This will be the last Power Rankings until after the new year. I wish we could personally wish you all a very happy and safe holidays, but please let this act as our good tidings to all of our readers!
The final WCHA weekend of the first half was just as frenetic as the weeks prior. The Falcons and Mavericks picked up sweeps, Michigan Tech seemed to get back on track, and the Nanooks finally showed some life in the opening games of the Governor’s Cup.
Where do all the teams fall in this week’s Power Rankings? Let’s take a look:
- Bowling Green: All things considered, Bemidji may be the hardest road trip for the Falcons. It’s 15 hours by bus, frequently the team runs into bad weather, and the Sanford Center hasn’t been friendly to the Falcons. BG exorcised some demons this past weekend as they swept the Beavers 4-1, 2-0. Chris Nell continued his dominance in net, and the Minnesota boys had a good homecoming. No team is hotter in the WCHA than the Falcons right now.
- Minnesota State: Things started out a little troubling for the Mavs in both games past weekend. Alabama-Huntsville actually went to the locker room at the first intermission with a 1-0 lead both nights. But, MSU were able to overwhelm UAH and pick up the weekend sweep. Minnesota State sits on top of the WCHA and continues to be the team to beat for every conference foe. The only question going forward for the Mavs is if they’ll be able to outpace the Falcons.
- Michigan Tech: After tying the Lakers 1-1 Friday night I’m guessing Mel Pearson made the paint melt in the locker room after that game. Saturday the Huskies took out weeks of frustration as they throttled Lake Superior 6-2. While the Huskies sit only one point back from the Falcons, the Mavs and BG have two games in-hand over MTU. The Huskies will need to play some great hockey to make up their lost ground.
- Northern Michigan: Even though the Wildcats only split with Ferris State this weekend (2-4, 3-2), Walt Kyle has NMU playing solidly at the half-way point (something you’ve been able to say for quite a few years). Excellent goaltending has the Wildcats sniffing a home playoff spot. We’ll have to see if they can keep that going into 2016.
- Ferris State: The Bulldogs had a tremendous start to their season, but have cooled a bit as the calendar has flipped. Still, if the season were to end today FSU would be sleeping in their own beds for a playoff series. The Bulldogs will need to improve their defense if they want to keep that home layoff spot (they have a -5 goal differential in conference play).
- Alaska-Anchorage: The Seawolves could have all but clinched the Governor’s Cup this weekend in Anchorage. Instead, they’ll need to head to Fairbanks in February and pick up three points for a chance against their rival. After losing to the Nanooks 2-1 Friday they held out for a 1-1 tie Saturday. UAA needs to start walking on better footing or they’ll be flying in March.
- Lake Superior: Let me apologize to the Lakers. Last week I had them at #4 in these rankings. The power rankings jinx is a thing people. The Lakers had a decent game Friday as they tied 1-1. But, Michigan Tech absolutely dominated the Lakers Saturday in a 6-2 rout. Still, the Lakers are in good shape for the second half barring a collapse.
- Alaska: While it’s an encourage step for UAF to pick up three points on a WCHA weekend, you have to wonder how much of their play was based on the intensity of having your rival. Assuming some type of chaos doesn’t happen in the second half, the ‘nooks probably are on the road in the playoffs (if they make the cut).
- Bemidji State: The biggest thing that will drop you in the rankings is getting swept at home. The Beavers did just that in 4-1, 2-0 losses to Bowling Green. The Beavers will be fighting for a playoff spot in the second half after many thought they’d possibly be playing for a series at home.
- Alabama-Huntsville: You have to give some credit to the Chargers for the way they were able to jump out to early leads on Minnesota State. But, the truth is the Chargers have only won a pair of WCHA games and the rest of the pack is starting to separate. Mike Corbett has done a wonderful job in getting the UAH program back on solid footing. He’ll need to lead the Chargers over the next hump as Huntsville fights for a playoff spot.