Yes, I know, I’m slacking.
As I’m sure is the case with just about every one of you, the holiday season gets a little hectic. Family obligations, Christmas shopping, traveling, all that fun stuff complicates your life. Well, the same is true at USA Hockey, where we’re working on the Olympic preview issue. That means no time to do anything other than work on player bios and similar equally fun things.
As with Tuesday’s Morning Observations, this will be the last Power Rankings of 2013, since the only teams that will be in action during the holidays are BG, Michigan Tech and Huntsville.
Since the last time we got together, a lot has happened. Huntsville finally won a game (and lost three more), Ferris realized it had nowhere else to climb in the WCHA, so started climbing the national ladder and Minnesota State finally remembered it was supposed to be good this season. Exciting!
On another WCHA note, trivia time! Did you know that the Broadmoor Trophy, given to the tournament champion at the end of the season, is named (and replicated) after a hotel here in Colorado Springs? Not just any hotel, perhaps the fanciest hotel I have ever stepped foot in. Seriously. I went there one day wearing a polo shirt and jeans and I looked like an idiot because everyone else was wearing suits and equally expensive attire. Does this mean the WCHA is elitist? Discuss!
1. Ferris State (LW: 1): Since we last met, Ferris swept Lake, tied Michigan and shut out Michigan State. That’s pretty much been par for the course for the Bulldogs this season, who are now 14-2-3 on the season, No. 2 in the country and four points clear of everyone in the WCHA standings. If things fall right, Ferris has a chance to face off against Minnesota the first weekend of January in the Mariucci Classic at Minnesota. That could end up being the best game of the regular season. I also bet Ferris is laughing at the NCHC saying, “You guys could’ve had this.”
2. Minnesota State (LW: 3): As we briefly touched on above, the Mavericks finally have their stuff together. Despite losing Tuesday to the U.S. Junior Team (the team that will be playing at the WJC in Sweden, not the U-18 Team), the Mavs have won seven-straight games that count, outscoring teams 27-11 in that span. So yeah, they’re back. On a slightly funnier note, in that game against the U.S. junior team, freshman forward Zach Stepan switched sides to play against his college ‘mates. That had to be a little weird for everyone involved. Also on a funnier note, the Mavs begin the second half with back-to-back weekend sets IN Alaska. That could be classified as cruel and unusual punishment in some countries.
3. Lake Superior (LW: 2): Despite whom they lost two, it still wasn’t a good two weeks for the Lakers. They followed their sweep of BG, the Lakers got swept by Ferris (no shame in that) but then split with Anchorage. There is a little shame in that. Although it was in Alaska, so I guess that’s excusable. I originally had them at five when I typed this out, so yes I’m contradicting myself all over the place.
4. Bowling Green (LW: 5): I really don’t think BG deserves to be here, because losing to Huntsville is not a good thing. But the Falcons rebounded nicely last weekend and, quite frankly, their last two weeks were better than the other teams I considered for this spot.
5. Bemidji State (LW: 6): Time to give the Beavers a little love. They’ve held serve so far this season, and are currently tied for third in the league (albeit with two more games played than the two teams directly behind them). I was pretty set to move them into that third spot and then I noticed their record the last two weeks: 0-1-3. Yes, that’s not a typo. The sad part is they aren’t the only WCHA team with that distinct two-week pattern.
6. Michigan Tech (LW: 4): Yes, not a typo. Tech was the team that tied Bemidji twice, and followed that up with a 0-1-1 weekend against BG. That’s weird to me to see a team tie three times in four games but I guess that speaks to how even the grand majority of the teams in the WCHA are.
7. Alaska Anchorage (LW: 9): The Seawolves had an OK two weeks, going 2-2-0. But, naturally, every game they played was in the state of Alaska so throw up an asterisk next to that. Technically, they’re tied for fifth in the standings, but they’ve played two more games than Lake and Tech have, so that will likely change moving forward. On the season, they have still yet to win a game on the road, posting a 0-5-1 record.
8. Northern Michigan (LW: 7): The Wildcats went 0-4 the past two weeks, but had the misfortune of playing Minnesota State and North Dakota. They’re eighth in the league standings, but at 10 conference games played, they will have the opportunity to make up some ground moving forward.
9. Alaska (LW: 8): They went 2-1-1 the last two weekends, so they are at least heading the in right direction. The problem is they’re already in a pretty deep hole and nine points in 12 games. They start the second half against Mankato and at BG, so not exactly the easiest beginning for trying to play catch-up.
10. Alabama-Huntsville (LW: 10): They finally won a game, which you knew would happen eventually because it’s really hard to go winless in college hockey. The 2009-10 BG team is the team I use to measure terribleness and even that team managed to win five games. A few weeks ago I angered some guy who writes some website that covers the team, to the point that he wrote an entire post about me and it was literally the funniest thing I have ever experienced.