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 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. Colorado College (+1)
Last Week: 5-1 win and 3-2 loss versus Denver
This Week: Two games at Alaska Anchorage
The Tigers have a nice four-point lead in the WCHA race heading into this weekend's series at Alaska Anchorage, which gives them a decent shot to expand that lead, with second place Denver playing a though home series against North Dakota. CC has played arguably the toughest schedule in the nation and has obviously fared very well. They don't play another game at the World Arena until January 11, but play just five goad games from that date on.
2. Denver (-1)
Last Week: 5-1 loss and 3-2 win versus Colorado College
This Week: Two games versus North Dakota
The Pioneers are probably the most pleasant surprise in the WCHA this season. Like Michigan in the CCHA, the Pioneers infusion of youth, combined with an upperclassmen goalie, have allowed them to have great success on the ice. Their next two weekends are tough, as they host UND before heading to St. Cloud State to take on the Huskies.
3. North Dakota (-)
Last Week: 8-3 win and 4-2 loss versus Minnesota Duluth
This Week: Two games at Denver
Despite their average 6-4-1 overall record (4-4-0 in WCHA play), you haven't had to follow college hockey long to know that Dave Hakstol's teams always turn it on in the second half. This season, they have just as much talent as any of his previous teams at UND, so there's no reason to think another second-half surge isn't in store. That being said, it looks like DU and CC are near locks to finish in the top three, so that last spot appears to be North Dakota's to lose at this point, but leaving the Mile High City this weekend with points will be helpful to that quest.
4. St. Cloud State (-1)
Last Week: 4-1 win and 3-2 loss at Clarkson
This Week: Two games at Wisconsin
Sophomore Ryan Lasch and freshman Garrett Roe continued their hot play last weekend as SCSU went to Clarkson and left with a split. They now head into the teeth of their schedule, as their next six series shapes up like this: two at Wisconsin, two versus Denver, two versus Colorado College, Ohio Hockey Classic with Miami, Harvard, and Ohio State, two versus North Dakota, and a home and home versus Minnesota.
5. Minnesota Duluth (+1)
Last Week: 8-3 loss and 4-2 win at North Dakota
This Week: Two games at Minnesota State
Speaking of tough stretches in a team's schedule, it appears as though the best is yet to come for UMD, who currently sits a 6-4-2 overall and 5-4-1 in conference play. The Bulldogs play their next six conference games against Minnesota State and Alaska Anchorage, so it would appears as though a rise in the standings is on the way for UMD.
6. Wisconsin (-)
Last Week: 3-2 loss at Michigan and 4-4 tie at Michigan State
This Week: Two games versus St. Cloud State
Like the Gophers, UW left the College Hockey Showcase with more questions than answers. They lost a 3-2 game to Michigan that, by most accounts, could have been 6-2 if not for the Maize and Blue putting several pucks off pipes. The Badgers then skated to a 4-4 tie with Michigan State. They head home to Madison for a key series with SCSU this weekend.
7. Michigan Tech (-)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: Two games at Minnesota
Michigan Tech will look to cure their goal-scoring issues this weekend as they travel to Minneapolis to take on the Golden Gophers after not playing last weekend. The Huskies are just 4-5-1 in conference play with have just one win in their last seven games. They have just one home game from now until January 25, so they are going to have to learn how to get points on the road.
8. Minnesota (-)
Last Week: 3-3 tie at Michigan State and 5-1 loss at Michigan
This Week: Two games versus Michigan Tech
Minnesota played a solid road game on Friday night last weekend but blew a pair of third period leads versus Michigan State in tying 3-3. On Saturday, Michigan didn't run them up and down the ice, but the duo of Chad Kolarik and Kevin Porter was just too much for Minnesota to stop. The Gophers are obviously having a down year, and will probably need a pair of wins over the next two weekends to remain in the race for home-ice.
9. Alaska Anchorage (-)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: Two games versus Colorado College
The Seawolves will do their best to slow down the high-powered Colorado College Tigers this weekend at Sullivan Arena. UAA will look to carry over some momentum from it's 4-2 win on Nov. 17 at Mariucci Arena versus Minnesota. CC is averaging 3.60 GPG, while UAA is scoring just 2.17, so the Seawolves will likely look to bottle up CC and play a 2-1 type game if they can.
10. Minnesota State (-)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: Two games versus Minnesota Duluth
The Mavs have lost four-straight WCHA games, but have been in all but one of them. They take on another in-state rival this weekend in the form of UMD, who will be favored in each game. However, it wouldn't be shocking if they Mavs take a point or two from the Bulldogs in Mankato this weekend.