POWAR!1ONE Rankings: Top four hold firm

Nebraska Omaha and North Dakota took part on Saturday in both teams' first-ever outdoor hockey game at Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park. (Photo credit: Matthew Semisch)

Nebraska Omaha and North Dakota took part on Saturday in both teams’ first-ever outdoor hockey game at Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park. (Photo credit: Matthew Semisch)

The WCHA’s top four teams stay where they are in this week’s rankings; Colorado College is up after taking three points last weekend from arch-rival Denver; and Alaska Anchorage is still in with a shout to finish the WCHA regular season out of the league basement.

1.) MINNESOTA (19-5-4, 11-5-4 WCHA)
Last time: W at St. Cloud State 4-2 Feb. 8; L at St. Cloud State 4-3 Feb. 9
Next time: At Wisconsin Friday; V Wisconin Sunday in Chicago

  • The Golden Gophers’ trip to St. Cloud State last weekend for the teams’ WCHA top-two showdown went as pretty much everyone expected: A split. This week, Minnesota faces border rival Wisconsin in Madison on Friday before squaring off with the Badgers again on Sunday outdoors at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

2.) ST. CLOUD STATE (18-11-1, 15-6-1)
Last time: L v Minnesota 4-2 Feb. 8; W v Minnesota 4-3 Feb. 9
Next time: Idle this week; At Colorado College Feb. 22-23

  • Husky Nation will be happy enough with last weekend’s split against the Gophers, seeing as SCSU is still at the top of the WCHA standings, if not in this set of rankings. Their team is off this week before heading west in a fortnight to face a Colorado College team that isn’t yet out of the picture for home ice in the first round of the league playoffs.

3.) NORTH DAKOTA (16-8-6, 11-5-6)
Last time: W at Nebraska Omaha 2-1 Feb. 8; W at Nebraska Omaha 5-2 Feb. 9
Next time: Idle this week; At Denver Feb. 22-23

  • North Dakota wowed the Omaha crowd last weekend in terms of both its play on the ice and its fan involvement – An estimated 5,000 UND fans made the trip down I-29 to see their team play UNO once indoors and once out in both schools’ first-ever outdoor hockey game. UND eked out a 2-1 win on Friday before giving UNO a 5-2 pounding at TD Ameritrade Park on Saturday, and the Green and White now are idle until they head to Denver in two weeks’ time for another big rivalry series for both teams.

4.) NEBRASKA OMAHA (16-12-2, 12-8-2)
Last time: L v North Dakota 2-1 Feb. 8; L v North Dakota 5-2 Feb. 9
Next time: At Alaska Anchorage Friday and Saturday

  • UNO’s all-time series with UND had been split down the middle, 3-3-0, before last weekend’s two-game set, and all had been close, exciting games. Both games this last weekend were exciting, too, but Saturday’s wasn’t particularly close, and the Mavericks have now lost their last three games heading into this weekend’s series at an Alaska Anchorage team that has been – considering its last-place position in the league – more decent hockey over the past few weeks.

5.) WISCONSIN (12-9-7, 9-6-7)
Last tine: T v Bemidji State 2-2 Feb. 8; W v Bemidji State 3-2 Feb. 9
Next time: V Minnesota Friday; V Minnesota Sunday in Chicago

  • Last week’s games at the Kohl Center brought together two of the WCHA’s lowest-scoring teams, and it showed on the ice. Still, the Badgers will have been happy to pick up three points from Bemidji State, and they’ll be set this weekend to fave arch-rival Minnesota.

6.) DENVER (15-9-5, 12-7-5)
Last time: T v Colorado College 1-1 Feb. 8; OTL at Colorado College 6-5 Feb. 9
Next time: Idle this week; V North Dakota Feb. 22-23

  • DU’s tie at home to Colorado College and OT loss at CC last weekend were just about the last things the Pioneers need right now. The middle of the WCHA pack is still very tight – Denver, Minnesota State and Wisconsin are all tied for third place on 25 points – and DU needs to pick up as many points as possible down the home stretch to make sure they lock up a final position in the top six.

7.) MINNESOTA STATE (18-9-3, 12-9-1)
Last time: W at Minnesota Duluth 4-2 Feb. 8; W at Minnesota Duluth 5-1 Feb. 9
Next time: V Michigan Tech Friday and Saturday

  • Last weekend was a bad weekend for Minnesota Duluth, but Minnesota State won’t care. The Mavericks came into Duluth’s Amsoil Arena and tore the Bulldogs up twice on UMD’s own ice, and MSU should still be in high spirits when it welcomes Michigan Tech to Mankato this weekend.

8.) MICHIGAN TECH (9-14-4, 6-12-4)
Last time: L v Alaska Anchorage 5-4 Feb. 8; W v Alaska Anchorage 6-1 Feb. 9
Next time: V Northern Michigan Tuesday; At Minnesota State Friday and Saturday

  • The Huskies hoped to keep its momentum from a split at Nebraska Omaha two weeks ago rolling last weekend at home to Alaska Anchorage, but it didn’t happen. UAA picked up its first win since Dec. 1 last Friday in Houghton, and MTU will feel that it missed an opportunity to pick up maximum points from its series with the Seawolves ahead of a busy three-game slate this week.

9.) COLORADO COLLEGE (11-4-5, 8-10-4)
Last time: T at Denver 1-1 Feb. 8; OTW v Denver 6-5 Feb. 9
Next time: Idle this week; V St. Cloud State Feb. 22-23

  • The Tigers are up one spot after taking three points last weekend in its second home-and-home series of the season against arch-rival Denver. CC is off this week before hosting St. Cloud State at the World Arena in two weeks’ time.

10.) MINNESOTA DULUTH (10-15-3, 8-11-3)
Last time: L v Minnesota State 4-2 Feb. 8; L v Minnesota State 5-1 Feb. 9
Next time: At Bemidji State Friday and Saturday

  • Things could be going a lot better for head coach Scott Sandelin’s Bulldogs at the moment. UMD has lost each of its last five non-exhibition games, and the Bulldogs are now six points adrift of the top-six cutoff point with six league games remaining.

11.) BEMIDJI STATE (5-17-6, 4-13-5)
Last time: T at Wisconsin 2-2 Feb. 8; L at Wisconsin 3-2 Feb. 9
Next time: V Minnesota Duluth Friday and Saturday

  • BSU picked up a good point last Friday at Wisconsin and perhaps deserved more from the weekend than it got. There’s good news, though, in that the Beavers this weekend host a UMD team whose chance at home ice in the playoffs is now on life support.

12.) ALASKA ANCHORAGE (4-17-7, 2-16-6)
Last time: W at Michigan Tech 5-4 Feb. 8; L at Michigan Tech 6-1 Feb. 9
Next time: V Nebraska Omaha Friday & Saturday

  • It’s hard to imagine the gamut of emotions UAA’s players, coaches and fans ran through last Friday when the Seawolves picked up their first win since the beginning of September. UAA’s chances of climbing out of the WCHA cellar are looking better all the time these days, and the hope in Anchorage is that its team can keep on that track this week at home to a UNO team that has lost its last three games.
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