Thursday, November 15, 2007

WCHA Blog Power Rankings - 11/15

To compliment the Division I men's poll and the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings that are updated on a weekly basis, the WCHA Blog will establish its own weekly ranking system. The number in parenthesis to the right of the team's name shows the change in rank from last week's rankings.

1. Denver (-)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: Two games versus Minnesota State

The Pioneers stay on top after taking the previous weekend off, and return to action this weekend as they host Minnesota State. On the surface, it would appear like an easy weekend is ahead for the Pioneers, but the Mavericks will likely put up a pretty good fight in an least one of this weekend's games.

2. Colorado College (+1)
Last Week: 5-3 and 3-0 wins versus Minnesota Duluth
This Week: Two games versus Wisconsin

The Tigers returned home after two straight weekends on the road and took care of business as they swept Minnesota Duluth. Freshman goalie Richard Bachman continued his stellar start to his NCAA career, and is answering one of the biggest questions coming into the season for the Tigers. Things will get a little tougher this weekend as they host the Badgers.

3. North Dakota (-1)
Last Week: 4-0 loss and 3-1 win at Wisconsin
This Week: Idle

After three straight splits to open the WCHA season, the Fighting Sioux take this weekend off before hosting UMD on Thanksgiving weekend. Last weekend in Madison, the Fighting Sioux could have easily won both games -- even in Friday night's 4-0 loss, UND outshot the Badgers 43-24, including 25 shots in the third period.

4. St. Cloud State (+3)
Last Week: 5-2 and 4-1 wins at Michigan Tech
This Week: Idle

St. Cloud State put up an impressive pair of victories last weekend as they swept the Michigan Tech Huskies in Houghton. It should be noted that Tech was without their top goaltender, but SCSU took advantage of that, which isn't always something a team is able to do. Freshman Garrett Roe and sophomore Ryan Lasch are tied with 17 points, which leads the nation.

5. Minnesota (+4)
Last Week: 4-3 and 5-3 wins versus Minnesota State
This Week: Two games versus Alaska Anchorage

Minnesota's power play ended its 0-30 drought last weekend, and -- not surprisingly -- ended up winning a couple games versus Minnesota State. And maybe most importantly, sophomore Kyle Okposo got on the board with a pair of goals, his first since the opening game of the season.

6. Wisconsin (-)
Last Week: 4-0 win and 3-1 loss versus North Dakota
This Week: Two games at Colorado College

I'm sure Mike Eaves and Co. were happy with a home split versus a team of North Dakota's caliber, and they will likely have a similar goal this weekend as they head to Colorado College to take on the Tigers. The Badgers got a good opportunity to play against a high-octane offense last weekend, and will face a similar group of forwards this weekend in the form of the Tigers.

7. Minnesota Duluth (-2)
Last Week: 5-3 and 3-0 losses at Colorado College
This Week: Two games versus Michigan Tech

After going undefeated in their first four games, UMD has dropped three of their last four games, including getting swept at CC last weekend. Now, all four of those games have been on the road against very solid teams (CC and DU). The Bulldogs return home to tangle with Michigan Tech this weekend in what should feature a pair of tightly-contested games.

8. Michigan Tech (-4)
Last Week: 5-2 and 4-1 losses versus St. Cloud State
This Week: Two games at Minnesota Duluth

The Huskies were without goaltender Michael-Lee Teslak last weekend versus St. Cloud State, and subsequently yielded nine goals in a pair of losses against SCSU. That being said, they also scored just three goals against a St. Cloud State team that doesn't appear to be a defensive dynamo. They suffered a big blow this week when star freshman-to-be Casey Pierro-Zabotel elected to enroll at Tech but will rather play in the WHL.

9. Minnesota State (-1)
Last Week: 4-3 and 5-3 losses versus Minnesota
This Week: Two games at Denver

The Mavericks continued to have their struggles versus their top in-state rival as they were swept by Minnesota in a home and home series last weekend. The scores would indicate that the games were fairly close, but there wasn't really a point in either game were it appeared like the Mavs were going to take over and win the game. Things don't get any easier this weekend as they head to Denver to take on the Pioneers, who were off last weekend.

10. Alaska Anchorage (-)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: Two games at Minnesota

The Seawolves were off last weekend after taking one point from SCSU the weekend before. They now head back to the state of Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers in a rematch of last year's hotly contested WCHA first round playoff series. Because of that series, the Seawolves know they can hang with the Gophers. Getting off to a good start will be key for the Seawolves.