Each week (or somewhere close to that) Drew Evans will bring you his WCHA Power Rankings. Comment below if you agree, disagree, or if this post has made you challenge whether you really believe in freedom of speech.
All is right with the world: Minnesota State had an impressive sweep, it’s dark at 5pm, and it’s forecasted to be in the 70s in Bowling Green this week; Fall in Ohio ladies and gentlemen.
On to the rankings!
- Minnesota State: It looks like the Mavs have finally gotten that thing looked at that they were dealing with early in the season, and posted a sweep over the visiting Hockey Bears this weekend. Add in the emergence of freshman goaltender Jason Pawloski and you have a pretty decent one-two punch in net along with Cole Huggins. They face off against a better-than-expected Ferris State this weekend on the road, though.
- Alaska-Anchorage: I know what you’re thinking – BG gets split by the Seawolves so they get to jump up the list. But, the Seawolves have proven an ability to go on the road and get a sweep as they did to the resurgent Chargers earlier this season. I did have to scratch my head at BG having to play a Saturday/Sunday game due to Halloween. Even the changed date/time still drew nothing but gnats. Matt Thomas is also a little upset he has to have a bye week given his team’s hot start.
- Alabama-Huntsville: 28 hours is around how long the Chargers spent total in a bus this weekend as they trekked up to The Soo. The travel time was well spent as Huntsville picked up their first road sweep since the 2009 season. The curious issue did arise, however, that goaltender Matt Larose had the better weekend than assumed #1 Carmine Guerriero. A goaltending controversy can either bring out the best or the worst in a team. If they can figure that out and keep Brennan Saulnier from taking off any more heads then the Chargers could raise some eyebrows.
- Ferris State: The Macinnes Student Ice Arena is probably the hardest rink to play in for visiting teams in the league. The Bulldogs went in to Houghton and pushed the Huskies to the brink. While only managing a OT loss/win split they were dangerously close to taking three points home with them. Bob Daniels had to re-build the Bulldogs post-Motte and seem to be taking steps to do so. But, they’ll face a serious test as they welcome a red-hot Minnesota State squad this weekend.
- Bowling Green: Getting a split in Alaska is something that no coach will every admit to being happy with (they actually are pleasantly pleased). But, some of the holes in the Falcons still took on some water this weekend. Probably the most startling at this point is the possible injury to senior defenseman Jose Delgadillo. The Falcons were already paper thin on the blue line, so the hope is for nothing serious. Otherwise the Falcons will feature only five healthy defensemen. The power play improved Sunday as they scored their first man-advantage goal. But, a short week, short defensive bench, and a pesky Lakers squad brings up the possibility of a trap game Friday.
- Michigan Tech: the Huskies have quietly moved to 2nd in the league with 6 points. They’ve also yet to play a game outside of the conference so it’s hard to tell how they’d do outside the intensity of a conference game. But, a weekend split with Ferris State did expose Jamie Phillips a bit as he gave up six goals on the weekend, including a couple head scratchers that you’d expect the best conference goalie to make. They head south this weekend to play a confident Charger squad in a very long trip for them.
- Northern Michigan: Shutouts are good. Giving up 46 shots in said shutout isn’t as good. Bemidji State and Northern Michigan tied to a 0-0 tie Friday before the Wildcats took the Saturday tilt 3-1. Carmine Guerriero of UAH might be showing what that kind of shot count can do to a goalie. Walt Kyle is probably going to be working on defense this week so he doesn’t have to rely on a 35-50 save performance every night.
- Alaska: The Nanooks baffle me. They’re a team with probably the best league player in Tyler Morley but they’ve started the season 2-4-0. And, Morley had to sit out Saturday’s game after a particularly nasty check which saw Morley leave his skates and hit a defenseless Maverick in the head with his shoulder. There’s still a chance for them to turn things around, but when your best player is taking shots like that it’s not a positive step forward to build from.
- Bemidji State: Let me preface this by saying the following: I don’t think the Beavers are necessarily playing bad hockey right now. But the level of underperformance this early is a bit troubling. They peppered Northern Michigan with 46 shots on Friday and still only managed a 0-0 tie. Then, on Saturday, they lose 3-1 despite outshooting the Wildcats 35-22. The Beavs need offense and they need it yesterday. A bye week might be just what they need.
- Lake Superior: Overtime losses, like the 5-4 decision that the Lakers dropped to the Chargers, can be a punch in the gut. Following that up by getting shutout 4-0 all while playing at home? That’s an eight count knockdown. The Lakers are a team that has shutout Northern Michigan and upset Michigan State in East Lansing. But, they looked lost and confused at times Saturday. I’d expect them to come out swinging Friday in Bowling Green.