WCHA Power Rankings: 10/31/12Posted by: Scott McLaughlin
The top three remain the same, but that’s about it. Due to the fact that there wasn’t a single split last weekend, everyone else is either rising or falling.
1. Minnesota (4-1-0, 1-1-0 WCHA) — Last week: 1
It wasn’t pretty, but the Gophers survived a scare from Canisius and came away with a 1-0 win Sunday. Kyle Rau scored the game’s lone goal 12 seconds in and Adam Wilcox made 20 saves to pick up his first career shutout. The gap between first and second in these rankings certainly shrunk this weekend, but I’m not going to drop Minnesota after a win, even if the game was closer than it should’ve been.
2. Denver (4-0-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 2
The Pioneers remained perfect after wiping the floor with Michigan Tech, winning 5-1 on Friday and 5-2 on Saturday. They’ve scored five goals in all four of their games, and they haven’t allowed more than two in any of them. Nick Shore tallied four points on the weekend to give him nine in four games, good for first in the league in points per game. David Makowski also had a four-point weekend, while Shawn Ostrow and Joey LaLeggia chipped in three apiece.
3. North Dakota (2-1-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) — Last week: 3
North Dakota opened its conference schedule with a 4-1 win over Alaska-Anchorage on Friday, but followed up with a disappointing 3-3 tie the next night. Zane Gothberg made 17 saves Friday to earn his first career win, while Clarke Saunders stopped 27 of 30 shots Saturday. Danny Kristo registered four assists in his first two games back from suspension, while Corban Knight and Derek Forbort each scored a pair of goals.
4. St. Cloud State (4-2-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 8
The Huskies outscored Minnesota State 10-2 in a weekend sweep and have now won four straight since getting swept by New Hampshire to open the season. Drew LeBlanc had two goals and three assists in the series, while Nic Dowd and Kalle Kossila each had four points. Ben Hanowski scored two goals Friday, but he also suffered an upper body injury that leaves him doubtful for this weekend. Ryan Faragher saved 59 of 61 shots on the weekend and has now allowed just two goals in his last three starts.
5. Colorado College (3-3-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 5
The Tigers had a tough trip to Cornell, losing 2-0 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday to give them a three-game losing streak. Special teams were a huge problem, as the Tigers went 0-for-8 on the power play while allowing Cornell to go 5-for-14 on the man advantage. Josh Thorimbert played well in goal Friday, but gave up three goals on just 20 shots Saturday.
6. Michigan Tech (2-4-0, 1-3-0 WCHA) — Last week: 4
A week after earning a split against Minnesota, the Huskies got embarrassed by Denver, losing a pair by a combined score of 10-3. Pheonix Copley got both starts in net and didn’t exactly inspire any confidence, as he gave up nine goals on 43 shots. None of the three goalies who have seen playing time so far this year have a save percentage better than .857. Dennis Rix scored both goals Saturday.
7. Wisconsin (1-2-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) — Last week: 10
Apparently an early bye week did the Badgers good, as they bounced back from an 0-2-0 start by taking three of four points at Duluth. Joel Rumpel stopped all 29 shots he faced in a 2-0 win Friday, and Mark Zengerle and Michael Mersch scored third-period goals to force a 2-2 tie Saturday. Rumpel now has a .954 save percentage on the season, good for third in the league.
8. Minnesota-Duluth (2-3-1, 0-1-1 WCHA) — Last week: 6
The Bulldogs managed just one point against Wisconsin as the offense struggled to beat Rumpel. The power play, which had been great in their first four games, went 0-for-7 on the weekend. Matt McNeely stopped 43 of 47 shots in the series and appears to have edged ahead of Aaron Crandall in the battle for playing time.
9. Bemidji State (2-1-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) — Last week: 11
The Beavers went into Omaha and took three of four points, tying 3-3 on Friday and winning 3-2 on Saturday. Andrew Walsh continued his excellent start to the season by stopping 64 of 69 shots on the weekend. His .955 save percentage on the season is second in the WCHA. The Beavers’ penalty kill was a perfect 10-for-10 in the series. David Boehm scored twice in Saturday’s win.
10. Nebraska-Omaha (2-3-1, 0-1-1 WCHA) — Last week: 7
The Mavericks drop three spots after managing just one point against Bemidji. Anthony Stolarz got pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots Saturday, and dropped to 0-3-0 with the loss. Meanwhile, John Faulkner stopped 28 of the 31 shots he face and remained undefeated with Friday’s tie. Josh Archibald was a bright spot offensively, registering two goals and an assist in the series.
11. Alaska-Anchorage (2-2-2, 0-1-1 WCHA) — Last week: 12
Earning one point at North Dakota is just enough to move the Seawolves out of the basement. Alex Gellert had a goal and an assist on the weekend, while Kory Roy had two assists. The Seawolves went 0-for-5 on the power play and are now at a conference-worst 5.3 percent on the season.
12. Minnesota State (2-2-2, 0-2-0 WCHA) — Last week: 9
The Mavericks were undefeated entering the weekend, but now they drop to the bottom after being outscored 10-2 by St. Cloud in a pair of losses. Phil Cook gave up seven goals on 37 shots over two nights, while Stephon Williams was yanked on Saturday after surrendering three goals on 21 shots. The Mavericks went 0-for-7 on the power play and just 8-for-12 on the penalty kill.