WCHA Power Rankings — February 21

Zack Friedli

1. Minnesota Duluth (Second in WCHA, 32 points; No. 5 in PairWise) – The Bulldogs were less than three minutes away from a sweep in Mankato this weekend, but the Mavericks rallied to score twice in 10 seconds to salvage a tie. While three points are tough to come by on the road, the missing point might come back to hurt UMD. Last week: Won/tied @ Minnesota State (4-2, 4-4). This week: vs. Colorado College.

2. Minnesota (First in WCHA, 34 points; Tied at No. 8 in PairWise) – The Gophers dominated Bemidji State this weekend, showing plenty of motivation to not only lock down the MacNaughton Cup, but to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament. Minnesota might have done both with the sweep. Last week: Sweep vs. Bemidji State (3-0, 4-1). This week: @ Nebraska-Omaha.

3. Denver (Third in WCHA, 30 points; Tied at No. 11 in PairWise) – Coach George Gwozdecky wasn’t happy with his squad’s performance on Saturday night, and for good reason. The Pioneers had maybe their worst defensive effort of the year against the Badgers in the series finale, missing out on two huge points. Last week: Split @ Wisconsin (3-0, 2-5). This week: vs. North Dakota.

4. North Dakota (Tied for fourth in WCHA, 27 points; No. 14 in PairWise) – North Dakota jumped up a spot in the PairWise, clawed its way to fourth in the conference and got great goaltending from Brad Eidsness. With the way the year started, all three are pretty impressive. Last week: Won/tied vs. Michigan Tech (4-2, 1-1). This week: @ Denver.

5. Colorado College (Tied for fourth in WCHA, 27 points; No. 19 in PairWise) – The Tigers are hangin’ around, but barely. CC hasn’t won back-to-back games since December, and its slid down the PairWise rankings because of it. A trip to Duluth this weekend doesn’t make things any easier. Last week: Split vs. Nebraska-Omaha (4-3, 3-5). This week: @ Minnesota Duluth.

6. Nebraska-Omaha (Tied for fourth in WCHA, 27 points; Tied at No. 23 in PairWise) – Much like Colorado College, UNO is inconsistent, and its tournament hopes are now all but gone. There is still a decent chance the Mavericks will be traveling for the first round of the WCHA playoffs, too. Last week: Split @ Colorado College (3-4, 5-3). This week: vs. Minnesota.

7. Bemidji State (Ninth in WCHA, 21 points; Tied at No. 23 in PairWise) – It will take a small miracle for the Beavers to clinch a home-ice spot, and, with the way they played this weekend, one has to doubt Bemidji State’s ability to get magical. Last week: Swept @ Minnesota (0-3, 1-4). This week; vs. Wisconsin.

8. Michigan Tech (Seventh in WCHA, 24 points; Not ranked in PairWise) – Things are starting to unravel in Houghton, and the Huskies now look less like the offensive dynamo they were a few weeks ago and more like the Tech teams of old. Sixth place is still within reach, though, offering MTU the opportunity to do something it hasn’t in a while – play at home in the playoffs. Last week: Lost/tied @ North Dakota (2-4, 1-1). This week: vs. St. Cloud State.

9. St. Cloud State (Eighth in WCHA, 23 points; Tied at No. 25 in PairWise) – The Huskies’ loss on Friday night makes them the only team to lose more than once to Anchorage this season, something that was surely on their minds in the beat down they put on the Seawolves on Saturday. Last week: Split vs. Alaska-Anchorage (2-3, 8-3). This week: @ Michigan Tech.

10. Wisconsin (Tied for tenth in WCHA, 18 points; No. 32 in PairWise) – Justin Schultz and Mark Zengerle broke out of their slumps in a big way on Saturday night, sending the Kohl Center fans home happy in the final game they’ll see this year. Last week: Split vs. Denver (0-3, 5-2). This week: @ Bemidji State.

11. Minnesota State (Tied at tenth in WCHA, 18 points; Not ranked in PairWise) – The Mavericks pulled out an improbable tie on Saturday night to avoid going 0-4 against UMD in the regular season. With only one series to play, its starting to look like Minnesota State will get another shot to find a win against the Bulldogs in a few weeks. Last week: Lost/tied vs. Minnesota Duluth (2-4, 4-4). This week: Off.

12. Alaska-Anchorage (Last in WCHA, 11 points; Not ranked in PairWise) – The Seawolves will return to Alaska to close out the regular season, beginning with this weekend’s Governor’s Cup. Getting its hands on a trophy will give UAA something to smile about this year. Last week: Split @ St. Cloud State (3-2, 3-8). This week: vs. Alaska Friday, @ Alaska Saturday (Governor’s Cup).

Eric Burton

1. Minnesota Duluth – (14-6-4 WCHA, 20-7-5) The Bulldogs took three of four points (4-2 W, 4-4 T) from the Minnesota State Mavericks this past weekend in Mankato. This weekend the Bulldogs entertain the Colorado College Tigers.
2. Minnesota – (17-7-0 WCHA, 21-11-1) The Gophers swept (3-0 W, 4-1 W) the Bemidji State Beavers this past weekend in Minneapolis. This weekend the Gophers travel to Omaha Nebraska to play theUNO Mavericks.
3. Denver – (13-7-4 WCHA, 18-10-4) The Pioneers Split (3-0 W, 2-5 L) their weekend series with the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison. This weekend the Pioneers return home to play the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
3. North Dakota – (13-10-1, 17-11-3) The Fighting Sioux took three of four points (4-2 W, 1-1 T) from the Michigan Tech Huskies this weekend in Grand Forks. This weekend the Fighting Sioux travel to Denver to play the Pioneers. With a sweep of the Pioneers and UND would pass the Pioneers in the standings.
5. Colorado College – (13-10-1 WCHA, 16-12-2) This Tigers split (4-3 W, 3-5 L) their weekend series with the Mavericks in Colorado Springs. This weekend the Tigers travel to Duluth to play the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs.
6. Nebraska-Omaha – (11-5-5 WCHA, 14-12-6) The Mavericks split (3-4 L, 5-3 W) their weekend series with the C.C. Tigers in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This weekend the Mavericks entertain the Gophers in Omaha.
7. Michigan Tech – (10-10-4 WCHA, 13-15-1) The Tech Huskies took one point (2-4 L, 1-1 T) in their weekend series with the Fighting Sioux in Grand Forks. The Tech Huskies entertain the Saint Cloud State Huskies in Houghton.
8. St. Cloud State – (10-11-3 WCHA, 13-15-4) The Huskies split (2-3 L O.T., 8-3 W) their weekend series with the Anchorage Alaska Seawolves in Saint Cloud.   This weekend the Saint Cloud State Huskies make the trek to Houghton Michigan to play the Huskies.
9. Bemidji State – (9-12-3 WCHA, 15-14-3) The Beavers were swept (0-3 L, 1-4 L) in Minneapolis by the Minnesota Gophers. The Beavers look to get back on track when they entertain the Wisconsin Badgers in Bemidji. The Badgers are 1-8-1 on the road in ten games this season.
10. Wisconsin – (8-14-2 WCHA, 13-15-2) the Wisconsin Badgers split their weekend series (0-3 L, 5-2 W) with the Denver Pioneers in Madison and broke a five game losing streak with a victory over the Pioneers on Saturday night. This week the Badgers take their unimpressive 1-8-1 road record to Bemidji where they will play the Bemidji State Beavers.
11. Minnesota State – (8-16-2 WCHA, 12-20-2) The Mavericks took one point (2-4 L, 4-4 T) in their weekend series with Minnesota Duluth. This weekend the Mavericks are idle.
12.  Alaska-Anchorage – (5-20-1 WCHA, 8-20-2) The Seawolves split (3-2 W O.T., 3-8 L) their weekend series with the Saint Cloud State Huskies in Saint Cloud. This weekend the Seawolves have a home and home series with their cross-state rival the University of Alaska Nanooks in the Governor’s Cup.
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