Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2011-2012 WCHA Power Rankings & Tiers: Week 8

Another interesting week in the WCHA... here are this week's WCHA Power Rankings and Tiers:

WCHA Results, Week 8:

Alaska-Anchorage - Win, Tie @ Minnesota State
Bemidji State - Idle
Colorado College - Loss, Loss @ North Dakota
Denver - Win vs. Princeton, Loss vs. Miami
Michigan Tech - Loss, Win @ St. Lawrence
Minnesota - Loss, Tie @ Michigan State
Minnesota-Duluth - Idle
Minnesota State - Loss, Tie vs. Alaska-Anchorage
Nebraska Omaha - Win, Tie vs. St. Cloud State
North Dakota - Win, Win vs. Colorado College
St. Cloud State - Loss, Tie @ Nebraska Omaha
Wisconsin - Win, Win vs. Mercyhurst

WCHA Standings:

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

Power Rankings:

1. Colorado College (No Change)
Last Ranking: #1
Last Week: Swept on the Road @ (7) North Dakota
7-4-0 Overall, 5-4-0 WCHA
Next Week: vs. (4) Denver (Friday), idle Saturday

Another chink in the armor of this CC squad, as they get swept on the road against an unimpressive (thus far) North Dakota team. Winning on the road is always tough, especially in Grand Forks, but the Tigers need to shore up their defense if they want to be in the national title discussion. CC gave up 11 goals on the weekend. Still, though, the Tigers remain atop the rankings due to nearly every other top WCHA team struggling.

2. Minnesota (No Change)
Last Ranking: #2
Last Week: Road Loss & Tie @ Michigan State
11-4-1 Overall, 8-2-0 WCHA
Next Week: vs. (12) Minnesota State

Minnesota has now lost three Friday road games in a row, and a tie on Saturday produced the team's first no-win weekend of the season. Gopher goalie Kent Patterson looked surprisingly mortal in the weekend series, giving up several "soft" goals - unusual for a player of his caliber. Patterson and the Gophers look to rebound this weekend against the last place team in the WCHA, the Minnesota State Mavericks.

3. Minnesota-Duluth (No Change)
Last Ranking: #3
Last Week: Idle
9-3-2 Overall, 7-2-1 WCHA
Next Week: @ (6) Michigan Tech

Duluth begins a stretch of eight straight road games this weekend when they head to Houghton to face the Michigan Tech Huskies. UMD could solidify their spot as an elite team in the WCHA and across the country with three or four points on the road against the surprisingly tough Huskies.

4. Denver University (No Change)
Last Ranking: #4
Last Week: Home Win & Loss vs. Providence (Fri) and Miami (Sat)
6-5-3 Overall, 4-2-3 WCHA
Next Week: @ (1) Colorado College (Friday), Idle Saturday

Denver won the opening game of their tournament Friday against Providence College before falling to Miami in the championship game. The Pioneers sorely miss their starting goaltender Sam Brittain, who is out until after the Christmas break with a torn ACL.

5. Nebraska-Omaha (No Change)
Last Ranking: #5
Last Week: Home Win & Tie @ (8) St. Cloud State
7-6-3 Overall, 6-3-3 WCHA
Next Week: Non-conference @ Alabama-Huntsville

UNO took three points at home from St. Cloud State last weekend and have moved up into a tie for second place in the league. They head south to face Alabama-Huntsville in a non-conference series this weekend.

6. Michigan Tech (UP 1)
Last Ranking: #7
Last Week: Road Split @ St. Lawrence
8-5-1 Overall, 5-4-1 WCHA
Next Week: vs. (3) Minnesota-Duluth

Somebody has to win that last home ice spot in the league, and if I had to guess right now I'd say that it would be Michigan Tech. The Huskies face a stiff test this weekend when the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs come to town.

7. North Dakota (UP 2)
Last Ranking: #9
Last Week: Home Sweep vs. (1) Colorado College
6-7-1 Overall, 4-6-0 WCHA
Next Week: @ (10) Alaska-Anchorage

Don't look now, but this could be the start of another patented North Dakota surge. The offensively-challenged Sioux erupted for 11 goals against Colorado College in a home sweep last weekend. The Sioux have to make the long, tough road trip out to Alaska-Anchorage next weekend, though. Another pair of wins and North Dakota is right back in the picture.

8. St. Cloud State (DOWN 2)
Last Ranking: #6
Last Week: Road Loss & Tie vs. (5) Nebraska-Omaha
6-7-3 Overall, 4-4-2 WCHA
Next Week: vs. (11) Bemidji State

Last week I mentioned that St. Cloud's series against Nebraska-Omaha could be a statement series for them. It was not. St. Cloud escaped Nebraska with just one point on the weekend, and although they still have as good a chance as any of the teams ranked 6-9 in this power ranking of jumping into the last home-ice spot in the league, they've moved all the way down to 8th in the rankings.

9. Wisconsin (DOWN 1)
Last Ranking: #8
Last Week: Sweep vs. Mercyhurst
7-8-1 Overall, 4-7-1 WCHA
Next Week: Idle

I don't really have much of a reason to move Wisconsin down to #9 this week, other than the fact that there are just a lot of teams that appear to be very similar in the WCHA and somebody's got to be ninth. The Badgers have this weekend off before hosting a very important series against Minnesota-Duluth.

10. Alaska-Anchorage (No Change)
Last Ranking: #10
Last Week: Road Win & Tie vs. (12) Minnesota State
5-7-2 Overall, 2-7-1 WCHA
Next Week: vs. (7) North Dakota

Anchorage moved up to tie Minnesota State for 11th place in the league with a three point weekend against them last weekend. They will look to continue moving up the table with a home series against the surging Sioux in this weekend's slate of games.

11. Bemidji State (No Change)
Last Ranking: #11
Last Week: Idle
5-8-1 Overall, 3-6-1 WCHA
Next Week: vs. @ (8) St. Cloud State

Bemidji battles in-state rival St. Cloud this weekend after getting the previous weekend off.

12. Minnesota State - Mankato (No Change)
Last Ranking: #12
Last Week: Home Loss & Tie vs. (10) Alaska-Anchorage
3-10-1 Overall, 2-7-1 WCHA
Next Week: @ (2) Minnesota

The Mavericks fell into a tie for last place last weekend when they only took one point from Alaska-Anchorage. Could the Mavericks steal a point or two from the slumping Gophers this weekend?

Team Tiers:

Last 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

This Week

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

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