Monday, February 18, 2013

WCHA Power Rankings: Week 19

Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo
Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is the week 19 WCHA Power Rankings. This season, I have been doing the WCHA Power Rankings with Taylor Seibel, who is a contributor for College Hockey Weekly.

1.  Saint Cloud State – (18-11-1, WCHA 15-6-1) – This past weekend, the Huskies were off. This weekend, the Huskies travel to Colorado Springs, Colorado to play the Colorado College Tigers.
2. Minnesota – (20-6-4, WCHA 12-6-4) – This past weekend, the Minnesota Gophers split (3-2 W – 2-3 L) their weekend series with the Wisconsin Badgers. The Gophers won indoors at the Kohl Center on Friday night, and then lost to the Badgers at the Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon. This weekend, the Gophers entertain the slumping Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs who have won one game, in their last eight (1-6-1).
3University of North Dakota – (16-8-6, WCHA 11-5-6) – This past weekend, UND was off. This weekend, the University of North Dakota travels to Denver, to play the Pioneers in an important two game series at Magness Arena in Denver, Colorado.
4. Minnesota State Mankato – (20-9-3, WCHA 14-9-1) – This past weekend, the Mavericks swept (4-2 W – 6-1 W) the Michigan Tech Huskies at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato. This weekend, the Mavericks are off.
5.   Denver University – (15-9-5, WCHA 10-7-5) – This past weekend, the Denver Pioneers were off. This weekend, the Pioneers entertain the University of North Dakota in a pivotal two game series at the Magness Arena in Denver, Colorado.
6. Nebraska Omaha – (18-12-2, WCHA 14-8-2) – This past weekend, the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks swept (3-0 – 6-5 O.T. W) the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves at Sullivan Arena. This weekend, the Mavericks have an exhibition game against the U-18 team.
7.  Wisconsin – (13-10-7, WCHA 10-7-7) – This past weekend, the Wisconsin Badgers split (2-3 L – 3-2 W) their weekend series with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Badgers lost at the Kohl Center on Friday night, before winning on Sunday afternoon at the Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field.  This weekend, the Badgers entertain non-conference foe Penn State at the Kohl Center.
8.  Colorado College – (11-14-5, WCHA 8-10-4) – This past weekend, the Colorado College Tigers were off. This weekend, the Tigers entertain the Saint Cloud State Huskies at the World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
9. Minnesota Duluth – (10-16-4, WCHA 8-12-4) – This past weekend, the Bulldogs took a single point (2-4 L – 1-1 T) in their weekend series with the Bemidji State Beavers at the Sanford Center. This weekend, the Bulldogs travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota to play the Gophers. The Bulldogs are winless in their last six games and have only won one game in their last eight games 1-6-1.
10. Michigan Tech – (10-16-4, WCHA 6-14-4) – This past week, the Huskies beat (8-2) the Northern Michigan Wildcats in Houghton, Michigan on Tuesday night in a nonconference tilt, and then this past weekend, the Huskies were swept (2-4 L – 1-6 L) in their weekend series with Minnesota State Mavericks at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato. This weekend, the Huskies are off.
11. Bemidji State – (6-17-7, WCHA 5-13-6) – This past weekend, the Beavers took (4-2 W – 1-1 T) three points from the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs at the Sanford Center. This weekend the Beavers are off. The Beavers got their first win since December 15, 2012 when they beat the Denver Pioneers 5-1 on December 12, 2012
12. Alaska Anchorage – (4-19-7, WCHA 2-18-6) – This past weekend, Seawolves were swept (0-3 L – 5-6 O.T. L) by the Omaha Mavericks at the Sullivan arena. This weekend, the Seawolves are off.
Taylor Seibel’s WCHA Power Rankings 
1. St. Cloud State – (18-11-1, 15-6-1 WCHA) – The Huskies were off this past weekend.  St. Cloud also received some help from Wisconsin on Sunday, to give the Huskies a bit of breathing room in the race for the MacNaughton Cup.  SCSU’s magic number is now 9 points to clinch a share of the Cup.  The Huskies will look to reduce that number this weekend as they travel to Colorado Springs to take on the CC Tigers.
2. Minnesota – (20-6-4, 12-6-4 WCHA) – The Gophers played very well on Friday in Madison at the Kohl Center, earning a 3-2 victory, but were edged out by the Badgers on Sunday in Chicago.  The loss hurt the Gophers chances at defending the Cup, but Minnesota fans should keep in mind that bigger prizes are still within their reach.  Minnesota squares off against in-state rival Minnesota Duluth at Mariucci Arena this weekend in WCHA play.
3. North Dakota – (16-8-6, 11-5-6 WCHA) – North Dakota was off this past weekend.  UND still has an outside shot at winning the conference, but it will likely take a perfect run over their next 3 weekends.  Given Coach Hakstol’s track record in the months of February and March, that is certainly a doable task.  It will all start next weekend, as North Dakota travels to the Mile High City to take on the University of Denver in a renewal of a bitter rivalry.
4. Nebraska Omaha – (18-12-2, 14-8-2 WCHA) – The Mavericks of Omaha used some late game heroics to sweep Alaska Anchorage this weekend, temporarily vaulting UNO up to second place in the conference.  The Mavs sit just a point behind St. Cloud in the race for the MacNaughton, but they have played 2 more games.  That will change after this upcoming weekend, as Omaha squares off against the USA Under-18 Team in an exhibition on Friday.
5. Minnesota State – (20-9-3, 14-9-1 WCHA) – What a difference a year makes!  Predicted by many to finish in the bottom quarter of the conference, the Mavs of Mankato have been tremendous this season.  Following a weekend sweep of Michigan Tech, the Mavs are sitting in third place in the conference, albeit having played two more games than both Minnesota and North Dakota, each of whom are just one point behind.  Next weekend, Mankato is off.
6. Wisconsin – (13-10-7, 10-7-7 WCHA) – The Badgers hosted arguably the best team in college hockey this weekend, and managed to skate away with a split.  Wisconsin has been playing very well of late, losing only twice in conference play since the beginning of December.  The streak has the Badgers in position to make a charge for home ice in the first round and a top-half finish in the WCHA.  However, Wisconsin will take a step away from WCHA play next weekend, as the Badgers host Penn State in non-conference action.
7. Denver – (15-9-5, 10-7-5 WCHA) – The Pioneers were off this weekend.  Denver currently sits just outside the top half of the conference, but they have 2 games in hand over Wisconsin, who sits just ahead of the Pios.  DU is capable of beating anyone in the country, or losing to anyone in the country.  That could come in very handy over the next two weekends, as Denver hosts North Dakota this weekend, and travels to Minnesota the following weekend.
8. Colorado College – (11-14-5, 8-10-4 WCHA) – Colorado College was off this weekend.  The Tigers have been on a roller coaster of ride this season in conference play, as they started the season on fire, cooled off tremendously, and now are playing solid, but only have 1 win and 3 ties in their last 4 games.  The road doesn’t get any easier, as WCHA leading St. Cloud State comes to town next weekend to take on CC in a critical series for both squads
9. Minnesota Duluth – (10-16-4, 8-12-4 WCHA) – The Bulldogs were only able to gain 3 points against in-state rival Bemidji State this weekend, effectively eliminating the Bulldogs from home ice contention.  Minnesota Duluth is talented, but very young.  Four of Duluth’s Top Six scorers are underclassmen, and their number one goalie is also a freshman.  This is not likely to be Duluth’s year, but they still have the opportunity to play spoiler next weekend at Minnesota.
10. Bemidji State – (6-17-7, 5-13-6 WCHA) – The Beavers surprised many this weekend, as they took three points against Minnesota Duluth.  Their victory on Friday was their first Friday victory of the season, and their first win since December 15th.  Bemidji is off next weekend, and they have a brutal finish to conference play, as they travel to North Dakota in two weeks, and then host Minnesota the following week.
11. Michigan Tech – (10-16-4, 6-14-4 WCHA) – The Huskies traveled to Mankato this weekend, and they were swept by the Mavericks in convincing fashion.  It has been a disappointing year for Tech, as many, including this writer, believed they had what it took to be a home-ice team.  The Huskies have next weekend off to lick their wounds before traveling out to St. Cloud to take on the Huskies March 1st and 2nd.
12. Alaska Anchorage – (4-19-7, 2-18-6 WCHA) – The Seawolves nearly upset Nebraska Omaha on Saturday, but fell in OT.  The loss meant getting swept at home for only the third time this season.  UAA knew this season would likely be a difficult one, and it has been.  The Seawolves have next weekend off to prepare for in-state rival Alaska in the Governor’s Cup.

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