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).