It’s almost Thanksgiving and Minnesota State is ahead of North Dakota in the league standings… who-da thunk it?
Anyways, here are this week’s power rankings:
1 — Minnesota (Last week: 1)
The Gophers did their job last weekend, getting two points on the road at the Kohl Center. And because other teams in the top-5 struggled, Minnesota remains the top team in the nation — and deservedly so. They get tested with yet another rivalry series this weekend and a home-and-home with SCSU.
2 — Minnesota Duluth (Last week: 3)
The Bulldogs are 6-0-2 since getting swept by the Gophers to open the league schedule. Both losses to Minnesota were one goal losses where UMD posted 50 shots. This team is a lot better than most gave them credit for and will likely stick with the Gophers all season.
3 — Colorado College (Last week: 2)
The Tigers are holding in the top-3 by a thread after losing 2 of their last 3 games. Joe Howe has been destroyed in each of those two losses, living up to his reputation as a great goalie… most of the time. He has shown a tendency to get lit up every once in a while, and so far this season, it’s no different.
4 — Nebraska-Omaha (Last week: 4)
Last Friday, Bemidji State scored a late goal to gain a tie in its game with UNO, and it looked like the Beavers were going to haunt the Mavs yet again. So it had to be sweet for the Mavericks Saturday, winning 5-1 and getting their first win over Bemidji State since the two squads joined the league last season.
5 – Denver (Last week: 5)
Winless in four straight until last Saturday, the Pioneers dealt the first blow in the battle for the Gold Pan with a 5-4 win over CC. They get a chance to move up against UNO this weekend at Magness Arena.
6 — St. Cloud State (Last week: 6)
Like the Gophers — their opponent this weekend — the Huskies went on the road and got two crucial points, thanks to an early three-goal burst Saturday night. That’s gonna be the recipe for the Huskies all season, at least as long as both Mike Lee and Drew LeBlanc are out.
7 — Wisconsin (Last week: 10)
Folks in Madison were raving about their effort in a win Friday night but seemed to forget that teams are allowed to go for the sweep on Saturday. The Badgers’ inconsistency continued with their effort Saturday and it won’t get any easier with a trip to Colorado Springs this weekend.
8 — North Dakota (Last week: 7)
On the bright side, the Sioux didn’t lose a game last weekend. The fact they didn’t play is just a minor detail. They head east on Hwy. 2 this weekend to try and get some points from Bemidji State — a team that’s within striking distance in the standings. The nice thing about the bottom of the league standings right now? A lot of teams are within striking distance.
9 — Bemidji State (Last week: 8 )
I don’t think the Beavers have played a complete series yet this season. They’ve looked great at times, miserable at others. I’d bet coach Tom Serratore would say the same thing. They have a chance to really put their rivals to the west in a hole this weekend, and they get that chance at home. Here is where we learn about what BSU is really all about.
10 — Michigan Tech (Last week: 9)
The Huskies left Houghton this week and will not return for until after Thanksgiving. Tech makes the difficult trek to Anchorage this weekend and has a good chance to nab some points on the road. After that, they travel to Chicago for a couple days, then Buffalo before a bus trip to Canton, N.Y. next weekend and a nonconference series at St. Lawrence.
11 — Minnesota State (Last week: 11)
The Mavericks are playing better, gaining splits in each of their last two conference series. But like Wisconsin, MSU had a chance to sweep Saturday but came out a little slow. SCSU scored three goals in the first nine minutes of the game, burying the Mavs in a 3-1 hole. With the lack of offense on the Maverick roster, that hole’s even deeper than it seems.
12 — Alaska-Anchorage (Last week: 12)
If the Seawolves are going to get on the board, they better start now. With Tech coming to Alaska this weekend followed by a trip to Mankato next weekend, there is no better time than the present to score your first points in league play this season. If not now, then when?
I’ll be covering the St. Cloud State-Minnesota games both nights this weekend, with blogs and notes from the National Hockey Center Friday and Mariucci Arena Saturday. Enjoy the games!