Thursday, February 18, 2010

UPDATED: Push to the End of the WCHA Season

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.


  1. I'm pretty sure SCSU wins the tie breaker with UMD as they took 3 of 4 points from the 'dogs during the season.

  2. Thank you for the heads up. I jumped straight to the second tie-breaker, total conference wins, forgetting about head to head.