WCHA Power Rankings: 1/23/13

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

The gap between first and second widens, two other top-six teams make big moves in opposite directions, and the bottom six stays pretty steady. Let’s get right to it.

1. Minnesota (17-3-4, 9-3-4 WCHA) — Last week: 1
The Gophers strengthened their hold on first by taking three of four points from North Dakota in the rivals’ final regular-season meetings for the foreseeable future. They won 5-1 on Friday before tying 4-4 on Saturday. Nate Condon tallied five points on the weekend, while Erik Haula, Nick Bjugstad and Zach Budish each had three. Haula, who missed the previous three games with an upper-body injury, has a 16-game point streak.

2. North Dakota (13-7-4, 8-4-4 WCHA) — Last week: 2
Despite taking just one point against Minnesota, UND hangs onto second. Clarke Saunders gave up four goals for the second straight start on Friday, while Zane Gothberg surrendered four for the third time in five starts on Saturday. Corban Knight had a point in each game to extend his point streak to 19 games. UND still sits sixth in the Pairwise and tied for third in the conference standings.

3. St. Cloud State (14-10-0, 11-5-0 WCHA) — Last week: 6
Not only did the Huskies sweep Denver, but they outscored the Pioneers 10-3 on the weekend. As a result, St. Cloud moves up three spots. Drew LeBlanc and Kalle Kossila each had four points in the series, while Ben Hanowski and Nick Jensen each had three. LeBlanc now has a 13-game point streak and ranks second in the WCHA with 34 points on the season.

4. Nebraska-Omaha (13-9-2, 9-5-2 WCHA) — Last week: 4
The Mavericks had the weekend off, so they stay at four.

5. Minnesota State (15-8-3, 9-8-1 WCHA) — Last week: 5
The Mavericks stay at five after taking three of four points from Alaska-Anchorage, as they tied 3-3 on Friday before winning 4-0 on Saturday. Stephon Williams picked up his fourth shutout of the season on Saturday and now ranks fourth in the WCHA with a .925 save percentage. Jean-Paul Lafontaine and Zach Palmquist each had three points in the series.

6. Denver (13-8-4, 8-6-4 WCHA) — Last week: 3
The Pioneers’ five-game unbeaten streak came to an ugly end against St. Cloud State, and they drop three spots as a result. One area of concern is that the Pioneers have now allowed 36 or more shots in each of their last four games. Not so coincidentally, they’ve surrendered three or more goals in all four of those games.

7. Wisconsin (9-8-5, 6-5-5 WCHA) — Last week: 7
The Badgers split with Miami over the weekend, winning 1-0 on Friday before losing 2-1 on Saturday. Saturday’s loss snapped their 11-game unbeaten streak. Joel Rumpel earned his third shutout of the season on Friday, then stopped 30 of 32 shots on Saturday. He now ranks second in the conference with a .933 save percentage.

8. Minnesota-Duluth (10-11-3, 8-7-3 WCHA) — Last week: 8
The Bulldogs split with CC over the weekend, winning 3-2 on Friday and losing 5-1 on Saturday. Saturday’s loss ended a three-game winning streak. UMD has allowed four or more goals in three of its last five games, and scored two or fewer in four of its last six.

9. Colorado College (10-14-2, 7-10-1 WCHA) — Last week: 9
Like UMD, the Tigers stay in the same spot after the series split. Saturday’s win marked the first time they’ve held an opponent under three goals since Nov. 9. Alexander Krushelnyski and Rylan Schwartz each had three points on Saturday.

10. Michigan Tech (7-12-4, 4-10-4 WCHA) — Last week: 11
The Huskies leapfrog Bemidji after taking three of four points from the Beavers over the weekend. Pheonix Copley notched his third shutout in five games in Friday’s 4-0 win, then stopped 31 of 33 shots in Saturday’s 2-2 tie. Blake Pietila had four points on the weekend.

11. Bemidji State (5-12-5, 4-8-4 WCHA) — Last week: 10
With the loss and tie against Tech, the Beavers are now winless in their last six games. They’ve scored more than two goals in a game just once during that stretch. A big part of the problem is that the power play is just 2-for-23 (8.7%) over that span.

12. Alaska-Anchorage (3-14-5, 1-13-4 WCHA) — Last week: 12
The Seawolves ended their eight-game losing streak by tying Minnesota State on Friday, but their winless streak extended to 10 games as they mustered just the one point on the weekend. They’ve scored one goal or less in seven of those 10 games.

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