POWAR!1ONE Rankings: Minnesota makes a statement

Minnesota’s 2012-13 season is off to a flying start, with the Golden Gophers having swept Michigan State 5-1 and 7-1 this weekend in Minneapolis. (Photo credit: Matthew Semisch)

The Golden Gophers annihilate a fellow future Big Ten member; Nebraska Omaha finishes second at the Icebreaker; and Alaska Anchorage wins its own tournament.

1.) MINNESOTA (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Last time: A home sweep over Michigan State (5-1 on Oct. 12, 7-1 on Oct. 13).
Next time: At Michigan Tech Oct. 19-20.

  • The WCHA coaches’ and media’s favorite for the new season, Minnesota flew out of the blocks this weekend and handed No. 16 Michigan State two humbling defeats. The Golden Gophers. who are expected to come in on top of the new USCHO.com poll on Monday after current No. 1 Boston College fell at Northeastern on Saturday, is on the road next weekend to face a Michigan Tech team that overachieved last season under first-year coach Mel Pearson.

2.) NORTH DAKOTA (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Last time: A 6-4 exhibition win over the U.S. Under-18 Team on Saturday.
Next time: Alaska Anchorage (Oct. 19) and Alaska (Oct. 20) at the Alaska Goal Rush tournament.

  • UND wasn’t always sure-footed defensively in its 6-4 exhibition win over the U.S. Under-18 Team. Head coach Dave Hakstol and his staff will be hoping that that was an opportunity to shake the rust off ahead of UND’s long trip next weekend to Alaska for a tournament in Fairbanks.

3.) DENVER (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Last time: A 2-2 exhibition tie with British Columbia on Oct. 6.
Next time: Massachusetts-Lowell (Oct. 19) and Air Force (Oct. 20) in Denver.
Denver was one of the few men’s college hockey teams that didn’t play in the opening weekend of the season, but they will host non-conference foes Massachusetts-Lowell and Air Force next weekend at Magness Arena.

4.) MINNESOTA DULUTH (1-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Last time: A split at home with Ohio State (6-2 win on Oct. 12, 3-2 loss Oct. 13).
Next time: A two-game set at No. 14 Notre Dame (Oct. 18-19).

  • UMD made a promising start to its season in a split with Ohio State, but the desired consistency wasn’t always there. The Bulldogs cruised to a 6-2 victory in Duluth on Friday, but the Buckeyes came back the following night and left AMSOIL Arena with a 3-2 triumph and a series split. UMD faces a tougher task next week in a Thursday-Friday set at fourteenth-ranked Notre Dame.

5.) ST CLOUD STATE (0-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Last time: Swept on the road by New Hampshire (5-3 on Oct. 12, 4-2 Oct. 13).
Next time: Alabama Huntsville at home Oct. 19-20.

  • The Huskies dropped a pair at non-conference opponent New Hampshire this weekend, but head coach Bob Motzko will have taken plenty of of positives from a series when his SCSU team scored five goals in two games on the road. They should benefit from playing at home next weekend against a lesser opponent in Division I independent Alabama Huntsville.

6.) WISCONSIN (0-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Last time: Two defeats to Northern Michigan (2-1 on Oct. 12, 4-2 Oct. 13).
Next time: Idle next weekend; at Minnesota Duluth Oct. 26-27.

  • Wisconsin, ranked No. 15 in USCHO’s preseason poll, didn’t get its season off to the start that Badger fans will have been looking for. There could be more bad news coming when UW travels to Duluth, Minn. in two weeks to face UMD, although the Badgers have plenty of time before then to lick their wounds they received in a pair of losses this weekend ‘at’ Northern Michigan in Green Bay.

7.) MICHIGAN TECH (1-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Last time: Lost 4-2 at Lake Superior State on Oct. 11; beat LSSU at home 8-4 on Oct. 13.
Next time: A home series against Minnesota Oct. 19-20.

  • Last season’s surprise package in the WCHA, Tech only managed a split this week in a home-and-home series with Upper Peninsula rival Lake Superior State. The home team won both games, with the Lakers triumphing in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. on Thursday before MTU won in Houghton two days later. The Huskies face a much tougher test next week, though, with national No. 1-to-be Minnesota coming to MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

8.) NEBRASKA OMAHA (1-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Last time: A second-place finish at the Icebreaker tournament after a 5-1 win over Army and a 3-2 loss to Notre Dame.
Next time: A two-game set at home against non-conference foe Northern Michigan Oct. 19-20.

  • UNO met most prognosticators’ expectations in this weekend’s Icebreaker tournament in Kansas City, Mo., finishing second in the four-team tournament. The Mavericks return home for their official home debut next weekend, but they will need to be on their game against a Northern Michigan team that will be full of confidence after having swept No. 15 Wisconsin in Green Bay.

9.) COLORADO COLLEGE (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Last time: A two-game sweep at home over Clarkson (identical 5-4 wins on Oct. 12 and Oct. 13).
Next time: At Air Force on Oct. 19, at home to Massachusetts-Lowell Oct. 20.

  • The Tigers had to dig deep in both games this weekend against non-conference foe Clarkson in Colorado Springs, but CC came up in the end with a pair of 5-4 wins over the visiting Golden Knights. Next week, CC makes the short 13-mile trip to Air Force on Friday before returning home to face Hockey East’s Massachusetts-Lowell.

10.) MINNESOTA STATE (1-0-1, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Last time: A win (4-1 on Oct. 12) and tie (2-2 Oct. 13) at Alabama Huntsville.
Next time: Two games against non-conference Rensselaer at home on Oct. 19-20.
The Mavericks will be a much-improved team this season under new head coach Mike Hastings, and a win and a tie at Alabama Huntsville this weekend was a good start. Rensselaer may give MSU a more even fight next weekend, though.

11.) BEMIDJI STATE (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Last time: A 4-3 exhibition win over the U.S. Under-18 Team on Oct. 13.
Next time: Two games at home against Lake Superior State on Oct. 19-20.
The Beavers struggled against the U.S. U-18s on Saturday, edging the youngesters in a 4-3 win in Bemidji, Minn.. BSU will get another chance to impress at home next weekend, though, when non-conference foe Lake Superior State comes to the Sanford Center.

12.) ALASKA ANCHORAGE (1-0-1, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Last time: A 2-0 win over Canisius (Oct. 12) and 3-3 tie with Air Force (Oct. 13) at the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage.
Next time: Non-conference games against North Dakota and Merrimack at the Alaska Goal Rush tournament in Fairbanks.

  • The Seawolves won their own season-opening tournament this weekend, beating Canisius before grinding out a 3-3 draw with Air Force – the Falcons scored the game-tying goal in the final second of regulation – in the Kendall Hockey Classic. UAA stays in Alaska next weekend, traveling to Fairbanks to face North Dakota and Merrimack in the Alaska Goal Rush.

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