1. Minnesota Gophers – (13-3-3, WCHA 6-3-3) – This past weekend, the Minnesota Gophers beat (4-0 W, 8-1 W) Air Force Academy and Boston College in their annual Mariucci Classic. The Gophers are off till January 8th when they play the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a single nonconference game.
2. University of North Dakota – (10-5-3, WCHA 7-2-3) – The Green and White have been off during the Christmas break and return to action this weekend against Holy Cross at Ralph Englestad Arena.
3. Denver University – (10-6-3, WCHA 7-4-3) – This past weekend, the Denver Pioneers beat (6-0 W) the Boston University Terriers in the Hall of Fame Game in Denver. The Pioneers snapped a horrid streak and now have a single win in their last nine games (1-5-3). This weekend, the Pioneers entertain ECAC foe Cornell in an important two game series in Magness Arena.
4. Minnesota State Mankato – (12-6-2, WCHA 8-6-0) – This past weekend, the Mavericks won (3-1 W – 3-1 W) the UConn Hockey Classic in Storrs, Connecticut. This weekend, The Mavericks entertain Hockey East Foe Providence at the Verizon Wireless Center, in Mankato. While the Mavericks schedule might not be all that impressive on paper – they’re 43rd in SOS – they have won nine of 10 games and would be a bubble team for the NCAA tourney if it was selection Sunday. It will be interesting to see how the second half of their season shakes out. The Mavericks toughest games during the second half of the season are against Minnesota and North Dakota and only play 7 out of the next 16 games away from the Verizon Wireless Center.
5. Saint Cloud State – (12-8-0, WCHA 9-5-0) – This past weekend, the Huskies had an unimpressive split (3-4 L – 2-1 w) ECAC foe Rensselaer at the National Hockey Center. This weekend, the Huskies entertain CCHA foe Northern Michigan.
6. Nebraska Omaha – (11-8-1, WCHA 7-4-1) – This past weekend, the Mavericks were swept (4-5 L – 1-3 L) by the Quinnipiac Bobcats. This weekend, the Mavericks entertain the Colorado College Tigers in a pivotal two game WCHA series, at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
7. Colorado College – (8-10-2, WCHA 5-6-1) – The Colorado College have been off during the Christmas break. This weekend, the Tigers travel to Omaha, Nebraska to play the Mavericks in an important two game WCHA series.
8. Michigan Tech – (6-10-3, WCHA 3-8-3) – This past weekend, the Huskies won (4-0 W – 4-0 W) the Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit Michigan. The Huskies snapped a seven game winless streak. This weekend, the Huskies are off.
9. Wisconsin – (4-7-5, WCHA 2-5-5) – The Wisconsin Badgers have been off during the Christmas Break, This weekend, the Badgers travel to Anchorage, Alaska to play the UAA Seawolves.
10. Minnesota Duluth – (7-10-3, WCHA 5-6-3) – This past weekend, the UMD Bulldogs took fourth place (0-1 L – 2-6 L) in the Florida College losing to Maine and Ferris State. With their title this weekend, Maine has won the Florida College Classic seven times since 2000. This weekend, the Bulldogs are off.
11. Bemidji State – (5-9-3, WCHA 4-7-3) – Last night, the Bemidji State Beavers lost (3-4) to Massachusetts in the first round of the Ledyard Bank Classic in Hanover, NH. Tonight, the Beavers play New Hampshire in the third place game of the Ledyard Bank Classic. This Weekend, the Beavers play a nonconference series against CCHA foe Western Michigan.
12. Alaska Anchorage – (3-9-4, WCHA 1-8-3) – The Seawolves have been off during the Christmas Break. This weekend, the Seawolves 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 has had several weeks off since their last game action, but going into the break, nobody was playing better hockey than UND. Next week, Holy Cross comes to the Ralph to take on North Dakota in Non-Conference play.
2. Minnesota – (13-3-3, 6-3-3 WCHA) – Minnesota came up big in the Mariucci Classic this weekend, knocking off Air Force before destroying #1 Boston College 8-1. The Gophers have gradually improved throughout the season, and appear to be on the verge of becoming the offensive juggernaut that many thought they would be at the beginning of the season. Minnesota takes on Notre Dame next Tuesday in a key non-conference game.
3. St. Cloud State – (12-8-0, 9-5-0 WCHA) – The Huskies had some struggles against RPI this weekend in a split at home. St. Cloud State should be in the mix for the MacNaughton in February and March, and they look to get back on track next weekend against Northern Michigan.
4. Denver – (10-6-3, 7-4-3 WCHA) – DU had been struggling mightily before Christmas, but they responded in a big way this weekend in a 6-0 trouncing of BU. Juho Olkinuora has been on an impressive streak of late, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Denver finds their way back into the spotlight under Olkinuora’s guidance. Next weekend, DU hosts Cornell in a critical non-conference series.
5. Minnesota State – (12-6-2, 8-6-0 WCHA) – Mankato was able to win the UConn Hockey Classic this weekend, beating both Brown and UConn by 3-1 scores. The Mavs have won 9 of their last 10, and while their schedule has not been very impressive, they’ll have plenty of opportunities to show that they are for real in the second half of the season. Providence comes to Mankato next weekend in non-conference action.
6. Nebraska Omaha – (11-8-1, 7-4-1 WCHA) – The Mavericks of Omaha had a disappointing weekend, getting swept at Quinnipiac. Omaha has the talent to be a top 4 or 5 team in the WCHA, but they need to work on their consistency. Next weekend, UNO hosts Colorado College in WCHA action.
7. Colorado College – (8-10-2, 5-6-1 WCHA) – The Tigers have not played since getting swept in St. Cloud a few weeks ago. CC has a potent offense, but their goalie play and defense will need to improve if CC wants to be host a playoff series this season. The Tigers travel to Omaha to take on the Mavs.
8. Michigan Tech – (6-10-3, 3-8-3 WCHA) – The Huskies completed a very impressive weekend of play in keeping both of their opponents off the scoreboard en route to winning their first Great Lakes Invitational since 1981. Tech struggled in the first half of the season, but have a reasonable schedule to make a second half run and content for home ice. Next weekend, Tech is off.
9. Minnesota Duluth – (7-10-3, 5-6-3 WCHA) – The Bulldogs struggled in their holiday performance, losing games to Maine and Ferris State, scoring only 2 goals on the weekend. Duluth will need to get their offense going in the second half if they want to have a shot for home ice. Next weekend, Duluth is off.
10. Wisconsin – (4-7-5, 2-5-5 WCHA) – Wisconsin did not play during the holidays. Wisconsin had been playing significantly better hockey heading into the holidays. If they can continue that play, they may be able to salvage the season. Next weekend, the Badgers make the trek up to Anchorage to take on the Seawolves in WCHA play.
11. Bemidji State – (5-9-3, 4-7-3 WCHA) – The Beavers are currently playing in the Ledyard Bank 3rd place game against UNH as I write this, but it does not appear that they will walk away from the weekend with a victory. Next weekend, BSU squares off against Western Michigan.
12. Alaska Anchorage – (3-9-4, 1-8-3 WCHA) – The Seawolves did not play during the holidays. UAA has shown flashes of greatness, but have not been able to consistently outplay their opponents. Next weekend, UAA hosts Wisconsin in WCHA action.