POWAR!1ONE Rankings: Red Mavericks continue their ascent

Nebraska Omaha forward Dominic Zombo had two goals and two assists in last weekend’s sweep of Minnesota Duluth. Both his goals came in Sunday’s 6-3 win over the visiting Bulldogs. (Photo credit: Matthew Semisch)

Denver stays on top despite a pair of close calls at Minnesota State; Nebraska Omaha is up two spots after extending its winning streak to four; and Alaska Anchorage was, despite some self-sabotaging, unlucky to only pick up one point at home to Minnesota.

1.) DENVER (7-1-0, 5-1-0 WCHA)
Last time: W at Minnesota State 4-3, at Minnesota State 3-2
Next time: At Colorado College Friday, v Colorado College Saturday

  • The Pioneers didn’t blow Minnesota State out of the water last weekend, but DU did what it had to do in a pair of one-goal wins in Mankato. This week offers an even more interesting test: A home-and-home with arch-rival Colorado College.

2.) ST. CLOUD STATE (6-4-0, 4-2-0)
Last time: L v North Dakota 3-0, W v North Dakota 5-2
Next time: Idle this week; At Minnesota Duluth Nov. 23-24

  • The Huskies recovered well from a 3-0 humbling at home last Friday against North Dakota by doubling UND up in the rematch the following night. SCSU is off this week before heading north to in-state rival Minnesota Duluth the week of Thanksgiving.

3.) MINNESOTA (6-2-1, 3-2-1)
Last time: W at Alaska Anchorage 4-0, T at Alaska Anchorage 2-2
Next time: v Wisconsin Friday and Saturday

  • It’s been a month now since the Golden Gophers last put together two dominating performances on back-to-back nights, but they will be happy enough to have come home from Anchorage with three points last weekend. Even better news: The Gophers scored five power play goals against the Seawolves. If Minnesota can keep that up and, at the same time, become more prolific scoring 5-on-5, it’ll be fine.

4.) NORTH DAKOTA (4-3-1, 2-1-1)
Last time: W at St. Cloud State 3-0, L at St. Cloud State 5-2
Next time: v Minnesota Duluth Friday and Saturday

  • A split at St. Cloud State – which the North Dakota has goaltender Clarke Saunders largely to thank for – was a good result for UND, as it would be for any team that visits the National Hockey Center this season. UND ought to have an easier time this weekend at home against a struggling Minnesota Duluth team that is 0-4-1 since Oct. 18.

5.) COLORADO COLLEGE (7-3-0, 4-0-0)
Last time: W v Bemidji State 3-2, W v Bemidji State 6-3
Next time: v Denver Friday, at Denver Saturday

  • Head coach Scott Owens’s Tigers stay put in the fifth spot this week after picking up a pair of wins at home last weekend to Bemidji State. We’ll learn a lot more about CC this week, though, in its home-and-home against national No. 2 Denver.

6.) NEBRASKA OMAHA (6-3-1, 4-1-1)
Last time: W v Minnesota Duluth 3-2, W v Minnesota Duluth 6-3
Next time: Idle this week; v Alabama Huntsville Nov. 23-24

  • The Mavericks are up two spots in this week’s RFO league rankings after picking up their third and fourth wins in a row last weekend at home to Minnesota Duluth. It’s not yet time to go too nuts, considering UNO has yet to play any of the WCHA’s other upper-echelon teams so far this season, but Dean Blais’s club entered the USCHO.com poll for the first time this season Monday – UNO’s 18th – on merit.

7.) WISCONSIN (1-4-1, 1-2-1)
Last time: Idle last week; OTL v Colorado College 5-4 Nov. 2, L v Colorado College 3-0 Nov. 3
Next time: At Minnesota Friday and Saturday

  • We’ll talk more about it later this week on the RFO/Bucky’s 5th Quarter podcast, but I fear for this Wisconsin team this week as it heads over to Minneapolis to face arch-rival Minnesota. Between the Nic Kerdiles situation, assistant coach Bill Butters resigning last week to join Hockey Ministries, and the Badgers’ on-ice struggles, things don’t look great for UW at the moment. Not that its opponent this week has been a world-beater so far this season, either, but the Badgers need to get something badly at Mariucci Arena this weekend.

8.) MICHIGAN TECH (2-6-0, 1-5-0)
Last time: Idle last week; L 2-1 v Nebraska Omaha Nov. 2, L 5-3 v Nebraska Omaha Nov. 3
Next time: At Bemidji State Friday and Saturday

  • Tech started the season with a very respectable 2-1-0 record with wins against Lake Superior State and Minnesota, but the Huskies have done nothing but lose since picking up that famous win over the Gophers on Oct. 19. MTU has lost each of its last five games, and it wouldn’t be unfair to say it’s in serious trouble if it drops another two decisions this weekend at Bemidji State.

9.) MINNESOTA DULUTH (2-5-1, 0-3-1)
Last time: L at Nebraska Omaha 3-2, L at Nebraska Omaha 6-3
Next time: At North Dakota Friday and Saturday

  • The Bulldogs weren’t terrible last weekend in their pair of losses at Nebraska Omaha – apart from patches of Sunday’s third period – but UMD is having trouble scoring goals, and it’s left Scott Sandelin’s men 0-4-1 in their last five games. Things might not get much better quickly, either, considering UMD is at North Dakota this weekend before hosting St. Cloud State next week. Duluth’s a much better team with much better talent than its record suggests, but it’s in trouble right now.

10.) BEMIDJI STATE (2-3-1, 1-2-1)
Last time: L at Colorado College 3-2, L at Colorado College 6-3
Next time: v Michigan Tech Friday and Saturday

  • Tom Serratore’s Beavers are right about where most prognosticators expected them to be at this stage of the season, and I include myself in that. Tenth place isn’t where any team wants to be, though, and BSU has a great chance to move up a spot or more this week when it welcomes a struggling Michigan Tech squad to Bemidji, Minn.’s Sanford Center.

11.) MINNESOTA STATE (3-5-2, 1-5-0)
Last time: L v Denver 4-3, L v Denver 3-2
Next time: Idle this week; at Wisconsin Nov. 23-24

  • Two one-goal losses to a very good Denver side were respectable results for Mike Hastings’s MSU club, but the purple Mavericks want more than just to compete and come close to winning. Their huge win at home over in-state rival Minnesota on Nov. 3 showed what MSU can do when it’s on its game, and Wisconsin needs to be on red alert – no pun intended – when the Mavericks visit Madison next weekend.

12.) ALASKA ANCHORAGE (2-3-3, 0-2-2)
Last time: L v Minnesota 4-0, T v Minnesota 2-2
Next time: Idle this week; at Bemidji State Nov. 23-24

  • Being the only league writer I’m aware of in the lower 48 states that picked the Seawolves to get a split at home last weekend against Minnesota, I was feeling superb in Saturday’s third period until the Gophers’ Erik Haula snatched a game-tying goal that ended up robbing UAA of two points. Dave Shyiak’s men shot themselves in the feet a lot last weekend, giving up five power play goals in their two-game set against the Gophers, but if they can shore up their penalty-killing issues and keep putting up otherwise solid performances, they stand an excellent chance of climbing out of the league basement.

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