WCHA Power Rankings: 10/24/12

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

Although no one moves more than one spot this week, everyone came a little closer together. The teams at the top aren’t running away like we thought they might, and the teams at the bottom are certainly holding their own. The best illustration of this tightness is that only one team is under .500 right now.

1. Minnesota (3-1-0, 1-1-0 WCHA) — Last week: 1
The Gophers faced much stiffer competition than the weekend before, losing 5-3 at Michigan Tech on Friday before rebounding with a 3-2 win Saturday. Michael Shibrowski got pulled from net Friday after giving up four goals on 14 shots. Adam Wilcox fared better on the weekend, stopping 27 of the 30 shots he faced. The third line of Nate Condon, Travis Boyd and Seth Ambroz came to life with three goals and five assists on the weekend.

2. Denver (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 3
The Pioneers opened their season in impressive fashion, beating Massachusetts-Lowell 5-1 on Friday and Air Force 5-2 on Saturday. Daniel Doremus tallied two goals Friday and Nick Shore recorded a hat trick Saturday, while freshman defenseman Nolan Zajac opened his career with a goal and three assists on the weekend. Sam Brittain stopped 37 of 38 shots Friday and Adam Murray stopped 22 of 24 Saturday.

3. North Dakota (1-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 2
North Dakota opened the season with a 5-0 thrashing of Alaska-Anchorage, but then lost to Alaska 2-1 the next night. The line of Bryn Chyzyk, Mark MacMillan and Connor Gaarder combined for three goals and three assists on Friday. Clarke Saunders got both starts in net and was a bright spot all weekend, stopping 51 of 53 shots. UND had just 15 skaters Friday and 16 Saturday due to injuries and suspensions.

4. Michigan Tech (2-2-0, 1-1-0 WCHA) — Last week: 5
The Huskies move up a spot after splitting with Minnesota. They upset the Gophers on Friday and were 3:35 away from taking them to overtime on Saturday. Pheonix Copley started both nights in goal and stopped 59 of 65 shots. Brothers Blake and Chad Pietila each had two goals on the weekend, while Alex Petan made SportsCenter’s Top 10 with his goal Friday night.

5. Colorado College (3-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 4
The Tigers improved to 3-0-0 with a 6-2 win over Air Force on Friday, but then they fell to UMass-Lowell 3-1 on Saturday. Andrew Hamburg exploded for four goals on Friday, while Scott Winkler scored the other two. Josh Thorimbert bounced back from a tough first start to save 55 of 59 shots on the weekend.

6. Minnesota-Duluth (2-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 7
The Bulldogs earned a split at Notre Dame, winning 3-1 on Thursday and losing 4-1 on Friday. Cal Decowski notched a goal and an assist in Friday’s win, while Matt McNeely stopped 29 of 30 shots in his first career start. The top defense pairing of Wade Bergman and Chris Casto was a combined plus-3 on Thursday, but a combined minus-5 on Friday.

7. Nebraska-Omaha (2-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 6
The Mavericks split a home series against Northern Michigan, winning 5-2 on Friday but losing 2-1 on Saturday. Brock Montpetit, Matt White, Andrej Sustr, Michael Young and Ryan Walters all had two-point games Friday, and UNO outshots NMU 41-13 in the game. Goalies John Faulkner and Anthony Stolarz have similar numbers so far, but Faulkner is 2-0-0 while Stolarz is 0-2-0.

8. St. Cloud State (2-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 8
The Huskies rebounded from being swept by New Hampshire by outscoring Alabama-Huntsville 12-3 in a sweep of their own. Of course, it’s UAH, so St. Cloud isn’t going to get much of a boost in these rankings. Drew LeBlanc had four points on the weekend, while Nic Dowd, David Morley, Kalle Kossila, Jonny Brodzinski, Cory Thorson and Ethan Prow all had three.

9. Minnesota State (2-0-2, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 10
The Mavericks remained undefeated by tying Rensselaer 3-3 on Friday and winning 4-3 in overtime on Saturday. They’ve now had three straight games go to overtime. Jonny McInnis had a goal and an assist Friday, and Eriah Hayes did the same Saturday. Zach Palmquist was a plus-4 on the weekend. The penalty kill had a bad weekend, though, allowing RPI to score four times on 10 power plays.

10. Wisconsin (0-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 9
The Badgers didn’t play last weekend, but they did get some good news on Friday when top freshman Nic Kerdiles’ season-long suspension was reduced to 10 games. Kerdiles announced on Monday that he will stay at Wisconsin.

11. Bemidji State (1-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 11
The Beavers opened their season with a 2-0 loss to Lake Superior State on Friday, but bounced back with a 5-0 win on Saturday. Sophomore Andrew Walsh had an excellent weekend in net, stopping 63 of the 64 shots he faced. After getting shut out Friday, nine different players found the scoresheet Saturday.

12. Alaska-Anchorage (2-1-1, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 12
After losing 5-0 to North Dakota on Friday, the Seawolves responded with a 6-3 win over Merrimack on Saturday. Scott Allen registered two goals and an assist in Saturday’s win, while Blake Tatchell had two goals and Matt Bailey had two assists. Allen and Bailey are both averaging a point per game so far.

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