Thursday, November 24, 2011

2011-2012 WCHA Power Rankings & Tiers: Week 7

Here are this week's WCHA Power Rankings and Tiers:

WCHA Results, Week 7:

Alaska-Anchorage - Win, Loss vs. Michigan Tech
Bemidji State - Loss, Win vs. North Dakota
Colorado College - Win, Win vs. Wisconsin
Denver - Win, Tie vs. Nebraska-Omaha
Michigan Tech - Loss, Win @ Alaska-Anchorage
Minnesota - Loss, Win in Home-and-Home vs. St. Cloud State
Minnesota-Duluth - Win, Win vs. Minnesota State
Minnesota State - Loss, Loss @ Minnesota-Duluth
Nebraska Omaha - Loss, Tie @ Denver
North Dakota - Win, Loss @ Bemidji State
St. Cloud State - Win, Loss in Home-and-Home vs. Minnesota
Wisconsin - Loss, Loss @ Colorado College

WCHA Standings:

1. Minnesota - 8-2-0 (11-3-0 Overall), 16 Points
2. Minnesota-Duluth - 7-2-1 (9-3-2 Overall), 15 Points
3. Nebraska-Omaha - 5-3-2 (6-6-2 Overall), 12 Points
4. Denver - 4-2-3 (5-3-3 Overall), 11 Points
4. Michigan Tech - 5-4-1 (7-4-1 Overall), 11 Points
6. Colorado College - 5-2-0 (7-2-0 Overall), 10 Points
7. St. Cloud State - 4-3-1 (6-6-2 Overall), 9 Points
7. Wisconsin - 4-7-1 (5-8-1 Overall), 9 Points
9. Bemidji State - 3-6-1 (5-8-1 Overall), 7 Points
10. Minnesota State - 2-6-0 (3-9-0 Overall), 4 Points
10. North Dakota - 2-6-0 (4-7-1 Overall), 4 Points
12. Alaska-Anchorage - 1-7-0 (4-7-1 Overall), 2 Points

Power Rankings:

1. Colorado College (UP 1)
Last Ranking: #2
Last Week: Home Sweep vs. (8) Wisconsin
7-2-0 Overall, 5-2-0 WCHA
Next Week: @ (9) North Dakota

CC is back on top of the rankings after a Minnesota loss and an impressive home sweep versus Wisconsin. The Tigers limited the Badgers to just three goals in their two wins, and if they can combine staunch defending with their impressive offense they will be the team to beat in the league this season.

2. Minnesota (DOWN 1)
Last Ranking: #1
Last Week: Home-and-Home Split vs. (6) St. Cloud State
11-3-0 Overall, 8-2-0 WCHA
Next Week: Non-conference series @ Michigan State

The Gophers lost on the road on Friday for the second week in a row before coming home and dominating the Huskies to the tune of a 5-0 shutout. This Minnesota team has all the talent in the world, but needs to show a hunger and desire for sixty minutes of every game. Their best player, senior goaltender Kent Patterson, has already set a team record for shutouts in a single season. Minnesota travels to East Lansing to take on the 7-5-0 Michigan State Spartans over Thanksgiving weekend.

3. Minnesota-Duluth (No Change)
Last Ranking: #3
Last Week: Home Sweep vs. (12) Minnesota State
9-3-2 Overall, 7-2-1 WCHA
Next Week: Idle

The Bulldogs easily dispatched of the Mavericks at home last weekend, and now stand only a single point behind Minnesota. Minnesota-Duluth is idle next weekend, and the break will do them good - they've played 10 of their first 14 games at home, but the Bulldogs' next eight games come on the road.

4. Denver University (No Change)
Last Ranking: #4
Last Week: Home Win & Tie vs. (5) Nebraska-Omaha
5-3-3 Overall, 4-2-3 WCHA
Next Week: Non-conference vs. Providence (Fri) and Miami (Sat)

The Pioneers took three out of four points from a good Nebraska-Omaha team at home last weekend. It looks like Denver has gotten themselves back on track, now in fourth place in the league and moving up. They face Providence College from Hockey East and Miami (OH) from the CCHA in an important non-conference matchup this weekend.

5. Nebraska-Omaha (No Change)
Last Ranking: #5
Last Week: Road Loss & Tie @ (4) Denver
6-6-2 Overall, 5-3-2 WCHA
Next Week: vs. (6) St. Cloud State

UNO lost and tied at Denver last weekend, and although they only took one point they're still in third place overall in the league. Their goaltending situation is still up in the air, as last season's WCHA third team goalie John Faulkner gave up seven goals on Friday and has had a tough year thus far. If the Mavericks can find a good goalie they might be able to maintain their position in the top four of the league.

6. St. Cloud State (UP 2)
Last Ranking: #8
Last Week: Home-and-Home Split vs. (2) Minnesota
6-6-2 Overall, 4-3-1 WCHA
Next Week: @ (5) Nebraska-Omaha

St. Cloud moves into the last home-ice spot in the WCHA power rankings. It's a testament to the uneasy nature of the middle of the league that there have been three teams in the last three weeks occupying the sixth spot in the raknings (North Dakota, Wisconsin and St. Cloud State). The Huskies travel to Omaha to battle the Mavericks in what could be a statement series for them - three points or more and St. Cloud is staunchly in the home-ice conversation.

7. Michigan Tech (UP 2)
Last Ranking: #9
Last Week: Road Split @ (10) Alaska-Anchorage
7-4-1 Overall, 5-4-1 WCHA
Next Week: Non-conference @ St. Lawrence

Michigan Tech split on the road with an underrated Alaska-Anchorage team last weekend, and will go on the road to St. Lawrence this weekend. The Huskies are undergoing something of a renaissance, as they've already won more games (7) and WCHA games (5) than they won all of last season (4 and 2, respectively). This late into the season Michigan Tech is still tied for fourth in the league... they've got to start getting some love from the pollsters and from me in this power ranking.

8. Wisconsin (DOWN 2)
Last Ranking: #6
Last Week: Swept on the Road @ (1) Colorado College
5-8-1 Overall, 4-7-1 WCHA
Next Week: Non-conference vs. Mercyhurst

Wisconsin was swept in Colorado Springs last weekend, but should look to rebound at home against Mercyhurst. The Badgers are an enigma, with their defensive style working for them at times but biting them at others. One positive sign is that they may have found a starting goaltender - Joel Rumpel played well against Minnesota and played the Friday game against the Tigers.

9. North Dakota (DOWN 2)
Last Ranking: #7
Last Week: Road Split @ (11) Bemidji State
4-7-1 Overall, 2-6-0 WCHA
Next Week: vs. (1) Colorado College

North Dakota moves down to number nine in this week's power rankings. The Sioux are reeling, and it doesn't get any easier as the number one Colorado College Tigers travel to Grand Forks next weekend. Star freshman Rocco Grimaldi is out another 6-8 weeks, and as the Sioux are thin in the scoring department anyways this could be a blow to their chances in the league.

10. Alaska-Anchorage (No Change)
Last Ranking: #10
Last Week: Home Split vs. (7) Michigan Tech
4-7-1 Overall, 1-7-0 WCHA
Next Week: @ (12) Minnesota State

The Seawolves finally won their first league game last weekend, and they travel to Mankato to take on the Mavericks this weekend. This could be an opportunity for Anchorage to grab a few points on the road in the league.

11. Bemidji State (No Change)
Last Ranking: #11
Last Week: Home Split vs (9) North Dakota
5-8-1 Overall, 3-6-1 WCHA
Next Week: vs. Idle

The Beavers split with the rival Sioux last weekend, and currently sit in ninth place overall in the WCHA. Bemidji gets a week off this weekend before traveling to St. Cloud to take on the Huskies next weekend.

12. Minnesota State - Mankato (No Change)
Last Ranking: #12
Last Week: Swept on the Road @ (3) Minnesota-Duluth
3-9-0 Overall, 2-6-0 WCHA
Next Week: vs. (10) Alaska-Anchorage

Mankato was swept in Duluth by the hot Bulldogs, and they could look to gain a few league points this weekend at home against Alaska-Anchorage.

Team Tiers:

Last Week

Tier 1 - Minnesota, Colorado College
Tier 2 - Minnesota-Duluth, Denver
Tier 3 - No Teams
Tier 4 - Nebraska-Omaha
Tier 5 - Wisconsin, North Dakota, St. Cloud State
Tier 6 - Michigan Tech
Tier 7 - Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State
Tier 8 - Minnesota State

This Week

Tier 1 - Colorado College, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth
Tier 2 - Denver
Tier 3 - Nebraska-Omaha
Tier 4 - No Teams
Tier 5 - St. Cloud State, Michigan Tech
Tier 6 - Wisconsin, North Dakota
Tier 7 - Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State
Tier 8 - Minnesota State

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