Tuesday, October 23, 2007

WCHA Blog Power Rankings - 10/23

To compliment the USCHO.com/CSTV Division I men's poll and the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings that are updated on a weekly basis, the WCHA Blog will follow LetsGoDU’s lead and establish its own weekly ranking system.

1. North Dakota
Last Week: 0-0 tie at Boston College, 3-0 win at Northeastern
This Week: Two games at Michigan Tech

The Fighting Sioux have yet to allow a goal this season and were very impressive two weekends ago in taking out the defending NCAA champions Michigan State Spartans by a 6-0 score. This weekend’s series in Houghton should feature a couple of hard-fought contests.

2. Colorado College
Last Week: 3-1 and 2-1 wins versus Minnesota
This Week: Two games at New Hampshire

Freshman goalie Richard Bachman appears to have emerged as the No. 1 guy between the pipes for the Tigers. If CC can continue to have their goalie(s) play well, that answers one of the biggest questions that faced the team during the preseason. They take on New Hampshire this weekend in what should be a very fun series in Durham, N.H.

3. Denver
Last Week: 4-3 loss and 3-1 win at Notre Dame
This Week: Two games versus Minnesota Duluth

The young Pioneers have just one loss in four games against some stiff non-conference competition in the form of Maine and Notre Dame. They return to the Mile High City to take on a Minnesota Duluth team that is unbeaten in four games this season. Senior goalie Peter Mannino has played well thus far, giving a boost to the young DU defensemen and forwards.

4. Wisconsin
Last Week: 7-2 and 8-2 wins versus Robert Morris
This Week: Off

Who says the Badgers can’t score goals? Well, granted they lit up Robert Morris in Madison, but 15 goals is a month’s worth for the typical Wisconsin team over the years. Kyle Turris is leading the nation in scoring, while fellow forwards Ben Street and Blake Geoffrion are also in the top ten nationally in scoring. They will rest up for a week before hosting Michigan Tech and North Dakota in back-to-back series.

5. Michigan Tech
Last Week: 2-0 and 7-1 wins versus Minnesota State
This Week: Two games versus North Dakota

After suffering a tough 3-2 loss to start the year against Northern Michigan, the Huskies have rebounded with three straight wins. Things will get much tougher this weekend with the top team in the country coming to town, but Michigan Tech has the experience and goaltending to hang with the Sioux in Houghton.

6. Minnesota
Last Week: 3-1 and 2-1 losses at Colorado College
This Week: Two games versus Ohio State and one exhibition vs. US-NTDP U-18 Team

It’s been a rocky start to the season for Don Lucia and Co., but the fact remains that the team is 2-2 against some good competition (RPI, Michigan, and CC) and hasn’t played in the friendly confines of Mariucci Arena yet. Junior Jeff Frazee has played very well so far, which is a good sign for Minnesota. They played very well in defeat on Saturday in Colorado Springs, but need their power play (3-26) to improve. The Gophers swept the Buckeyes last season in Columbus in a pair of lopsided games, but OSU should be a tougher test this time around for the Maroon and Gold.

7. Minnesota Duluth
Last Week: 2-1 and 4-2 wins versus St. Cloud State
This Week: Two games at Denver

The Bulldogs have taken care of business in four games at the DECC to start the season, going 3-0-1 over that stretch. They won a pair of close contests with St. Cloud State last weekend to emerge in a three-way tie for first place in the WCHA after one week. The UMD special teams have been very solid this year, as the power play is currently at 4-20, while the penalty kill is a particularly impressive 25 of 27. I’m sure most Bulldogs fans would happy to leave Denver with two points.

8. Alaska Anchorage
Last Week: 4-3 and 5-3 wins over Alaska
This Week: Two games versus Minnesota State

The Seawolves have been very impressive thus far, but the competition hasn’t been especially great, and they have played all of their games thus far in Anchorage. They will continue both of those trends this weekend as they play host to the Minnesota State Mavericks, who got handled by Michigan Tech last weekend. Sophomores Josh Lunden and Kevin Clark each have eight points for the Seawolves.

9. St. Cloud State
Last Week: 2-1 and 4-2 losses at St. Cloud State
This Week: Two games versus Bemidji State and one exhibition vs. US-NTDP U-18 Team

It’s been a tale of two weekends so far this year for the Huskies, who handled – as they should have – Canisius at home rather easily, but then struggled at Minnesota Duluth. SCSU is much younger than they were a year ago, so some inconsistent play early in the season isn’t too shocking. Bemidji State has certainly proved over the years that they can play with (and beat) WCHA teams on a regular basis, so this weekend will be a nice test for Bob Motzko and Co.

10. Minnesota State
Last Week: 2-0 and 7-1 losses at Michigan Tech
This Week: Two games at Alaska Anchorage

The Mavericks don’t play a home game until mid-November, and if last week’s showing in Houghton was any indication, it could be a long couple weeks for Minnesota State. They scored just one goal in two games at Michigan Tech, but did get solid goaltending from junior Mike Zacharias. They head to Anchorage to play a hot Seawolves team this weekend.