It was an entertaining yet unsurprising weekend in the WCHA. One could easily say that the North Dakota win was not a surprise, but the way that they dominated the Huskies of Saint Cloud State in the 8-1 win Saturday.
North Dakota is known for their second half season comebacks and domination, but it hasn’t been there this year. Maybe this is the giant awakening. Or the games at Saint Cloud meant more seeing that Marvin of SCSU put Chay Genoway on the shelf earlier in the year from an illegal hit. One way or another, the Bulldogs are in Grand Forks this weekend and have to deal with the Sioux.
Rankings. With an off weekend, the Bulldogs climbed in the polls. Their rise was due mainly to other teams, namely Bemidji State, losing games. UMD moved up to #6 in both the USCHO Poll and USA Today/USA Hockey Poll. INCH Power Ranking places the Bulldogs at #9, up two places from last week. And in the all important PWR, UMD is currently tied for 9th place.
WCHA Men - 2009-2010 Standings
Pts GP Record
1 Denver 32 22 14- 4- 4
2 St. Cloud State 31 24 14- 7- 3
3 Minnesota Duluth 29 22 14- 7- 1
Wisconsin 29 22 13- 6- 3
5 Colorado College 25 22 11- 8- 3
6 North Dakota 21 22 9-10- 3
7 Minnesota 18 22 8-12- 2
Alaska Anchorage 18 24 8-14- 2
9 Minnesota State 13 22 6-15- 1
10 Michigan Tech 8 22 4-18- 0
WCHA Outlook. Sitting down and examining the remaining three weeks of the conference season has taken me to make the ultimate prediction of looking where all the teams will finish. Without going into all the wins and losses, I have included below my believed final standings with conference points.
HighHorse WCHA Men - 2009-2010 Predicted Standings
1 Denver 41
2 Wisconsin 39
3 St. Cloud State 36
Minnesota Duluth 36
5 Colorado College 33
6 North Dakota 27
7 Alaska Anchorage 22
8 Minnesota 21
9 Minnesota State 17
10 Michigan Tech 8
Hopefully, and likely, I under counted the UMD remaining wins. They are not playing good hockey leading into their week off last week, so it may be a good prediction in the end. According to Drew Akins Blog, the team is rested, focused and ready to play. In this scenario, UMD would lose the 3rd spot in the tie breaker and get the Seawolves in the first round. The 4th place woul be awarded to SCSU based on their 3 head to head points out of 4 against UMD. Thanks for commenter who alerted me to my mistake.
Saint Cloud State has a hard road in front of them in their remaining games and that sees them take a drop.
Wisconsin is surging and will try to make the top, but will run out of time.
Two teams that are “wild card” teams in the bottom half of the standings meaning that they have it in them to be a top half team, but have ended in the bottom half. Those two teams are North Dakota and Minnesota. Drawing Minnesota in the first round will likely be a challenge, but there is a reason why they end up on the road for the first round. And really, the reason that Minnesota ends in 8th is a win that I counted by Alaska – Anchorage against UMD. Again, I may have underrated this UMD team, but they are the ones who have to go and win the games to prove this prediction right or wrong.