ECAC foe Rensselaer in a two game series at the National Hockey Center.

 4. Nebraska Omaha – (11-6-1, WCHA 7-4-1) – This past weekend, the Mavericks split (3-6 L – 5-1 W) their weekend series with the Minnesota State Mavericks at the Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The Mavericks return to action on December 29, 2012 when the Mavericks travel to Hamden, Connecticut to play nonconference ECAC opponent the Quinnipiac Bobcats in an important two game series. The Bobcats are currently ranked sixth in the Pairwise Rankings so this matchup will have significant pairwise implications.

5. Minnesota State Mankato – (10-6-2, WCHA 8-6-0) – This past weekend, the Mavericks split (6-3 W – 1-5 L) their weekend series with University of Omaha Mavericks. The Mavericks will return to action on December 29, 2012 when the Mavericks play in the UConn Hockey Classic in Storrs, Connecticut.

6. Denver University – (9-6-3, WCHA 7-4-3) – This past weekend, the Denver Pioneers took (1-1 T – 1-5 L) a single point from the Bemidji State Beavers at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, MN. The Pioneers will return to action on the December 29, 2012 when the Pioneers play a single game against the Boston University Terriers in the Hall of Fame Game. The Pioneers are currently mired in a horrid streak; they have not won in eight games (0-5-3) and have scored a total of nine goals in the six games.

7. Colorado College – (8-10-2, WCHA 5-6-1) – This past weekend, the Colorado College were swept (3-5 L – 1-3 L) by the Saint Cloud State Huskies at the National Hockey Center in Saint Cloud, MN. The Tigers are (1-7-2) in their last 10 games. The Tigers are off until January 4, 2013 when the Tigers travel to Omaha to play an important two game series against the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks.

8. Minnesota Duluth – (7-8-3, WCHA 5-6-3) – This past weekend, the UMD Bulldogs swept (5-1W – 2-1 W) their series against the University of Alaska Anchorage, in Anchorage Alaska. The Bulldogs are (5-2-1) in their last eight games. The Bulldogs return to action on December 28, 2012 when they travel to Estero, Florida to play Maine in the Florida College Classic tourney. Other teams that are participating in the Florida College Classic are Ferris State and Cornel. Since 2000, Maine has won the Florida College Classic six times.

9.  Bemidji State – (5-8-3, WCHA 4-7-3) – This past weekend, the Bemidji State Beavers took three points (1-1 T – 5-1 W) in their weekend series with the Denver Pioneers at Sanford Center in Bemidji, MN. The Beavers return to action on December 30, 2012 when they play Massachusetts in the Ledyard Bank Classic in Hanover, NH.

10. Wisconsin – (4-7-5, WCHA 2-5-5) – This past weekend, the Badgers swept (5-0 W – 4-1 W) University of Alabama Huntsville in a two game nonconference series at the Kohl Center.  The Badgers return to action on January 4, 2013 when they travel to Anchorage, Alaska to play the UAA Seawolves.

11. Michigan Tech – (4-10-3, WCHA 3-8-3) – This past weekend, the Huskies were swept (1-6 L – 1-4 L) by the University of North Dakota at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton, Michigan. The Huskies return to action on December 29, 2012 when they play Michigan in the Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit Michigan. The Huskies are winless in seven games (0-4-3).

12. Alaska Anchorage – (3-9-4, WCHA 1-8-3) – This past weekend, the Seawolves were (1-5 L – 1-2 L) swept by the UMD Bulldogs at Sullivan Arena. The Seawolves return to action on January 4, 2013 when they entertain the Wisconsin Badgers at the Sullivan Arena. The Seawolves have won one game in the last 12 games (1-8-3).

Taylor Seibel’s WCHA Power Rankings

1. North Dakota – (10-5-3, 7-2-3 WCHA) – North Dakota swept Michigan Tech this weekend in convincing fashion, outscoring the Huskies 10-2 on the weekend.  With the sweep, North Dakota is now leading the WCHA in win%, and is just 1 point behind St. Cloud State with 2 games in hand.  Heading into Christmas, North Dakota is my favorite to take home the MacNaughton.

2. Minnesota – (11-3-3, 6-3-3 WCHA) – The Gophers did not play this weekend.  Minnesota has struggled at times this year, but has received strong goalie play from Freshman Adam Wilcox.  If Wilcox continues his success, Minnesota should make a charge to the top of the WCHA because one has to think that the Gophers will continue to improve offensively as the season progresses.

3. St. Cloud State – (11-7-0, 9-5-0 WCHA) – The Huskies swept Colorado College this weekend in WCHA action to vault to the top of the points race.  SCSU had to deal with some difficult injuries in the first half, and now that the squad is mostly healthy, the Huskies should have no problem staying at or near the top in the second half.

4. Nebraska Omaha – (11-6-1, 7-4-1 WCHA) – UNO split their series with Mankato this weekend, but still had a strong first half of the season.  With the top of the standings bunched up, UNO has a chance to make a run in the second half thanks to a schedule that sees the Mavericks play only 2 top-half teams (@ Denver, vs. North Dakota) in their last 16 games.

5. Minnesota State – (10-6-2, 8-6-0 WCHA) – Mankato split at Omaha this weekend, and has been very impressive thus far this season.  The Mavericks are in excellent position for home ice at the midway point.  Their second half schedule opens up quite a bit as well, as they only play one road game (@ Minnesota) and three home games (vs. Minnesota, vs. North Dakota) against top half competition.

6. Denver – (9-6-3, 7-4-3 WCHA) – Denver had another disappointing weekend, only taking 1 point against Bemidji.  The Pioneers are now winless in their last 8 games (0-4-4).  It won’t get any easier in the second half either, as Denver squares off against Omaha, SCSU, North Dakota, and Minnesota, in addition to another series with arch rival Colorado College.

7. Minnesota Duluth – (7-8-3, 5-6-3 WCHA) – The Bulldogs completed the sweep up in Anchorage this weekend, and are now on a nice streak going 5-2-1 after starting the season 0-4-2 in conference play.  Duluth only makes 3 trips in the second half of the season, and only has to leave the state of Minnesota once (@ CC).  All sets up well to give the Bulldogs a shot at home ice.

8. Colorado College – (8-10-2, 5-6-1 WCHA) – The Tigers were swept by SCSU this weekend.  CC has fallen significantly after sweeping Wisconsin and Bemidji State back in early November.  Since then, the Tigers are 1-7-2.  CC has a difficult second half schedule to boot including 9 road games, and 10 matches against top half teams.  Unfortunately for Tiger fans, it doesn’t appear as though CC has what it takes to get home ice this season.

9. Wisconsin – (4-7-5, 2-5-5 WCHA) – The Badgers may finally be back on the right track following a sweep of Alabama Huntsville.  Since the return of Nic Kerdiles to the lineup, the Badgers are 3-0-3.  Wisconsin faces a difficult test in the second half, playing 10 games against top half teams, but the outlook in Madison is a whole lot brighter than it was just three weeks ago.

10. Bemidji State – (5-8-3, 4-7-3 WCHA) – The Beavers took 3 points from a struggling Denver squad this weekend.  If Bemidji can get more consistent scoring, they are a team that can compete for home ice.  Unfortunately for Beaver fans, that scoring just has not been there this year.  With a second half schedule featuring 8 games against top half squads, it may be a long winter in Bemidji.

11. Michigan Tech – (4-10-3, 3-8-3 WCHA) – The Huskies were swept by North Dakota this weekend.  The first 17 games this season have been disappointing for the Tech faithful, many of whom (along with myself) thought that Tech would be a top half team.  The play just has not been there.  The Huskies play only 6 top half teams in the second half, all on the road, but perhaps with a strong GLI performance Tech will play better down the stretch.

12. Alaska Anchorage – (3-9-4, 1-8-3 WCHA) – The Seawolves were swept at home by Duluth this weekend.  While most thought UAA would be in this position at the beginning of the year, UAA had a relatively strong start to the season, scoring ties against North Dakota and Minnesota, and beating SCSU at home.  Since that win, UAA is 0-4-0, and has scored only 3 goals in that perio