It was certainly an exciting weekend in the WCHA, as all 12 teams were in action. The top three and bottom three teams in my rankings stay where they were, but the six teams in between are all on the move. A split between the top two teams allowed North Dakota to gain a little ground, while the two Mavericks both made big moves — just in opposite directions.
1. Minnesota (19-5-4, 11-5-4 WCHA) — Last week: 1
The Gophers split with St. Cloud, so nothing changes at the top. Erik Haula scored twice in Friday’s 4-2 win, then tallied two assists in Saturday’s 4-3 loss. He has points in 19 of his last 20 games and is now tied for first in the WCHA and fourth in the country with 1.40 points per game. Adam Wilcox gave up four goals on 21 shots Saturday, marking just the fourth time this season he’s allowed four goals in a game.
2. St. Cloud State (18-11-1, 15-6-1 WCHA) — Last week: 2
Friday’s loss to Minnesota ended a six-game unbeaten streak for the Huskies, but they bounced back to win on Saturday. Drew LeBlanc scored two goals in the series, including what proved to be the game-winner on Saturday. He now has 40 points on the season, tying him for second in the league. Ryan Faragher surrendered seven goals on the weekend, but he also faced a ton of shots — 81 to be exact.
3. North Dakota (16-8-6, 11-5-6 WCHA) — Last week: 3
UND doesn’t move up after sweeping Omaha, but they certainly pull a little closer to the top two. They won 2-1 on Friday and 5-2 in Saturday’s outdoor game at TD Ameritrade Park. Corban Knight and Danny Kristo each had four points in the series, and both now rank in the top five nationally in scoring with 40 and 39 points, respectively. Zane Gothberg made his third and fourth straight starts and stopped 62 of 65 shots.
4. Minnesota State (18-9-3, 12-9-1 WCHA) — Last week: 6
The Mavericks jump up two spots after sweeping UMD over the weekend. Eriah Hayes led the way with a goal and two assists in Friday’s 4-2 win and a hat trick and an assist in Saturday’s 5-1 victory. Teddy Blueger also had a goal and two assists on Friday, while Matt Leitner had three assists on Saturday. With the sweep, the Mavericks moved into a three-way tie for fifth in the standings.
5. Denver (15-9-5, 10-7-5 WCHA) — Last week: 4
The Pioneers slide one spot after mustering just one point against CC. They tied 1-1 in a goaltending duel on Friday, then lost 6-5 in overtime in a barnburner on Saturday. Juho Olkinuora stopped 35 of 36 shots on Friday, but then allowed a season-high six goals on Saturday. Larkin Jacobson scored a goal in both games, doubling his career total in the process.
6. Wisconsin (12-9-7, 9-6-7 WCHA) — Last week: 7
The Badgers finally crack my top six after taking three of four points from Bemidji. They tied 2-2 on Friday and won 3-2 on Saturday to improve to 11-2-4 since the start of December. They’ve also climbed into a three-way tie for fifth in the conference. Nic Kerdiles and Brendan Woods each had a goal and an assist in the series.
7. Nebraska-Omaha (16-12-2, 12-8-2 WCHA) — Last week: 5
The Mavericks take the biggest tumble this week after getting swept by North Dakota. They’ve lost three in a row and are now just 7-9-1 since the start of December. Dayn Belfour saved 34 of 36 shots on Friday in his first start of the season. He then stopped 20 of 22 on Saturday in relief of John Faulkner, who gave up three goals on five shots before getting yanked.
8. Colorado College (11-14-5, 8-10-4 WCHA) — Last week: 9
The Tigers move up one spot after taking three of four points from Denver. Joe Howe stopped 33 of 34 shots in Friday’s 1-1 tie, and Hunter Fejes registered two goals — including the overtime winner — and an assist in Saturday’s 6-5 win. The Tigers gave Denver just three power plays all weekend.
9. Minnesota-Duluth (10-15-3, 8-11-3 WCHA) — Last week: 8
The Bulldogs got swept by Minnesota State, extending their losing streak to five games. They’ve scored just 1.80 goals per game in the second half, while allowing 3.40. Austin Farley was involved in all three UMD goals on the weekend, as he scored one and assisted on the other two.
10. Michigan Tech (9-14-4, 6-12-4 WCHA) — Last week: 10
The Huskies split with Anchorage, losing 5-4 on Friday before winning 6-1 on Saturday. Had they swept they might’ve jumped UMD, but Friday’s loss, in which they blew a 4-1 lead, keeps them at 10. Milos Gordic had two goals and two assists on the weekend, while four others had three points.
11. Bemidji State (5-17-6, 4-13-5 WCHA) — Last week: 11
The Beavers’ winless streak reached 12 games over the weekend, as they took just one point against Wisconsin. Their biggest problem has been offense, as they’ve averaged just 1.50 goals per game during that stretch.
12. Alaska-Anchorage (4-17-7, 2-16-6 WCHA) — Last week: 12
Speaking of winless streaks, the Seawolves finally ended their 14-game streak with Friday’s come-from-behind win over Michigan Tech. But then they got blown out the next night. Blake Tatchell and Jordan Kwas each had three points on Friday, with Tatchell scoring the tying goal and Kwas netting the winner.