In honor of Michigan Tech being ranked in this week’s USCHO poll at 20th, I’ve decided to finally launch an idea swirling around in my head for most of the season. While I enjoyed the WCHA Web Media Poll at times, it just felt bland with it being about one conference. That’s why I’ve decided to take on the task of creating a regular power rankings of all the teams that are a part of the western landscape of College Hockey. That includes all the teams in the WCHA, Big Ten, NCHC, and the independent Arizona State for a total of 26 teams. Today I take on the task of ranking all 26 teams.

26 – Alabama-Huntsville (1-13-0)
25 – Alaska-Anchorage (1-10-1)
24 – Ferris State (4-10-0)
23 – Alaska (4-10-2)
22 – Nebraska-Omaha (4-8-2)
21 – Northern Michigan (6-9-0)
20 – Minnesota (4-6-3)
19 – Michigan State (6-7-1)
18 – Wisconsin (6-7-3)
17 – Lake Superior State (7-6-1)
16 – Colorado College (6-6-2)
15 – Michigan (6-6-3)
14 – Bemidji State (6-6-2)
13 – North Dakota (8-6-1)
12 – Western Michigan (8-6-0)
11 – Michigan Tech (8-5-1)

 

And now for the top 10 where I’ll invest a little more energy in explaining why and throwing in a GIF kinda giving a general feeling on the team:

10 – Miami (9-6-3)

Miami would likely have not been a top ten team last week but after going toe-to-toe with St Cloud State and forcing shoot outs both nights, they deserve their spot at least for now. The biggest knock on the Redhawks is their inability to get the sweep. Other than opening weekend vs UAH and late October vs Colgate, Miami has failed to win both games in a weekend. Some of that can be explained by playing in NCHC, but splitting with Colorado College and Nebraska-Omaha isn’t exactly the sign of a great team. Miami is off until 2019 so most likely they’ll fall out of the top ten but we shall see.

9 – Arizona State (10-6-0)

The only independent in college hockey has really turned a corner this year. If the season ended today, they’d have a very good chance of making the NCAA tournament. They’ve been swept twice this year, early in the season by Ohio State and last weekend by Nebraska-Omaha. Three of their 6 losses have come at the hands of the Mavericks which are clearly the biggest blemishes on their schedule. Their schedule is strong enough to keep them in the hunt if they can keep winning 60+ percent of their games. Johnny Walker might be best at getting under the skin of others, but he’s tied for the NCAA lead in goals at 12.

independence day victory GIF by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

8 – Bowling Green State (10-3-2)

The second best team in the WCHA according the PWR is Bowling Green. The Falcons have faired extremely well in non-conference this year going 5-1-1 with a loss to Robert Morris and a tie with Ohio State. Most of their stumbling has come in the WCHA. Their first in conference sweep was last weekend against UAH. The Lakers are much improved but at home, it was surprising to see BGSU shutout against LSSU. The falcons also managed to tie UAA, one of only 2 games the Seawolves didn’t lose and split with NMU. Bowling Green has the best defensive team in the country allowing only 1.65 goals per game and top-10 scoring offense. Time will tell if they can keep it up but this might their best chance to get back into the NCAA tournament.

sweeping mrs. doubtfire GIF by Hollywood Suite

7 – Penn State (10-4-1)

The Nittany Lions have lost four games this year to Arizona State, Robert Morris, Michigan, and Ohio State. They’ve also swept Clarkson, Niagara and one a single game with Princeton. Last weekend they won and tied at Wisconsin. They have an impressive record but not a very impressive schedule to this point so they get slotted in here towards the bottom of the top ten at seven. This weekend they get a chance to improve their status with a home series against Notre Dame and then the following weekend they play a second game against Princeton at the home of the Flyers.

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6 – Denver (7-3-2)

Denver comes in at sixth because they’ve already played #1 and #2 on our list and didn’t fair too well, going 1-3 plus they were unable to sweep Alaska and Providence at home. They go to North Dakota this weekend where a sweep to vault them ahead of Ohio State. Anything less and they’ll likely stay put or even fall. The Pioneers are top 15 in scoring offense and defense but to get top 5 they’re going to have to take things up a notch.

im not done yet t mobile GIF by Unlimited Moves

5 – Ohio State (9-4-3)

As stated above, it was a close call but the Buckeyes get the fifth spot primarily because of OSU’s bad weekend in a home and home with BGSU. Ohio State has split with the #1 team in the country, Massachusetts so they definitely deserve to be this high. They are idle until after Christmas now so they won’t have much of an opportunity to improve their status but teams around them could falter. Once they return, they have 3 straight weeks against teams ranked 30th or lower in the PWR, so they should clean up if they’re deserving of this #5 ranking.

ohio state dancing GIF by Cheezburger

4 – Notre Dame (10-4-1)

It was a tough call between the Irish and Buckeyes for fourth as they split head to head in South Bend, but the better overall record gave Notre Dame a lead for now. The Irish are in their second season in the Big Ten where they sit second to OSU but have games in hand. Their biggest blemish is an opening night tie with Mercyhurst followed by loss at Michigan. They came close to tying with Northern Michigan but pulled it out in overtime.

espn corso GIF by College GameDay

3 – Minnesota State (12-2-0)

I’ll be honest, I thought the Mavericks would take a step back this season with everything they lost but they’ve been amazing. Their scoring offense (4.07 GPG) and defense (2.00 GPG) are both top ten nationally. Their two losses are to a pesky BSU team and North Dakota, both losses were on the road. Their non-conference record includes sweeps of Boston University and Minnesota. Minnesota State is soaring high through the first two months of the season and is on pace to return to the NCAAs.

bird flying GIF by MANGOTEETH

2 – Minnesota-Duluth (10-3-1)

Michigan Tech had the pleasure of playing the defending champs to start their season after UMD got a chance to open up with Minnesota. After earning just a tie that opening weekend, the Bulldogs went on a roll until their last two series where they split with Denver and North Dakota. If it wasn’t for that, UMD would be #1 but they have some blemishes and they’re mostly recent. The Bulldogs will likely stay near the top of this list until the end of the season thanks largely to all they return on defense (top five defense).

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1 – St. Cloud State (11-1-2)

It’s hard to argue that the Huskies aren’t the best team in the country with only one loss while playing in likely the best conference in the country. The NCHC features one team with a losing record and the best interconference record including an overall winning record against every conference but a .500 record vs ASU. St. Cloud leads the way tied with the best record in the West and only one loss at Northeastern and two NCAA ties at Miami.

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Featured image courtesy of Ryan Johnson, all GIFs from giphy.com