Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2011-2012 WCHA Power Rankings & Tiers: Week 9

Here's another edition of the WCHA Power Rankings and Tiers.

WCHA Results, Week 9:

Alaska-Anchorage - Loss, Loss vs. North Dakota
Bemidji State - Tie, Win @ St. Cloud State
Colorado College - Win (Fri), Idle (Sat) vs. Denver
Denver - Loss (Fri), Idle (Sat) @ Colorado College
Michigan Tech - Loss, Loss vs. Minnesota-Duluth
Minnesota - Win, Win vs Minnesota State
Minnesota-Duluth - Win, Win @ Michigan Tech
Minnesota State - Loss, Loss @ Minnesota
Nebraska Omaha - Loss, Win @ Alabama-Huntsville
North Dakota - Win, Win @ Alaska-Anchorage
St. Cloud State - Tie, Loss @ Colorado College
Wisconsin - Idle

WCHA Standings:

1. Minnesota - 10-2-0 (13-4-1 Overall), 20 Points
2. Minnesota-Duluth - 9-2-1 (11-3-2 Overall), 19 Points
3. Nebraska-Omaha - 6-3-3 (8-7-3 Overall), 15 Points
4. Colorado College - 6-4-0 (8-4-0 Overall), 12 Points
4. North Dakota - 6-6-0 (8-7-1 Overall), 12 Points
6. Denver - 4-3-3 (6-5-3 Overall), 11 Points
6. Michigan Tech - 5-6-1 (8-7-1 Overall), 11 Points
6. St. Cloud State - 4-5-3 (6-8-4 Overall), 11 Points
9. Bemidji State - 4-6-2 (6-8-2 Overall), 10 Points
10. Wisconsin - 4-7-1 (7-8-1 Overall), 9 Points
11. Alaska-Anchorage - 2-9-1 (5-9-2 Overall), 5 Points
11. Minnesota State - 2-9-1 (3-12-1 Overall), 5 Points

Power Rankings:

1. Minnesota-Duluth (UP 2)
Last Ranking: #3
Last Week: Road Sweep @ (7) Michigan Tech
11-3-2 Overall, 9-2-1 WCHA
Next Week: @ (8) Wisconsin

The newly-minted number one team in the nation rises to the number one power ranking this week with a road sweep of Michigan Tech. The Bulldogs haven't lost a game since being swept at home by Minnesota in the middle of October. They continue their road trip with a two-game set at Wisconsin this weekend. Minnesota-Duluth does not play another home game until January 20th and 21st, when they host Alabama-Huntsville

2. Minnesota (No Change)
Last Ranking: #2
Last Week: Home Sweep vs. (12) Minnesota State
13-4-1 Overall, 10-2-0 WCHA
Next Week: vs. (7) Michigan Tech

The Gophers won two games last weekend, but it wasn't pretty. Minnesota faced a charged up and finally (almost) healthy Minnesota State squad and narrowly swept. This Gopher team seems tired and ready for a break - they've played every weekend since the start of the season, whereas nearly every other team has had at least one week off. The Gophers host Michigan Tech this weekend, a series that could well result in another four points for the Maroon and Gold. Michigan Tech has been surprisingly good, though, so don't be surprised if they steal a point or two.

3. Colorado College (DOWN 2)
Last Ranking: #1
Last Week: Home Win (Fri), Idle (Sat) vs. (4) Denver
8-4-0 Overall, 6-4-0 WCHA
Next Week: vs. (11) Alaska-Anchorage

Colorado College won an overtime thriller at home against Denver Friday night, scoring on a penalty shot in the extra frame to down the Pioneers. CC enters a soft spot in their schedule, facing Anchorage at home this weekend before traveling to Mankato to take on the Mavericks. Another four wins in the next two weeks would help steady the Tigers and get them back on track in the league. Anything less, though, and the doubts will continue to linger.

4. Denver University (No Change)
Last Ranking: #4
Last Week: Road Loss (Fri), Idle (Sat) @ (3) Colorado College
6-5-3 Overall, 4-3-3 WCHA
Next Week: @ (10) Bemidji State

Denver hung tight with Colorado College on Friday night, losing in overtime. The Pioneers have had an enigmatic season so far, and they are still waiting on their #1 goalie Sam Brittain to return from injury. Their #2, Adam Murray, was injured last weekend, so Denver is down to their third string goalie for a little while anyways.

5. North Dakota (UP 2)
Last Ranking: #7
Last Week: Road Sweep @ (11) Alaska-Anchoarge
8-7-1 Overall, 6-6-0 WCHA
Next Week: @ (6) Nebraska-Omaha

The Sioux took another two victories from their opponents last weekend, winning convincingly both nights against a struggling Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves team. The most pertinent news surrounding the Sioux this week, though, is that the school is giving up their nickname as of January 1st, 2012. North Dakota is 5-1 since being swept at Minnesota at the beginning of November.

6. Nebraska-Omaha (DOWN 1)
Last Ranking: #5
Last Week: Road Split @ Alabama-Huntsville
8-7-3 Overall, 6-3-3 WCHA
Next Week: @ North Dakota

Nebraska-Omaha lost a head-scratcher last weekend, as the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers beat them for their first win of the season. The Mavericks should be fired up for their series this weekend, as head coach Dean Blais returns Grand Forks, but not as the coach of the Sioux.

7. Michigan Tech (DOWN 1)
Last Ranking: #6
Last Week: Swept at Home vs. (1) Minnesota-Duluth
8-7-1 Overall, 5-6-1 WCHA
Next Week: @ (2) Minnesota

The Huskies fell twice to the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs last weekend at home, and travel to Minnesota this weekend. Michigan Tech is in a tough portion of their schedule - it would be good for them to get a point or two on the road against the Gophers this weekend.

8. Wisconsin (UP 1)
Last Ranking: #9
Last Week: Idle
7-8-1 Overall, 4-7-1 WCHA
Next Week: vs. (1) Minnesota-Duluth

Wisconsin is a different team depending on where they play. At home in Madison, the Badgers sport a nifty 7-3-0 record, but on the road the team is winless at 0-5-1. The Badgers get the red hot Bulldogs at home this weekend, and although Duluth is a better team I wouldn't be surprised to see a split in this series.

9. St. Cloud State (DOWN 1)
Last Ranking: #8
Last Week: Home Tie & Loss vs. (10) Bemidji State
6-8-4 Overall, 4-5-3 WCHA
Next Week: Idle

The Huskies took only one point for the second straight weekend, this time losing and tying at home against the Bemidji State Beavers. St. Cloud may finally be feeling the effects of the injuries they've sustained, losing both forward Drew LeBlanc and goaltender Mike Lee for the season.

10. Bemidji State (UP 1)
Last Ranking: #11
Last Week: Road Tie & Win @ (9) St. Cloud State
5-8-1 Overall, 3-6-1 WCHA
Next Week: vs. (4) Denver

Bemidji took three points on the road against St. Cloud, and quietly the Beavers have moved up to just one point behind a tie for sixth in the league. This Beaver team could beat a few good teams down the stretch.

11. Alaska-Anchorage (DOWN 1)
Last Ranking: #10
Last Week: Swept at Home vs. (5) North Dakota
5-9-2 Overall, 2-9-1 WCHA
Next Week: @ (3) Colorado College

The Seawolves continued their downward spiral last weekend, being swept at home by the Sioux. They face another tough test on the roat at Colorado College this weekend.

12. Minnesota State - Mankato (No Change)
Last Ranking: #12
Last Week: Swept on the Road @ (2) Minnesota
3-12-1 Overall, 2-9-1 WCHA
Next Week: vs. Alabama-Huntsville

Minnesota State played the Gophers tough last weekend, but again came away with two losses. They host Alabama-Huntsville in non-conference action this weekend, but I think this Mankato team is better than their record, especially if they continue to get healthier.

Team Tiers:

Last 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

This Week

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

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