WCHA Power Rankings: 12/12/12

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

For the first time since Nov. 7, we have a new entry in the top six. Minnesota State pulled within striking distance last week, and now they make the move after extending their winning streak to six games. Now the attention in the middle of the pack shifts to whether or not Colorado College can fight its way back, and whether or not anyone else will be able to crack the top seven.

1. Minnesota (11-3-3, 6-3-3 WCHA) — Last week: 1
The Gophers stay at the top after taking three of four points from Colorado College to improve to 5-1-1 in their last seven. Sam Warning, Erik Haula and Zach Budish each registered two points in Friday’s 4-2 win, while Seth Ambroz, Travis Boyd and Nate Schmidt each had two in Saturday’s 4-4 tie. The Gophers continue to lead the WCHA in special teams net, as they are first on the penalty kill (89.5%) and second on the power play (21.2%).

2. North Dakota (8-5-3, 5-2-3 WCHA) — Last week: 4
UND moves up two spots after taking three of four points from Denver. They tied 2-2 on Friday before picking up a big 6-3 win on Saturday. Carter Rowney had five points on the weekend, Rocco Grimaldi had four, and Corban Knight and Drake Caggiula each had three. Knight now has an 11-game point streak. UND outshot the Pioneers 66-43 on the weekend, marking the second straight weekend they’ve allowed fewer than 50 shots.

3. Nebraska-Omaha (10-5-1, 6-3-1 WCHA) — Last week: 3
The Mavericks stay at three after splitting with St. Cloud. Ryan Walter led the way with two goals and two assists in Friday’s 6-5 win, but then the offense went quiet in Saturday’s 2-1 loss. Walters is now tied for the conference lead in scoring with 24 points. Anthony Stolarz got the start in goal Saturday and now has a .958 save percentage in his last two starts after struggling out of the gates.

4. Denver (9-5-2, 7-3-2 WCHA) — Last week: 2
The Pioneers drop two more spots after mustering just one point at North Dakota. They’re now 0-4-2 in their last six games. Sam Brittain struggled again in goal on Saturday and is now 0-3-0 with an .860 save percentage in his last three starts. Nick Shore, the team’s leading scorer, has just two points in the last five games. The Pioneers were shorthanded up front over the weekend, as they dressed just 10 forwards.

5. St. Cloud State (9-7-0, 7-5-0 WCHA) — Last week: 5
The Huskies stay at five after splitting with UNO. David Morley recorded a hat trick on Friday, while Kalle Kossila scored twice. Ben Hanowski, Nic Dowd and Drew LeBlanc each had three points on the weekend. LeBlanc now has a five-game point streak and ranks fifth in the league in scoring with 21 points. Friday’s game marked the first time Ryan Faragher has allowed more than three goals since opening weekend.

6. Minnesota State (9-5-2, 7-5-0 WCHA) — Last week: 7
The Mavericks swept Alaska-Anchorage to extend their winning streak to six, and they move into the top six as a result. They won 3-1 on Friday and 3-0 on Saturday. Stephon Williams stopped 36 of 37 shots in the series and now ranks third in the conference with a .932 save percentage. He’s been even better during the winning streak, posting a .958 save percentage during that span.

7. Colorado College (8-8-2, 5-4-1 WCHA) — Last week: 6
The Tigers drop out of the top six after claiming just one point against Minnesota. They’re now 1-5-2 in their last eight. Defense has been the biggest problem, as they’ve allowed three or more goals in each of their last nine games, and four or more in six of those. Rylan Schwartz had two goals and three assists in the series and is now tied for the league lead in points.

8. Minnesota-Duluth (5-8-3, 3-6-3 WCHA) — Last week: 8
The Bulldogs split with Bemidji, winning 4-2 on Friday before falling 2-1 on Saturday. Jake Hendrickson scored twice on Friday and Keegan Flaherty had a goal and an assist. The four goals against were the fewest UMD has surrendered in a weekend since the end of October.

9. Wisconsin (2-7-5, 2-5-5 WCHA) — Last week: 9
The Badgers tied Michigan Tech twice — 1-1 on Friday and 3-3 on Saturday. Landon Peterson stopped 30 of 31 shots on Friday and now leads the league with a .939 save percentage. He’s allowed just three goals in his last three outings. Tyler Barnes, Michael Mersch and Jake McCabe all had two points in the series.

10. Michigan Tech (4-8-3, 3-6-3 WCHA) — Last week: 11
The Huskies move up one spot after their pair of ties against Wisconsin. Kevin Genoe had a solid bounce-back weekend in goal, stopping 64 of the 68 shots he faced. The Huskies were without David Johnstone, who had points in five of the previous six games. He is expected back this weekend.

11. Bemidji State (4-8-2, 3-7-2 WCHA) — Last week: 12
The Beavers move up one spot after splitting with UMD. Andrew Walsh stopped 33 of 34 in Saturday’s win, while Mathieu Dugas gave up three goals on 21 shots in Friday’s loss. Matt Prapavessis assisted on both goals Saturday, while Brance Orban and Danny Mattson each had two points Friday.

12. Alaska-Anchorage (3-7-4, 1-6-3 WCHA) — Last week: 10
The Seawolves sink to the bottom after getting swept by Minnesota State. Saturday’s 3-0 loss was the third time they’ve been shut out this season, more than anyone else in the conference. They got outshot 75-37 on the weekend.

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