WCHA Power Rankings: 10/17/12

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

I tried not to overreact to one weekend. Yet some of the rankings this week absolutely look like overreactions. Truth is, I had teams 3-9 so close before the season that it opened the door for teams that earned sweeps to jump a few spots and teams that got swept to fall a few. In theory, these rankings will become a little less volatile over the next few weeks.

1. Minnesota (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 1
The Gophers really couldn’t have started any better. They totally demolished Michigan State in a weekend sweep, winning 5-1 on Friday and 7-1 on Saturday. The most ridiculous stat of the weekend is that Minnesota had 17 players record at least one point. Zach Budish led the way with four, while Nick Bjugstad, Erik Haula, Kyle Rau and Christian Isackson all had three.

2. North Dakota (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 2
North Dakota hasn’t played a regular-season game yet, so naturally it’s staying second. UND has won a pair of exhibition games, though. In Friday’s 6-4 win over the U.S. Under-18 Team, a line of Rocco Grimaldi, Corban Knight and Danny Kristo combined for four goals and four assists.

3. Denver (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 3
The Pioneers also haven’t played a game that counts, so they also stay right where they were preseason. They tied British Columbia in their only exhibition. David Makowski, playing for the first time since last December, scored a goal in the game.

4. Colorado College (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 9
The Tigers make the biggest jump after sweeping Clarkson with a pair of 5-4 wins. That probably shouldn’t be enough to move up five spots, but no one else did anything to warrant being fourth. Archie Skalbeck scored three goals on the weekend, while William Rapuzzi, Rylan Schwartz and Eamonn McDermott added three points apiece. Josh Thorimbert and Joe Howe both struggled in net despite each getting a win.

5. Michigan Tech (1-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 6
The Huskies move up a spot by default because the two teams that were ahead of them got swept. Tech split a series with Lake Superior State, losing 4-2 on Thursday before exploding for eight goals on Saturday in an 8-4 win. Milos Gordic and Tanner Kero led the offense with four points apiece, while Blake Pietila had three. The Huskies will need better goaltending moving forward — neither Pheonix Copley nor Kevin Genoe posted a save percentage better than .850.

6. Nebraska-Omaha (1-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 7
Like the Huskies, the Mavericks move up by default. They beat Army 5-1 in the first round of the IceBreaker, but then lost to Notre Dame 3-2 in the championship. UNO’s defense was solid, as it allowed just 44 shots on the weekend. John Faulkner picked up the win on Friday, while Anthony Stolarz was saddled with the loss in his first collegiate start. Zahn Raubenheimer led the offense with a goal and two assists.

7. Minnesota-Duluth (1-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 8
If Tech and UNO are going to move up after a split, so are the Bulldogs. They beat Ohio State 6-2 on Friday, but then lost 3-2 on Saturday. Mike Seidel registered three goals, while Austin Farley notched his first four career points. Aaron Crandall got both starts and gave up five goals on 48 shots. UMD’s special teams were excellent — the power play went 5-for-14 and the penalty kill went 12-for-13.

8. St. Cloud State (0-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 5
The Huskies drop after getting swept on the road by New Hampshire. They lost 5-3 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday. Ryan Faragher started both games and gave up nine goals on 68 shots (.868 save%). The top defense pairing of Andrew Prochno and Nick Jensen was a combined minus-9, which is obviously not good. The power play also struggled, going 1-for-10 with a shorthanded goal against.

9. Wisconsin (0-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 4
The Badgers take the biggest tumble after getting swept on neutral ice by a Northern Michigan team that was picked ninth in the CCHA coaches poll. They lost 2-1 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday. As the scores would indicate, offense was the biggest problem. The Badgers returned 12 forwards from last season, but that doesn’t do any good if they don’t improve.

10. Minnesota State (1-0-1, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 10
The Mavericks beat Alabama-Huntsville 4-1 on Friday before playing to a 2-2 draw on Saturday. Chase Grant recorded a hat trick on Friday, and he and linemate Matt Leitner each had four points in the game. Phil Cook (who got the win) and Stephon Williams (the tie) both played well in net. The Mavericks took just six penalties on the weekend, and killed all six.

11. Bemidji State (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 11
The Beavers haven’t played a regular-season game yet. They did beat the U.S. Under-18 Team 4-3 on Saturday, though. David Boehm tallied two goals and Jeff Jubinville registered a goal and an assist.

12. Alaska-Anchorage (1-0-1, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 12
The Seawolves opened the season with a 2-0 win over Canisius on Friday before tying Air Force 3-3 on Saturday. Chris Kamal stopped 14 shots to pick up the shutout Friday, while Rob Gunderson wasn’t quite as stellar Saturday. Matt Bailey, Alex Gellert and Jordan Kwas each recorded a goal and an assist on the weekend.

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