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.
Of the 12 games played this weekend that involved a WCHA team seven ended in a tie. That’s beyond lame and demonstrates an ongoing issue in college hockey. We’ll eventually cover those issues here, most likely during an off-week, but the WCHA is on a one-way track to a one-bid league when it comes to the NCAA tournament. Ties have a way of cannibalizing a conference and hurting team’s Pairwise numbers.
With that said, the WCHA has some really good games on the docket this week. Before we get there we just have one thing to do…
TO THE RANKINGS!
- Bowling Green: HOMER (There, I did it for you). The Falcons are on a three-game winning streak after a 3-2, 4-3 sweep over Alabama-Huntsville this weekend. BG has scored at least three goals in each of those games. Add in a team that is showing excellent defense/goaltending and you have the start of a formula for a Falcon team prime for a nice run heading towards Christmas. If BG starts scoring goals in bunches? Happy Falcons fans. They look to build on their nine-game home unbeaten streak as they welcome Northern Michigan to the Madhouse this weekend.
- Michigan Tech: The Huskies played their first out-of-conference game this past weekend against Michigan State. The Huskies won Saturday before losing in a shootout Sunday. While the shootout will go down as a tie, it’s probably a touch disappointing to not sweep the Spartans. Jamie Phillips gave up eight goals on the weekend which pushes his stats to a pedestrian 2.47 GAA and .910 SV%. Still, the Huskies are tied for #1 in the conference standings. MTU heads to Fairbanks this weekend to face the Nanooks.
- Minnesota State: Speaking of teams that aren’t scoring as much as they expected we come to the Mavericks. While Minnesota State did bring two points hope to Mankato, they managed only three goals on the weekend in their pair of ties with Northern Michigan. MSU had 66 shots on the weekend so the lack of offense wasn’t from a lack of trying. This weekend’s tilt with Alaska-Anchorage will probably be the marquee match-up in the conference.
- Northern Michigan: The Wildcats had a tough match-up last weekend with Minnesota State coming to the UP. But, more excellent goaltending from Atte Tolvanen earned NMU two points in the standings. The only question is whether they start to find some offense to go with that goaltending. The Wildcats have a long eight-hour drive south to Bowling Green this weekend. That matchup might just be for the #2 spot in the conference.
- Alaska-Anchorage: In the other Big 10 matchup the Seawolves faced Penn State in Anchorage. The Nittany Lions are probably a top 2 or 3 team in the Big Ten this weekend. But, UAA had a disappointing weekend as they got throttled Friday 5-2 before tying PSU 1-1 on Saturday. Matt Thomas is hoping the weekend was just a speed bump and not a sign of things to come. The Seawolves head to Mankato this weekend to face the Mavs.
- Alaska: To be honest six and seven are pretty much interchangeable. But, in this case Alaska headed to Ferris State and brought home two points. That gives them the edge over number seven. The Nanooks needed a weekend to show some consistency and they did that against the Bulldogs. They do face a tough pair of games this weekend as they head back home to welcome Michigan Tech.
- Ferris State: Like I said, six and seven are pretty much interchangeable. But, as a home team you’d like to take more points than the visiting squad. The Bulldogs have come down to earth a bit after a nice start to their season as they’re 1-2-2 in their last five games. They’ll head up to the Soo this weekend to face a Lakers squad coming off a three point weekend.
- Lake Superior: That was a much better weekend for the Lakers after getting swept by Arizona State at home the week before. The Lakers headed west to Bemidji winning Friday 3-2 before tying 1-1 on Saturday. The Beavers haven’t exactly set the world on fire this weekend, but the sign of a maturing team is beating the opponents lower than you on the standings. They’ll face a tough slate this weekend as Ferris State comes to town.
- Alabama-Huntsville: Let me first say that the Chargers by no means played poorly this past weekend in Bowling Green. They had decent goal tending, excellent power plays, and made the orange and brown fans nervous Saturday night. But, the truth of the matter is they were swept on a weekend that they probably should have earned at least a point or two. For a team that’s trying to break into the top-half of the league it just wasn’t a positive weekend. They’ll get their rival Bemidji State in a bizarre Wednesday/Friday match-up at home in ‘Bama.
- Bemidji State: What in the world has happened to the Beavers? Many expected BSU to be towards the top of the league, not in the cellar. They had a great opportunity this weekend to pick up three or four points on Lake Superior. Instead, the Lakers only found the net three times as they lost Friday 3-2 before tying Saturday 1-1. They have a “Basement Battle” this weekend against their rival Alabama-Huntsville who is one point ahead of them in the WCHA standings. The panic button needs to get pressed or the season might spiral for the Beavers.