WCHA Power Rankings: 11/28/12

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

The top three remain the same, but eight of the nine teams to follow are in a different spot than last week. Although the top three didn’t change, things certainly got more interesting at the top thanks to Denver being swept.

1. Denver (9-3-0, 7-1-0 WCHA) — Last week: 1
The Pioneers had a comfortable enough lead over Minnesota that they remain at the top despite losing a pair of nonconference games over the weekend. They lost to Yale 2-1 in overtime on Friday, then blew a 3-0 lead en route to a 6-4 loss to New Hampshire on Saturday. Friday was just the second time the Pioneers scored fewer than three goals in a game, and Saturday was the second time they allowed more than three. Denver went 0-for-10 on the power play in the two games.

2. Minnesota (9-2-2, 4-2-2 WCHA) — Last week: 2
The Gophers closed the gap between first and second by sweeping Vermont with a 5-1 win on Friday and 3-1 win on Saturday. Adam Wilcox stopped 48 of 50 shots in the series and now ranks second in the conference with a .931 save percentage. Kyle Rau tallied three points on the weekend, while five others registered two. The Gophers went a perfect 8-for-8 on the penalty kill.

3. North Dakota (6-4-2, 3-1-2 WCHA) — Last week: 3
North Dakota split a series at Notre Dame, winning 2-1 on Friday before falling 5-2 on Saturday. Clarke Saunders saved 35 of the 36 shots he faced Friday and now leads the league with a .934 save percentage. Zane Gothberg gave up four goals on Saturday, but he also faced 40 shots. UND has now given up 31 or more shots in seven straight games, which has to be a bit concerning.

4. Nebraska-Omaha (8-3-1, 4-1-1 WCHA) — Last week: 5
The Mavericks squeaked by Alabama-Huntsville with a 3-2 win on Friday before demolishing the Chargers 8-0 on Saturday. Ryan Walters had five points in the series, Brock Montpetit and Bryce Aneloski each had four, and Dominic Zombo had three. Walters now has 13 points in the last five games, while Zombo has 10 in that same timeframe.

5. St. Cloud State (7-5-0, 5-3-0 WCHA) — Last week: 4
The Huskies split with UMD, losing 2-1 on Friday before bouncing back with a 5-1 win on Saturday. Ben Hanowski notched a goal and two assists Saturday in his second game back from injury, while linemate Nic Dowd had two goals and an assist in that game. Dowd is now tied for the league lead in points with 17. Ryan Faragher stopped 59 of 62 shots on the weekend.

6. Colorado College (7-6-1, 4-2-0 WCHA) — Last week: 6
The Tigers overcame a 4-0 deficit to force a 4-4 tie against New Hampshire on Friday, but then lost to Yale 6-5 in overtime on Saturday. They’re now winless in their last four, and they gave up a staggering 97 shots on the weekend. Josh Thorimbert got pulled after allowing four goals on 22 shots Friday, and Joe Howe stopped 69 of 75 shots the rest of the weekend.

7. Minnesota State (5-5-2, 3-5-0 WCHA) — Last week: 9
The Mavericks went into Madison and swept the Badgers, winning both games 4-2. Matt Leitner led the way with two goals and three assists, while Eriah Hayes, Jean-Paul Lafontaine and Dylan Margonari each recorded three points. Stephon Williams saved 65 of the 69 shots he faced to pick up the first two wins of his career. He appears to have won the starting job for the time being.

8. Michigan Tech (4-6-0, 3-5-0 WCHA) — Last week: 7
The Huskies had the weekend off, but they drop one spot as Minnesota State jumps over them.

9. Bemidji State (3-5-2, 2-4-2 WCHA) — Last week: 10
The Beavers took three of four points from UAA, tying 2-2 on Friday and winning 5-4 on Saturday. Jeff Jubinville scored both goals on Friday, while Aaron McLeod scored two on Saturday.

10. Minnesota-Duluth (3-7-2, 1-5-2 WCHA) — Last week: 12
The Bulldogs ended a seven-game winless streak by beating St. Cloud 2-1 on Friday before losing Saturday’s game 5-1. Aaron Crandall stopped 27 of 28 shots on Friday, but then surrendered five goals on 22 shots on Saturday.

11. Alaska-Anchorage (2-4-4, 0-3-3 WCHA) — Last week: 8
The Seawolves dropped three of four points to Bemidji and are now winless in their last six games. Blake Tatchell and Scott Allen each registered three points in the series. The Seawolves gave the Beavers just three power plays all weekend.

12. Wisconsin (1-7-2, 1-5-2 WCHA) — Last week: 11
The Badgers got swept by Minnesota State, extending their winless streak to seven games. One bright spot is that highly-touted freshman Nic Kerdiles is set to make his debut this weekend after being suspended 10 games by the NCAA.

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