Might as well jump right in: Minnesota State is the unanimous number one pick in this week’s Web Media Poll. We can also see that Bowling Green garnered 10 second-place votes and Northern Michigan got the other two. The Huskies stumbling to an OT win over the Lakers on Saturday allowed the Wildcats to jump into the number-three spot with a 6-1/4-2 sweep as they hosted the Ferris Bulldogs. At the bottom of the table, Alaska-Anchorage is the clear loser, receiving all 12 last-place votes on the heels of another series sweep—their third in a row and their fifth on the year.
In all, the final placements in the poll align right with the current league standings. There are no games this week as schools hit Winter break, but Northern Michigan and Minnesota State will face off on Dec. 28-29 at the Verizon Wireless center. If the Wildcats can take even one off the Mavericks in their own barn, it’s possible they might garner an extra second-place vote or two.
The non-conference schedule over the next few weeks is also pretty interesting. Michigan Tech and Bowling Green play in the Great Lakes Invitational (also featuring Michigan and Michigan State) in Detroit at the Red Wings’ new digs, then Tech and NMU spend the next week in Las Vegas for the Ice Vegas Invitational (also featuring Arizona State and Boston College) at the home of the Golden Knights. Ferris State has been invited to Pittsburgh to play in the Three Rivers Classic with Robert Morris, Boston College and Quinnipiac—the bulldogs came in fourth last season, and Robert Morris has won the tournament three times in its five-year history. Lastly, Ferris State will play an exhibition game against the USA U-18 team at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, MI.
These non-conference games aren’t likely to affect polling as much, but they will have an impact on PairWise. As it is, Minnesota State is the only WCHA team in the top 16. Wins against non-conference teams could put at least Bowling Green into that group. While PairWise isn’t officially stated to be the determining factor in at-large bids for the NCAA tournament, it’s been a reliable indicator.
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Alex Slepak is the former Editor-in-Chief of Tech Hockey Guide. Alex was a Student Conductor of the Huskies Pep Band and graduated from MTU in 2014 with a B.S. in Scientific and Technical Communication. After graduating, he moved to the Twin Cities where he now writes software manuals for a living.