IT’S BACK! The Power Rankings make their glorious return this week as most teams from the WCHA were back in action this past weekend. Todd, Kevin, and I spent the weekend in the Soo to cover the Falcons’ games against Lake Superior. The Soo is our favorite road trip, and this year was no exception.
But, it wasn’t as fun for the Falcons on the ice as they split with Lake Superior. Chris Nell continued to be Chris Nell in his return from injury, but the Falcons just couldn’t give the sophomore goaltender the goal support needed to pick up the sweep.
Did the split hurt BG in the Power Rankings? Let’s take a look.
- Michigan Tech: While the Huskies had a long trip out west to Phoenix for the inaugural Desert Classic, I’m sure they didn’t mind getting out of the UP for a weekend. The Huskies beat UConn before taking down a very good Yale team in a shootout Sunday to take the weekend title. But, this weekend they’ll welcome Minnesota State to Houghton in the marquee matchup of the weekend.
- Bowling Green: The Falcons slide down a spot in the first power rankings of 2016. It was encouraging to see Chris Nell return from his injury in such an imposing way. But, until the Falcons learn how to put together a complete weekend they’re going to be chasing an NCAA berth. BG will head south to face a rebuilding Miami squad. Anything short of a win this weekend would be a massive disappointment.
- Minnesota State: For around 22 hours this weekend the Mavs were tied with Bowling Green for #1 in the WCHA. MSU lost at home to Northern Michigan Friday enabling the Falcons to join them for the top spot. But, a Falcon loss Saturday and Maverick win got MSU back to tops in the conference. The Mavs have a very difficult road trip ahead of them as they travel to Houghton to face the Huskies this weekend.
- Northern Michigan: The Wildcats have become a team capable of upsetting any opponent, on any night of the week. They traveled to Mankato and picked up a split against the Mavericks. Continued success like that could earn NMU a home playoff series in two months. They could pick up more ground this weekend against a Nanook team that hasn’t been very good.
- Bemidji State: The Beavers continue to be one of the hottest teams in the league. BSU traveled to Alaska for two weeks, bringing seven points back to the mainland with them. They’ll get a conference reprieve this weekend as they welcome D1 newcomer Arizona State to Bemidji.
- Ferris State: The Bulldogs have been off since 1/2 when they took third place in the Mariucci Classic. FSU has been a difficult team to gauge this season as they fight through some youthful inconsistency. They’ll welcome a Huntsville team that hasn’t been particularly strong recently
- Lake Superior: Every time I see the Lakers play I walk away a little more impressed with their team. It’s easy to draw parallels between the Lakers and the Falcons 4-5 seasons ago. They’re a very tough team to play against and will make you earn every inch of the ice. A strong run could even put the Lakers in pursuit of a home playoff series. They welcome a struggling Anchorage team this weekend.
- Alaska-Anchorage: The Seawolves’ season started so well and then the wheels just fell off. The Seawolves are winless in their last four after an encourage road sweep of Michigan Tech. The Seawolves will have a very long trip this weekend as they head to the Soo to face Lake Superior.
- Alaska: The Nanooks have already played 18 WCHA games. They only have ten conference games left and find themselves in a precarious position near the bottom of the conference. The Alaska schools typically have an excellent home ice advantage. But, the Nanooks are only 3-6-1 at home. They’ll make a long trip this weekend to face Northern Michigan in Marquette.
- Alabama-Huntsville: The Chargers split with a struggling Alaska at home this weekend. But, the loss was a 6-3 shellacking despite only giving up 29 shots. Goaltending was supposed to be the Chargers strong suit. UAH has 12 conference games left to try and make the playoffs. They’re four points from the Alaska schools and only have four games left at home. This weekend they’re on the road at Ferris State.