WCHA Power Rankings — January 15

ZACK FRIEDLI

1. Minnesota Duluth (No change in rankings) – UMD lost for the first time since the second weekend of the year on Saturday, but that isn’t enough to bump the Bulldogs down in the rankings. UMD will get back to streaking in the next couple weekends. Last week: Split @ Nebraska-Omaha (6-2, 1-3). This week: vs. Alabama-Huntsville.

2. Minnesota (No change) – After losing in heart-breaking fashion on Friday, the Gophers responded well with a blowout win against North Dakota the next night. Nick Bjugstad and Kent Patterson played well, but the best sign from Saturday was the secondary scoring that put Minnesota over the hump. Last week: Split @ North Dakota (1-2, 6-2). This week: vs. Colorado College.

3. North Dakota (No change) – UND didn’t exactly capitalize on its chances this weekend, but they found a way to win on Friday in a close game. Saturday night was full of poor passing, terrible puck control and shaky goaltending. Execution must be better for this team to be successful, because the chances are there. Last week: Split vs. Minnesota (2-1, 2-6). This week: @ St. Cloud State.

4. Nebraska-Omaha (No change) – The Mavericks were streak-busters this weekend, thanks mostly to some rock-solid goalie play in the series finale. The UNO first line is carrying this team, but that just isn’t going to cut it in the playoffs. The guys not named Terry Broadhurst and Matt White must find the back of the net. Last week: Split vs. Minnesota Duluth (2-6, 3-1). This week: @ Minnesota State.

5. Denver (No change) – A sweep at home is a good step in the right direction. Drew Shore and Jason Zucker went absolutely bonkers this weekend, and, if those two keep the pedal to the floor, watch out. Last week: Sweep vs. Bemidji State (6-3, 3-2). This week: Off.

6. Colorado College (Up 1 spot) – Coming back late in Saturday’s game was impressive, but the Tigers managed to let the game slip away in overtime. Again, consistency is such a problem with this team right now. CC must bring better efforts to the rink each night. Last week: Split vs. St. Cloud State (3-1, 4-5). This week: @ Minnesota.

7. St. Cloud State (Up 2 spots) – A resilient win on Saturday night gives the Huskies another win against a good team, and it makes one think that this team isn’t as bad as its record would indicate. Points every weekend is what SCSU needs, and a split on the road definitely isn’t the worst thing in the world. Last week: Split @ Colorado College (1-3, 5-4). This week: vs. North Dakota.

8. Bemidji State (Down 2 spots) – The high-powered attacks of the conference’s better teams are proving time and again to be too much for the Beavers. In Denver, BSU showed us once more how much it struggles in situations where the Bemidji systems don’t fit the mold of the contests. Last week: Swept @ Denver (3-6, 2-3). This week: Off.

9. Wisconsin (Down 1 spot) – After its first win on the road this season, Wisconsin went out on Saturday and showed everyone why it’s not good away from Kohl Center – UW is young and has a serious shortage of depth. That will happen when a team loses pretty much every good player to the pros on a yearly basis. Last week: Split @ Minnesota State (4-0, 0-3). This week: vs. Alaska-Anchorage.

10. Michigan Tech (No change) – A giant sweep at home should get the Huskies refocused on the attainable goal of a home-ice playoff series. The focus will be needed, too, as MTU plays one of the toughest remaining schedules in the league. Last week: Sweep vs. Alaska-Anchorage (6-2, 6-4). This week: vs. Northern Michigan (Saturday only).

11. Minnesota State (Up 1 spot) – MSU won’t jump into the top-half of the league, but it does have some very winnable games coming up in the next month. If they don’t want to travel to Duluth or Minneapolis in the playoffs, the Mavericks better take advantage. Last week: Split vs. Wisconsin (0-4, 3-0). This week: vs. Nebraska-Omaha.

12. Alaska-Anchorage (Down 1 spot) – After this weekend’s trip to Madison, the Seawolves get to play all but one of their remaining series in Alaska. Unfortunately, UAA only has one win up there in its last six tries. Last week: Swept @ Michigan Tech (2-6, 4-6). This week: @ Wisconsin.

ERIC BURTON

1.  Minnesota Duluth – (11-3-2 WCHA, 15-4-3) The Bulldogs split with the UNO Mavericks (6-2 W, 3-1 L) in Omaha, Nebraska. The Bulldogs return home to play the University of Alabama Huntsville Chargers.

2. Minnesota – (12-4-0 WCHA, 16-8-1) Minnesota split with North Dakota (1-2 L, W 6-2 W). This weekend the Gophers entertain the Colorado College Tigers at Mariucci Arena. Minnesota is 7-7-1 in their last 15 games.

3.  Denver – (8-5-3 WCHA, 13-8-3). This past weekend the Pioneers swept the Bemidji State Beavers (6-3 W, 3-2 W) in Denver Colorado. This weekend the Pioneers are off.

4. Colorado College – (13-8-1 WCHA, 10-6-0) The Tigers split their weekend series with the Saint Cloud State Huskies (3-1 W, 3-4 O.T. L). This weekend the Tigers travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota to play the Gophers.

5.  Nebraska-Omaha – (8-5-3 WCHA, 11-9-4) The Mavericks split with top ranked Minnesota Duluth this past weekend in Omaha, Nebraska (2-6 L, 3-1 W). The Mavericks will travel to play the Purple Mavericks of Minnesota State University Minnesota.

6.  North Dakota – (8-8-0, 12-9-2) The University of North Dakota split with Minnesota this past weekend (2-1 W, 6-2 L). This weekend, North Dakota travels to Saint Cloud to play their rival the SCSU Huskies. The University of North Dakota has been hit by the Injury Ninja and the following players are “currently out” of the line up for UND;  Rocco Grimaldi (knee), Derek Forbort (unknown), Brendan O’Donnell  (shoulder) and Derek Rodwell (shoulder, season ending).

7.  Michigan Tech – (8-7-1 WCHA, 11-11-1) The Michigan Tech Huskies swept the University of Anchorage Alaska Seawolves (6-2, 6-4) in Houghton, Michigan.  This weekend the Michigan Tec Huskies entertain their cross state rivals from Northern Michigan.

8. St. Cloud State – (6-7-3 WCHA, 9-11-4) The Huskies split their weekend series with the Colorado College Tigers (1-3 L, 4-3 O.T. W). The Huskies entertain the North Dakota this weekend at the National Hockey Center.

9. Wisconsin – (5-9-2 WCHA, 10-10-2) The Wisconsin Badgers have an impressive 9-4-1 record at home and after splitting with Minnesota State Mankato on the road this past weekend, the Badgers now have an unimpressive 1-6-1 record away from the Kohl Center. With the weekend split in Mankato, the Badgers have never swept the Minnesota State Mavericks in Mankato. This weekend the Badgers entertain the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves.

10. Bemidji State – (5-9-2 WCHA, 11-11-2) The Beavers were swept by Denver University in Denver (3-6 L, 2-3 L).  The Beavers are off this weekend.

11. Alaska-Anchorage – (3-12-1 WCHA, 6-12-2) The Seawolves were swept by the Michigan Tech Huskies (2-6 L, 4-6 L) in Houghton Michigan this past weekend. This weekend the Seawolves travel to Madison, Wisconsin to play the Badgers.

12.  Minnesota State – (3-12-1 WCHA, 7-16-1) The Minnesota State Mavericks split their series with the Wisconsin Badgers (0-4 L, 3-0 W). With the win the Mavericks broke a 10 game winless streak in WCHA play, dating back to November 11th, 2011. Extending a streak; after this weekend’s split against the Badgers, the Mavericks have never been swept by Wisconsin Badgers in Mankato, Minnesota. This weekend the Mavericks entertain the Red Mavericks from Nebraska Omaha at the Verizon Wireless Center.

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4 Responses to “WCHA Power Rankings — January 15”

  1. A
    January 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    UND at 3 is laughable. No team in the last 14 years has won the WCHA with more than seven losses, and they already have eight. Based on skill, health, and the resulting upside I can see them at 5 at best.

  2. Zack Friedli
    January 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    No one said they were going to win the league. Having them at 3 is based off what they’ve done lately. Compared to UNO, Denver and CC, North Dakota has played better hockey in the last month and change.

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