WCHA Power Rankings: 11/7/12

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

This week’s rankings feature a new No. 1 and a bunch of movement among the bottom seven teams. Let’s get right to it.

1. Denver (5-1-0, 3-1-0 WCHA) — Last week: 2
The Pioneers suffered their first loss Friday, falling 3-0 to St. Cloud, but they bounced back with a 6-1 win Saturday. Normally a split wouldn’t be enough to move into first, but Minnesota’s split was worse than Denver’s, and those two were neck-and-neck before the weekend. Chris Knowlton had a hat trick Saturday, while Nick Shore continued his strong start with two points. Denver is first in the WCHA in both offense and defense.

2. Minnesota (5-2-0, 2-2-0 WCHA) — Last week: 1
The Gophers fall out of the top spot after splitting with Minnesota State. They won 3-2 on Friday before losing 5-3 on Saturday. Saturday marked Adam Wilcox’s first loss and first game in which he’s allowed more than two goals. Erik Haula had four points on the weekend, while Nate Schmidt had three. The Gophers went 4-for-11 on the power play and are now second in the league at 22.6 percent on the season.

3. North Dakota (3-2-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) — Last week: 3
North Dakota split a home series against Boston University, winning 4-2 on Friday before giving up three late goals and losing 4-2 on Saturday. Connor Gaarder registered a hat trick Friday, while Rocco Grimaldi, Danny Kristo and Mark MacMillan all had multipoint weekends. Clarke Saunders continued to play well in goal Friday, but Zane Gothberg struggled in his second career start Saturday.

4. St. Cloud State (5-3-0, 3-1-0 WCHA) — Last week: 4
The Huskies extended their winning streak to five by beating Denver 3-0 on Friday, but then they lost 6-1 on Saturday. Nic Dowd scored twice on Friday and now leads the league in both goals (6) and points (12), while Kalle Kossila added his fourth goal of the year. Ryan Faragher made 28 saves on Friday to earn his second shutout, but then he got pulled on Saturday.

5. Colorado College (5-3-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 5
The Tigers ended a three-game losing streak by sweeping Wisconsin. Alexander Krushelnyski scored in overtime to give them a 5-4 win Friday, then Joe Howe stopped all 33 shots he faced in a 3-0 shutout Saturday. Howe is now 2-0-0 on the season, and it looks like he could challenge Josh Thorimbert for more playing time moving forward. CC went 3-for-5 on the power play in the series.

6. Nebraska-Omaha (4-3-1, 2-1-1 WCHA) — Last week: 10
In addition to earning our Team of the Week honors, the Mavericks also make the biggest jump in these rankings after sweeping Michigan Tech. Zahn Raubenheimer was the star on offense, as he scored four goals in the series. Josh Archibald scored a pair of goals, while Ryan Walters and Johnnie Searfoss each had three-point weekends. John Faulkner got both starts in net and remains undefeated on the season.

7. Bemidji State (2-1-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) — Last week: 9
The Beavers didn’t play last weekend, but they move up two spots for a couple reasons. One- two of the teams that were in front of them got swept. Two- taking three of four points from UNO two weeks looks even better after the Mavericks’ sweep of Michigan Tech. I considered keeping the Beavers ahead of UNO, but moving up three spots after a bye felt like a little much.

8. Minnesota-Duluth (2-3-1, 0-1-1 WCHA) — Last week: 8
The Bulldogs stay at eight after not playing last weekend. They begin a stretch of four straight on the road when they face UNO this weekend.

9. Minnesota State (3-3-2, 1-3-1 WCHA) — Last week: 12
The Mavericks move up three spots after earning a big split against Minnesota. Dylan Margonari scored what proved to be Saturday’s game-winner with 3:41 left in regulation, while Jean-Paul Lafontaine had a goal and an assist in the game. The Mavericks still need better goaltending, and they have the worst penalty kill in the conference, but Saturday’s win was definitely a big step.

10. Alaska-Anchorage (2-2-2, 0-1-1 WCHA) — Last week: 11
The Seawolves had the weekend off, but they move up one spot to make room at the bottom for the two teams that got swept.

11. Wisconsin (1-4-1, 1-2-1 WCHA) — Last week: 7
The Badgers drop four spots after getting swept at home by Colorado College. If the sweep wasn’t bad enough, Wisconsin also lost its offensive star, Mark Zengerle, for four to six weeks to a broken finger. That could be devastating for an offense that already ranks last in the league with just 1.83 goals per game.

12. Michigan Tech (2-6-0, 1-5-0 WCHA) — Last week: 6
The Huskies have now lost five in a row after getting swept by Nebraska-Omaha, and they drop to the bottom of these rankings as a result. Pheonix Copley continued to struggle mightily in goal on Saturday, and the Huskies continue to rank last in the conference in defense. Kevin Genoe provided some hope, though, stopping 41 of 43 shots on the weekend.

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