WCHA Power Rankings: 12/5/12

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

There’s a new No. 1, and eight other teams are also in a different spot than last week. Let’s get right to it.

1. Minnesota (10-3-2, 5-3-2 WCHA) — Last week: 2
The Gophers pulled right up to Denver’s bumper last week, and a split with UNO, combined with Denver dropping three of four points to Wisconsin, is just enough for them to make the pass this week. They continue to play strong defense, as they lead the league with 1.87 goals against per game and haven’t allowed more than 27 shots in any of their last eight games. Erik Haula had three points in the series and extended his point streak to 10 games.

2. Denver (9-4-1, 7-2-1 WCHA) — Last week: 1
The Pioneers drop out of the top spot after mustering just one point in a home series against Wisconsin. They came close to not getting any points, but Joey LaLeggia scored with 1:16 left in regulation to force overtime (and the tie) on Friday. They’re now 0-3-1 in their last four games. After scoring three or more goals in nine of their first 10 games, they’ve scored just one in three of their last four.

3. Nebraska-Omaha (9-4-1, 5-2-1 WCHA) — Last week: 4
The Mavericks extended their winning streak to seven with a 3-2 win at Minnesota on Friday, but then had it snapped with a loss by the same score on Saturday. Saturday also marked John Faulkner’s first loss of the season, although he still hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a game. Ryan Walters had four assists on the weekend, while Josh Archibald had a goal and two assists.

4. North Dakota (7-5-2, 4-2-2 WCHA) — Last week: 3
UND earned a split at CC, losing 5-3 on Friday before picking up a 3-2 overtime victory on Saturday. Drake Caggiula scored Saturday’s winner, his third goal of the weekend. Corban Knight and Rocco Grimaldi each had three points in the series as well. UND held the Tigers to just 46 shots on the weekend, an encouraging sign considering it had allowed 30 or more in each of its previous seven games.

5. St. Cloud State (8-6-0, 6-4-0 WCHA) — Last week: 5
The Huskies split with UAA, winning 4-3 in overtime on Friday before losing 3-1 on Saturday. They overcame a 3-0 deficit on Friday, with David Morley netting the equalizer and Jimmy Murray scoring the winner. They fell behind 3-0 again on Saturday, but weren’t able to mount another comeback despite outshooting the Seawolves 16-2 in the third period.

6. Colorado College (8-7-1, 5-3-0 WCHA) — Last week: 6
The Tigers stay at six after splitting with UND. The line of Alexander Krushelnyski, Scott Winkler and Charlie Taft combined for three goals and eight assists in Friday’s win, while Archie Skalbeck and Rylan Schwartz each had two points in Saturday’s loss. The Tigers gave up 88 shots in the series and have now allowed 40 or more in each of their last four games.

7. Minnesota State (7-5-2, 5-5-0 WCHA) — Last week: 7
The Mavericks extended their winning streak to four by sweeping Bemidji State with a 3-0 win on Friday and 6-1 win on Saturday. Although they don’t move up in terms of position, the Mavericks have definitely separated themselves from the bottom five teams and aligned themselves more with the top six. They outshot the Beavers 72-38 in the series and eight players registered multipoint weekends.

8. Minnesota-Duluth (4-7-3, 2-5-3 WCHA) — Last week: 10
The Bulldogs move up two spots after taking three of four points from Michigan Tech. They won 7-3 on Friday and tied 4-4 on Saturday. The offensive outburst was certainly an encouraging given that the Bulldogs had scored more than three goals in a game just twice previously. The line of Austin Farley, Justin Crandall and Caleb Herbert combined for six goals and seven assists in the series.

9. Wisconsin (2-7-3, 2-5-3 WCHA) — Last week: 12
The Badgers make the biggest jump after taking three of four points on the road at Denver. Saturday’s 3-1 win snapped an eight-game winless streak. Both goalies were excellent, as Joel Rumpel stopped 30 of 31 shots on Friday and Landon Peterson stopped 35 of 36 on Saturday. Michael Mersch scored his ninth goal of the season on Friday, while Nic Kerdiles tallied two assists on Saturday.

10. Alaska-Anchorage (3-5-4, 1-4-3 WCHA) — Last week: 11
The Seawolves earned a split against St. Cloud, with Saturday’s 3-1 win snapping a seven-game winless skid. Rob Gunderson allowed four goals on 24 shots on Friday, while Chris Kamal saved 32 of the 33 shots he faced on Saturday. Blake Tatchell, Hayden Trupp, Daniel Naslund, Jordan Kwas and Quinn Sproule all recorded multipoint weekends.

11. Michigan Tech (4-8-1, 3-6-1 WCHA) — Last week: 8
The Huskies dropped three of four points to UMD over the weekend, then lost 2-1 to Northern Michigan on Tuesday. Kevin Genoe had won the starting goalie job, but surrendering seven goals on 41 shots against UMD threw that into a state of flux. Jamie Phillips got the start on Tuesday and stopped 23 of 25 shots.

12. Bemidji State (3-7-2, 2-6-2 WCHA) — Last week: 9
The Beavers didn’t just get swept by Minnesota State; they got outscored 9-1 and were nearly doubled up in shots. They’re now 1-6-1 in their last eight. All that is the perfect recipe for earning the bottom spot in these rankings.

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