Monday, December 3, 2012

Movers and shakers

Pat Christman/The Free Press
Minnesota State's series sweep over Bemidji State put them into a tie for fifth place in the WCHA standings (although the teams they share that with, North Dakota and Colorado College, each have two games in hand). With 10 points, they're just two behind second-place Minnesota and St. Cloud State. Four straight wins will do that for you.

Sweeps aren't easy to come by. All 12 WCHA teams were in action against each other over the weekend, and Mavericks were the only team to win twice.

And before you pan the competition, remember that MSU hasn't strung together four consecutive wins in conference play since 2007-08 when it won seven in a row. The Mavericks finished in a tie for fourth place in the league that year and hosted a playoff series.

Matt Leitner is tied for fifth in the WCHA in points with 18 (Omaha's Ryan Walters leads the league with 20) and is tied with Walters for the assist lead with 14. Eriah Hayes is tied for fourth in goals with 8 (UMD's Mike Seidel and CC's Scott Winkler lead with 10). And Stephon Williams is second in the league in goals-against average with a 1.92 (Minnesota's Adam Wilcox leads with 1.61) and fourth in save percentage at .923 (Denver's Juho Olkinuora is tops at .934).

The Mavericks have just one win against a team with a winning record (Minnesota), but they don't have to apologize for the schedule. Don't forget that Wisconsin bounced back from losing twice to MSU and took three points at Denver this weekend, and earlier this season, Bemidji State won and tied at Omaha.

For more on the wins over the Beavers, including some notes on freshman Teddy Blueger's three-assist game on Saturday, check out my Monday review/notebook here.


hockeyfan said...

Well I guess we have the answer to my question last game. We still only got two votes in the poll. Apparently it matters more who you beat. Really thought we would at least get more votes. Guess we need to sweep and at least split at Omaha. Just can't get any respect.

Nathan Tish said...

I'm with hockeyfan on that. I was almost certain the Mavericks would find themselves in the USCHO top-20, but they hardly budged in total votes and couldn't crack the rankings.

That's okay though... The Mavs were under-rated in the preseason WCHA poll, and while I'm confident they will outperform their preseason ranking in the conference, I'm equally confident they are better than several teams currently ranked top-20 by USCHO.

Wow, what a weekend! It's always exceptional to sweep, it's something entirely different to obliterate the way the Mavericks did.