For the first time all season, there has been a change at the top of my WCHA Power Rankings. Here they are for you to enjoy:
1 — Minnesota (Last week: 2)
All facets of the Gopher game are rolling right now. They head to Kohl Center this weekend with a chance to dagger a rival for the second weekend in a row.
2 — Colorado College (Last week: 1)
Every once in a while, Joe Howe plays a game where all you can do is scratch your head and wonder, “why?” His effort last Friday in a 7-5 loss to UNO was one of those games.
3 — Minnesota Duluth (Last week: 3)
The Bulldogs are finally looking like defending champs after taking three points from Denver at Magness Arena. That has a chance to be one of those series you look back at in March.
4 — Nebraska-Omaha (Last week: 5)
John Faulkner was bailed out by Dayne Belfour and the Maverick offense in the third period last Friday after he allowed four goals on just 16 shots in 40 minutes. That earned him a spot on the bench Saturday — something that happened just a handful of times last season.
5 — Denver (Last week: 4)
Other than a 10-2 win over a helpless and depleted Minnesota State bunch three weeks ago, the Pioneers have looked very blah so far this season. They’ve lost 3 of 4 points in each of the last two weekends and look like a middle of the pack team.
6 — St. Cloud State (Last week: 8 )
The Huskies, it seems, have caught whatever injury bug Minnesota State had early in the season. Unfortunately for SCSU, the injuries suffered by its players are potential season-enders. They’ve also come to their best forward and their top goalie. Ouch.
7 — North Dakota (Last week: 6)
The Fighting Sioux are off to their worst start in conference play in almost 40 years. Aaron Dell got on track last weekend at Minnesota, now UND just needs its forwards to follow suit.
8 — Bemidji State (Last week: 10)
In what could be a WCHA Final Five championship game preview, circa March 2014, the Beavers split with Lake Superior State last weekend in Sault Ste. Marie. Not an easy task for any team, as the Beavers handed the Lakers just their second loss in 10 games.
9 — Michigan Tech (Last week: 9)
Previously unbeaten at home, the Huskies surrendered a 6-3 decision to previously winless in conference play Minnesota State last Saturday. This after securing a 1-0 win Friday on a fluke goal when Austin Lee had a Jeff Frazee flashback. Tech gets this weekend to think about it before embarking on a tough four game road-trip (at least travel wise) to Anchorage and St. Lawrence.
10 — Wisconsin (Last week: 7)
The Badgers needed a Drew LeBlanc leg injury to muster enough fight to secure a tie Saturday against SCSU. With Minnesota and CC on the docket the next two weekends, the Badgers will either sink or swim by Thanksgiving.
11 — Minnesota State (Last week: 12)
The Mavericks are finally starting to get healthy and if Austin Lee can remain consistent, the Mavericks could quietly sneak back into the home ice race (Lee’s .931 save percentage is second best in the league). But does MSU have enough offense? With the emergence of Minnesota’s Kyle Rau, many have forgotten MSU freshman J.P. Lafontaine (7 points, 5 goals in 8 games).
12 — Alaska-Anchorage (Last week: 11)
A weekend off and a Mankato victory has made UAA the lone team in the WCHA with no points. A trip to Amsoil Arena this weekend could very well keep it that way.