2020-21 WCHA Power Rankings

2020-21 WCHA Power Rankings

The final set of WCHA power rankings for the season as three squads prepare for the NCAA Tournament.

1. Lake Superior State | Last Ranking: 2

Record: 9-5 (19-6-3 overall)

Move over, Mavericks, the No. 13-ranked Lakers have arrived and their 4-0 record since the last set of rankings leads all WCHA programs as their conference championship earned them an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Lakers showed last season was a blip on the radar after a massive 2018-19 season. Elite offense and one of the nation’s top goaltenders in Mareks Mitens will give UMass some legitimate competition in the first round.

2. Minnesota State | Last Ranking:

Record: 13-1 (20-4-1 overall)

The No. 5-ranked Mavericks have battled a “this is the year” attitude perpetuated by more than just the media and won’t go down without a fight. Even with a 2-1 record since the last rankings and a shocking upset by Northern Michigan, the Mavericks run as deep as any program in the tournament.

Facing a 17-7-4 Quinnipiac program run by a 45-point season from Odeen Tufto and Mike Richter Award finalist in senior netminder Keith Petruzzelli, the Mavericks will need their own Mike Richter Award finalist in Dryden McKay to outduel his counterpart. 

3. Bemidji State | Last Ranking: 5

Record: 8-5-1 (15-9-3 overall)

The third and final WCHA program headed for the NCAA Tournament, the No. 14-ranked Beavers’ conference tournament ended at the hands of eventual champ, Lake State, which ended a four-game winning streak.

The Beavers’ MO has been defense this season, as seen in part by the nation’s top penalty kill. As luck would have it, the Beavers will face the nation’s top scorer in Cole Caufield (28 G, 21 A, 49 points in 30 GP) and top power play in the opening round. Something will have to give. 

4. Northern Michigan | Last Ranking: 6

Record: 6-7-1 (11-7-1 overall)

A Cinderella run with a first-round upset over Bowling Green followed by another stunning upset with a 5-1 wallop of Minnesota State was cut short by LSSU in the championship.

After an ugly 2-10 start, the Wildcats had their patent-pending “winter semester fester” boil over with a late-season run. With just one senior in the top six scorers, one on the backend, and none in the crease, the Wildcats will have a large returning cast in 2021-22.

5. Bowling Green | Last Ranking: 3

Record: 8-5-1 (20-10-1 overall)

A notable snub for the NCAA Tournament, the decision might have come down to the shocking first-round upset by Northern Michigan via a decisive 5-1 loss in Game 3.

There are a lot of arguments for the No. 17-ranked Falcons’ case, but automatic bids and other programs saw the selection committee count to 16 without Bowling Green. Ten listed seniors — COVID-19 eligibility changes notwithstanding — could mean a much different Falcons team next season.

6. Michigan Tech | Last Ranking: 4

Record: 7-7 (17-12-1 overall)

A sluggish final 10 games ultimately sank the Huskies, who sat at 14-5-1 before those 10 games saw a 3-7 drop off. The defense held its own, but the offense dried up and scored just 2 or fewer goals in those seven losses.

A first-round sweep by Bemidji was forgivable, but stung nonetheless given their sole hope at the national stage boiled down to a conference title in the end.

7. Alabama Huntsville | Last Ranking: 7

Record: 3-11 (3-18-1 overall)

There are a lot more questions than answers in Huntsville with the season concluded, but we’ll stick to what we do know. There wasn’t any significant change for the Chargers from their struggles over the past seasons, but the player drive remains.

In simple terms of goals-for and goals-against averages, the Chargers surrendered a lower goals-against average, but also had a lower goals-for average, and that’s after Minnesota State pummeled them with 18 goals in a two-game series last month. Encouraging.

8. Ferris State| Last Ranking: 8

Record: 0-13-1 (1-23-1 overall)

Following a single-win season and abysmal conference record, a sweep by Minnesota State in the opening round was expected and thus delivered.

The tough years in Big Rapids continue after a 20-win season in 2015-16. The win totals have now dropped in four straight seasons.