POWAR!1ONE Rankings: Minnesota barely hangs on at the top

Bemidji State has been a thorn in Nebraska Omaha's side in Omaha over the years, but that hasn't so been he case so much when the teams meet in Bemidji, Minn. UNO swept BSU on its home ice last weekend. (Photo credit: Matthew Semisch)

Bemidji State has been a thorn in Nebraska Omaha’s side in Omaha over the years, but that hasn’t so been he case so much when the teams meet in Bemidji, Minn. UNO swept BSU on its home ice last weekend. (Photo credit: Matthew Semisch)

Minnesota holds on, just, to our top spot this week; UNO is up after picking up its fifth sweep of the season; and Wisconsin picked up its third and fourth wins of the month against the same opponent.

1.) MINNESOTA (18-4-4, 10-4-4 WCHA)
Last time: L v Minnesota State 2-1 Jan. 25; W at Minnesota State 4-1 Jan. 26
Next time: Idle this week; at St. Cloud State Dec. 8-9

  • The Golden Gophers are having trouble this week keeping hold of their top spot both in the national rankings and in these here at RFO, but, considering few of the WCHA’s better teams did well last weekend, we’ll give Minnesota a pass. Don Lucia’s men are off this week, but they face a trip two weeks from now to St. Cloud to play a Husky team that is becoming increasingly dangerous as we enter the home stretch of the league’s regular season.

2.) ST. CLOUD STATE (15-10-1, 12-5-1)
Last time: W at North Dakota 3-1 Jan. 25; T at North Dakota 2-2 Jan. 26
Next time: At Bemidji State Friday and Saturday

  • Many thought SCSU’s games against North Dakota last weekend and versus Denver the week before would be some of the Huskies’ biggest challenges of the season, but Bob Motzko’s bunch passed those tests with flying colors. Their reward this week? A trip north to face a Bemidji State team that hasn’t won since Dec. 15.

3.) NEBRASKA OMAHA (15-9-2, 11-5-2)
Last time: W at Bemidji State 5-3 Jan. 25; W at Bemidji State 2-1 Jan. 26
Next time: V Michigan Tech Friday and Saturday

  • Speaking of Bemidji, UNO last weekend picked up its first sweep over the Beavers since 2003 with a pair of wins at BSU’s Sanford Center. Next for the Mavericks is a Michigan Tech team that hasn’t won in Omaha since three months into UNO’s existence back in 1997.

4.) NORTH DAKOTA (13-8-5, 8-5-5)
Last time: L v St. Cloud State 3-1 Jan. 25; T v St. Cloud State Jan. 26
Next time: V Wisconsin Friday and Saturday

  • The lone point UND picked up at home last weekend against St. Cloud State was a lot less than the home fans expected, and they made their feelings clear during Friday’s 3-1 win for the Huskies in which SCSU completely outplayed its hosts. This week doesn’t get much better for UND, as it welcomes a revitalized Wisconsin club to Grand Forks.

5.) DENVER (13-8-4, 8-6-4)
Last time: Idle last week; L at St. Cloud State Jan. 18; L at St. Cloud State Jan. 19
Next time: At Minnesota Duluth Friday and Saturday

  • The Pioneers were off last weekend, which is just as well considering DU got thrown around on the road two weeks ago at SCSU and gave up ten goals in those two games. George Gwozdecky’s men will need to be on high alert this week as they travel to face a Minnesota Duluth team that only lost once in this month.

6.) WISCONSIN (11-8-5, 8-5-5)
Last time: W v Alaska Anchorage 5-2 Jan. 25; W v Alaska Anchorage 2-1 Jan. 26
Next time: At North Dakota Friday and Saturday

  • Mike Eaves’ Badgers went 4-0-0 against UAA in January, sweeping in Anchorage on the first weekend of the month before doing the double over the Seawolves again in Madison last week. UW gets to pick on someone its own size this week, though, when it heads west to square off with North Dakota.

7.) MINNESOTA STATE (16-9-3, 10-9-1)
Last time: W at Minnesota 2-1 Jan. 25; L v Minnesota 4-1 Jan. 26
Next time: Idle this week; at Minnesota Duluth Jan. 8-9

  • MSU picked up a split in a home-and-home against in-state rival Minnesota earlier this season, so few were surpised to see it happen again when the teams met last weekend. The Mavericks’ next action will come again in two weeks’ time in Duluth.

8.) MINNESOTA DULUTH (10-11-3, 8-7-3)
Last time: W v U.S. Under-18 Team 3-1 Jan. 26 (Exh.)
Next time: V Denver Friday and Saturday

  • It’s been a bumpy ride for the Bulldogs this season, but things have been looking up lately. UMD has won three of its last four non-exhibition games, and Scott Sandelin’s team could make a real statement of intent in terms of the race for home ice the in the playoffs with a good result or two this week at home to Denver.

9.) COLORADO COLLEGE (10-14-2, 7-10-1)
Last time: Idle last week; L v Minnesota Duluth 3-2 Jan. 18; W v Minnesota Duluth 5-1 Jan. 19
Next time: At Alaska Anchorage Friday and Saturday

  • The Tigers should be fresh for this week’s long westward journey to Anchorage. Good thing, too; CC needs to perform this weekend in order to keep reasonable its chances at finishing in the WCHA’s top six.

10.) MICHIGAN TECH (7-12-4, 4-10-4)
Last time: Idle last week; W v Bemidji State 4-0 Jan. 18; T v Bemidji State 2-2 Jan. 19
Next time: At Nebraska Omaha Friday and Saturday

  • Following a three-point outing at home to Bemidji State two weeks ago, Tech was award with a chance to stay home and rest last weekend. This week, the Huskies head south to face a UNO team that swept MTU in Houghton, Mich. back in November.

11.) BEMIDJI STATE (5-14-5, 4-10-4)
Last time: L v Nebraska Omaha 5-3 Jan. 25; L v Nebraska Omaha 2-1 Jan. 26
Next time: V St. Cloud State Friday and Saturday

  • BSU scored first in both of its games last weekend at home against UNO, but the Beavers ended up losing both tilts. It was a tale of Bemidji’s 2013 going from bad to worse: BSU is now 0-6-2 in its last eight games and nine points adrift from sixth place.

12.) ALASKA ANCHORAGE (3-16-5, 1-15-4)
Last time: L at Wisconsin 5-2 Jan. 25; L at Wisconsin 2-1 Jan. 26
Next time: V Colorado College Friday and Saturday

  • Another week, another ultimately futile series for the Seawolves who have only won one of their last 20 games. UAA almost certainly won’t be at home in the first round of the WCHA playoffs – Anchorage is 15 points off the top-six pace with 10 games remaining – and time’s also starting to run out in terms of the Seawolves trying to climb out of the WCHA cellar.

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