Here are this week’s WCHA Power Rankings…
1. Minnesota (First in WCHA, 30 points; Tied at No. 7 in the PairWise) – The Gophers aren’t scoring like they did at the start of the year, but the defensive part of their game has been rock-solid lately. Minnesota finds ways to win games, too, making it the scariest team in the country right now. Last week: Off. This week: @ Denver.
2. Minnesota Duluth (Second in WCHA, 27 points; No. 5 in the PairWise) – UMD has had a rough go of it after it saw its 17 game unbeaten streak end a couple of weekends ago. The Bulldogs’ biggest problem is their tendency to sleepwalk through a period or two each night, something that they did at times last season, too. Last week: Split @ Alaska-Anchorage (4-1, 2-3).
3. North Dakota (Tied for fifth in WCHA, 22 points; Tied at No. 15 in the PairWise) – UND has only lost three times since November, but people still seem to think it’s the same UND teams we saw at the start of the year. North Dakota get’s a great chance to show if it’s a contender or pretender this weekend in Duluth. Last week: Off. This week: @ Minnesota Duluth.
4. Colorado College (Third in WCHA, 25 points; Tied at No. 15 in the PairWise) – The Tigers haven’t exactly found the consistency they have been looking for all year, but they are definitely playing better since losing to St. Cloud State in overtime in mid January. Now, if Colorado College can build on its play of late and sneak into the NCAA tournament, would anyone be shocked if they pulled an upset or two? Last week: Won/tied vs. Denver (2-0, 2-2). This week: @ Bemidji State.
5. Denver (Fourth in WCHA, 24 points; No. 17 in the PairWise) – Denver better start beating teams other than Bemidji State, Alaska-Anchorage and Union, or it won’t make the national tournament. The last time DU won against an upper-tier team was November. With Minnesota coming to town this weekend, the Pioneers have a pair of chances for a signature win. Last week: Lost/tied vs. Colorado College (0-2, 2-2). This week: vs. Minnesota.
6. Michigan Tech (Tied for fifth in WCHA, 22 points; Not ranked in the PairWise) – If the Huskies would have shown up for the first period of their games the past two Fridays, they’d be riding a four-game winning streak. MTU hasn’t, but it’s shown that it can score, and score in bunches, making it a dangerous team to play in the postseason. Last week: Split @ Minnesota State (3-5, 7-3). This week: vs. Nebraska-Omaha.
7. St. Cloud State (Eighth in WCHA, 21 points; No. 26 in the PairWise) – No one knows what’s going to happen night after night with the Huskies. Yeah, SCSU sits just a point out of a fifth-place tie, but does it really have a chance to make some noise in the postseason? Signs point to no. Last week: Sweep @ Wisconsin (5-1, 2-1). This week: Off.
8. Bemidji State (Ninth in WCHA, 17 points; No. 28 in the PairWise) – Bemidji State is a lot like the other Minnesota state school located north of the Twin Cities – a good team here and there, but not a group that will be playing deep into March. Last week: Won/tied @ Nebraska-Omaha (1-1, 6-4). This week: vs. Colorado College.
9. Nebraska-Omaha (Tied for fifth in WCHA, 22 points; No. 27 in the PairWise) – Omaha is so close to a home-ice spot for the first round of the WCHA playoffs, but they probably won’t get one. With it’s remaining schedule, plus the way North Dakota and Michigan Tech are playing, the Mavericks will be on the road in round one. Last week: Lost/tied vs. Bemidji State (1-1, 4-6). This week: @ Michigan Tech.
10. Wisconsin (Tenth in WCHA, 16 points; Not ranked in the PairWise) – The Badgers have reached the lowest point of their season, and from here on out it’s really about gaining experience for the young guys not named Barnes, Mersch and Zengerle. Last week: Swept vs. St. Cloud State (1-5, 1-2). This week: Off.
11. Minnesota State (Eleventh in WCHA, 13 points; Not ranked in the PairWise) – The Mavericks are winning a lot more often than they did in the first half, and a lot of that has to do with the bodies they’ve gotten back in the lineup. When one really thinks about it, Minnesota State probably isn’t as bad as its record would indicate, but it’s just too late in the year for any drastic improvements. Last week: Split vs. Michigan Tech (5-3, 3-7). This week: @ Alaska-Anchorage.
12. Alaska-Anchorage (Last in WCHA, 9 points; Not ranked in the PairWise) – The Seawolves ended an eight-game losing streak against UMD on Saturday night, and good for them. UAA should win another game or two in the regular season before it travels to Minneapolis or Duluth for a pair of losses in the opening round of the WCHA playoffs. Last week: Split vs. Minnesota Duluth (1-4, 3-2). This week: vs. Minnesota State.
1. Minnesota – (15-5-0 WCHA, 19-9-1). The Minnesota Gophers were idle this past weekend. This weekend the Gophers travel to Denver to play the Pioneers.
Tied-2. Minnesota Duluth – (12-5-3 WCHA, 18-6-4) The Bulldogs split with the UAA Seawolves (4-1 W, 2-3 L) this past weekend in Anchorage, Alaska. This weekend the Bulldogs entertain UND at Amsoil Arena. Since the 2004-05 season, UMD has a 6-17-2 record against UND.
Tied-2. Colorado College – (12-7-1 WCHA, 15-9-2) The Tigers took three of four points (2-0 W, 2-2 T) against their cross state rivals the Denver Pioneers. This weekend the Tigers travel to Bemidji to play the Beavers at the Sanford Center.
Tied-4. Denver – (10-6-4 WCHA, 15-9-4). The Denver Pioneers took one point (0-2 L, 2-2T) in a home and home series with the C.C. Tigers. This weekend the Pioneers entertain the Minnesota Gophers.
Tied-4. North Dakota – (11-9-0, 15-10-2) The University of North Dakota was idle last weekend. This weekend the University of North Dakota makes the drive down highway two to play the high flying Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. Since the 2004-05 season, UND has a 17-6-2 record against UMD.
6. Michigan Tech – (10-8-2 WCHA, 13-13-2) The Michigan Tech Huskies split with the Minnesota State Mavericks this past weekend (3-5 L, 7-3 W) in Mankato, Minnesota. This weekend the Huskies entertain the UNO Mavericks.
Tied-7. Nebraska-Omaha – (9-7-4 WCHA, 12-11-5) The Mavericks took one point against the (1-1 T, 4-6 L) Bemidji State Beavers. The UNO Mavericks have won a grand total of one game in 10 tries, over the course of two seasons against the Beavers 1-6-3. This includes a record of 1-1-2 this season. This weekend the UNO Mavericks travel to Houghton, Michigan to play the Tech Huskies.
Tied-7. Bemidji State – (7-10-3 WCHA, 13-12-3) The Beavers took three of four points this past weekend series with the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks (1-1 T, 6-4 W) in Omaha, Nebraska. The Beavers have a 6-1-3 record against the UNO Mavericks in 10 games, over the course of two seasons, against the Mavericks. This weekend, the Beavers entertain the C.C. Tigers in the Sanford Center.
9. St. Cloud State – (9-10-3 WCHA, 12-14-4) The Huskies wept the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison this past weekend (5-1 W, 2-1 W). The depleted Huskies only dressed 11 healthy forwards on Saturday night. Huskies junior goalie Mike Lee returned from a hip injury last weekend. This weekend he was stellar in net stopping 72/74 shots this weekend against the Wisconsin Badgers. Lee has only given up four goals in three games since his return from injury.
10. Wisconsin – (7-13-2 WCHA, 12-14-2) The Wisconsin Badgers were swept by the Saint Cloud State Huskies this past weekend (1-5 l, 1-2 L) at the Kohl Center. The Badgers are idle next weekend.
11. Minnesota State – (6-15-1 WCHA, 10-19-1) The Minnesota State Mavericks split their weekend series Michigan Tech Huskies (5-3 W, 3-7 L). The Mavericks travel to Anchorage, Alaska to play the UAA Seawolves.
12. Alaska-Anchorage – (4-17-1 WCHA, 7-17-2) The Seawolves split with the UMD Bulldogs at home (1-4 L, 3-2 W). With their win against the Bulldogs on Saturday night the Seawolves halted an 8 game losing streak. Before last night’s win the Seawolves had not won a game since December 9, 2011. This weekend the Seawolves entertain the Minnesota State Mavericks.