After Friday’s games, the top eight teams in the WCHA standings were separated by eight points. After Saturday, it was seven points between first place and eighth place.
At that rate, this is going to get ridiculous.
But the WCHA, as close as it is, isn’t without company in the tight-standings department. In ECAC Hockey, the top seven teams are separated by seven points. Cornell and Yale seem poised to duke it out for the top spot, but Dartmouth and Princeton aren’t far off the pace.
In the WCHA, Denver’s overtime loss to Alaska-Anchorage on Saturday made the standings look a little like the way the PairWise Rankings sometimes shake out. If you look down the points column, it’s nearly a straight line from Denver at 26 points to St. Cloud State at 19.
Minnesota’s pair of losses to Minnesota State kept the Gophers in a tie for fourth place with Colorado College. Minnesota-Duluth joined that tie with a 1-0 victory at Wisconsin. But keep in mind that Minnesota has two games in hand, which alters the standings potential slightly but also means the Gophers don’t have a break the rest of the way.
They host Wisconsin next weekend in a series that could sort out which of those teams will be alive in the race for the MacNaughton Cup over the final four weeks of the regular season. That should be a heck of a series, even if Minnesota looks wounded right now and Wisconsin is having trouble closing things out.
Chances are, it won’t be the last big series in the WCHA.