The Golden Gophers are again our No. 1 team in the WCHA following a three-point weekend at home to arch-rival North Dakota; St. Cloud State’s up three spots after throttling Denver; and Wisconsin is back among the nation’s top 20 teams.
1.) MINNESOTA (17-3-4, 9-3-4 WCHA)
Last time: W v North Dakota 5-1 Jan. 18; T v North Dakota 4-4 Jan. 19
Next time: V Minnesota State Friday; at Minnesota State Saturday
- The Golden Gophers remain the top team in both the WCHA and the whole of Division I after picking up three big points at home last weekend against fifth-ranked North Dakota. Things don’t get much easier this week for Don Lucia’s Minnesota team, though, as it prepares for a home-and-home series against a Minnesota State club that beat the Gophers in Mankato back on Nov. 3.
2.) ST. CLOUD STATE (14-10-0, 11-5-0)
Last time: W v Denver 5-2 Jan. 18; W v Denver 5-1 Jan. 19
Next time: At North Dakota Friday and Saturday
- The Huskies are the biggest movers in this week’s rankings, up three spots after shellacking Denver at home. SCSU is certainly a very good team, but ten Husky goals past two of the WCHA’s best goaltenders wasn’t something most people expected last weekend.
3.) NORTH DAKOTA (13-7-4, 8-4-4)
Last time: L at Minnesota 5-1 Jan. 18; T at Minnesota 4-4 Jan. 19
Next time: V St. Cloud State Friday and Saturday
- Carrying a two-goal lead into the final ten minutes of last weekend’s series at Minnesota, UND probably ought to have picked up a series split after having been soundly beaten the night before, but a late Gopher comeback on Saturday put paid to that idea. The good news now is that Dave Hakstol’s bunch gets to play this weekend at home in Grand Forks, but the bad is that they’re facing a St. Cloud team that just took one of the country’s top-ten teams behind the shed.
4.) DENVER (13-8-4, 8-6-4)
Last time: L at St. Cloud State Jan. 18; L at St. Cloud State Jan. 19
Next time: Idle this week; at Minnesota Duluth Feb. 1-2
- Was last weekend’s drab showings in St. Cloud, Minn. a return to the form DU experienced earlier this season that saw the Pioneers go 0-5-3 between Nov. 23 and Dec. 15, or just a blip on the radar? We’ll have to wait a couple weeks to see how George Gwozdecky’s Pios respond.
5.) NEBRASKA OMAHA (13-9-2, 5-9-2)
Last time: Idle last week; L at Denver 7-4 Jan. 11; T at Denver 3-3 Jan. 12
Next time: At Bemidji State Friday and Saturday
- UNO was the only team in the WCHA that didn’t play last weekend, and there isn’t much new to report regarding the Mavericks. No news is usually good news at this point in the season, though.
6.) WISCONSIN (9-8-5, 6-5-5)
Last time: W v Miami 1-0 Jan. 18; L v Miani 2-1 Jan. 19
Next time: V Alaska Anchorage Friday and Saturday
- The Badgers saw their 11-game unbeaten streak snapped last Saturday at home to then eighth-ranked Miami, but UW fans can’t complain about a split against a team as solid as the RedHawks. Mike Eaves’ men are at home again on the Kohl Center ice this weekend against last-place Alaska Anchorage, a team UW swept on the road earlier this month.
7.) MINNESOTA STATE (15-8-3, 9-5-1)
Last time: T at Alaska Anchorage 3-3 Jan. 18; W at Alaska Anchorage 4-0 Jan. 19
Next time: At Minnesota Friday; v Minnesota Saturday
- MSU had won four in a row and 11 of its last 12 before being swept at Wisconsin two weeks ago, but the Mavericks bounced back well last weekend in picking up three points in Anchorage. Minnesota will prove a much tougher test this week, although, again, MSU has already knocked off the Gophers once before earlier this season.
8.) MINNESOTA DULUTH (10-11-3, 8-7-3)
Last time: W at Colorado College 3-2 Jan. 18; L at Colorado College 5-1 Jan. 19
Next time: V U.S. Under-18 Team Saturday
- UMD is absolutely still in the hunt to get home ice in the first round of the WCHA playoffs, and Friday’s 3-2 win at Colorado College helped, but the 5-1 loss to the Tigers the following night was unacceptable from the Bulldogs’ perspective. Things may need to change considerably before Denver comes to town at the start of next month for UMD’s next two league games.
9.) COLORADO COLLEGE (10-14-2, 7-10-1)
Last time: L v Minnesota Duluth 3-2 Jan. 18; W v Minnesota Duluth 5-1 Jan. 19
Next time: Idle this week; at Alaska Anchorage Feb. 1-2
- CC has struggled throughout this season, but splits the last two weekends, first at North Dakota and then at home last weekend to UMD, were nothing for the Tigers to turn their noses up at. Scott Owens’ CC club will want to keep momentum going this week, and a good showing at UAA could see the Tigers get back into contention for a place in the WCHA’s top six.
10.) MICHIGAN TECH (7-12-4, 4-10-4)
Last time: W v Bemidji State 4-0 Jan. 18; T v Bemidji State 2-2 Jan. 19
Next time: Idle this week; at Nebraska Omaha Feb. 1-2
- Things haven’t been going quite so great for Mel Pearson’s Huskies since MTU won its first Great Lakes Invitation title in a generation at the end of December. Tech is 1-2-1 since its triumph in Detroit, and more will be expected from the Huskies if they want to be at home for the first round of the playoffs.
11.) BEMIDJI STATE (5-12-5, 4-8-4)
Last time: L at Michigan Tech 4-0 Jan. 18; T at Michigan Tech 2-2 Jan. 19
Next time: V Nebraska Omaha Friday and Saturday
- Tom Serratore’s Beavers needed a good couple of showings at Michigan Tech last weekend, but BSU only came away with one point from the four on offer. This week, the Beavers host a Nebraska Omaha team that took three points from BSU the last time the Mavericks visited Bemidji, Minn..
12.) ALASKA ANCHORAGE (3-14-5, 1-13-4)
Last time: T v Minnesota State 3-3 Jan. 18; L v Minnesota State 4-0 Jan. 19
Next time: At Wisconsin Friday and Saturday
- UAA is playing some of its best hockey of the season so far these days, but the Seawolves haven’t been able to convert the better efforts into points. That might not happen this week, either, as UAA travels to face No. 20 Wisconsin.