WSR's Unofficial Central Region Poll #4 Even Till The End

01/29/09 - SPRINGFIELD, MO - You know, I never liked this business of ranking. The only reason I do it is because Steve assures me it’s listed in my job description somewhere. But rather than pay my lawyers to decipher the legal gibberish of my contract, I’ll just play along one more week.

Actually I was quite shocked to find that Steve and I had agreed on the top nine. How that happened I’m not too sure, but there it is. The big problem was the number 10 spot, which any one of a number of teams could occupy depending on who’s doing the voting.

It’s a mess; we’re a mess trying to figure it out. Both of us are kinda glad we’re not the official pollsters, because they get yelled at for this kind of stuff. And if anybody yells at me, I’m renegotiating my contract.

Enjoy!

PS: If you’re wondering where Michigan went, just read their record over the last 2 months.

 

 

1. Davenport - 27-3-0, Steve: 1 Dan: 1

Dan: “Stumbled against a good Michigan State team 6-1, but who hasn’t stumbled lately and their record tells you it doesn’t happen often.”

Steve: “Still a solid lock at the top spot despite a loss 6-1 loss to Michigan State. Only two losses to ranked opponents. It‘s interesting the ACHA web site shows Davenport will play a February 28 th game against D1 Adrian College if the Panthers get a bye from the Regional Tournament. Better get your tickets now.”

 

2. Grand Valley State - 16-7-0, Steve: 2 Dan: 2

Steve: “ Yes the Lakers slipped against Central Michigan (4-5) and Michigan State (3-4), but Grand Valley still should stay in the second spot. Again, with the auto bid, this makes things all that much easier.”

Dan: “Splits with Central Michigan and Michigan State may have them wavering, but no one seems invincible this year and they gave better than they got against both squads.”

 

3. Michigan State - 15-12-1, Steve: 3 Dan:3

Dan: “The Spartans are on a tear, having lost only once (split with Grand Valley State) in eight outings including a win over Davenport , a sweep of Arizona and a win and tie against Miami of Ohio. Could arguably be #2, but what’s the point since GVSU gets the spot automatically by hosting the Nationals. They have at least broken our tie with DePaul from last period wide open.”

Steve: “The Spartans went 6-2-1 this ranking period and are starting to show their end of the season form. They are 10-3 against ranked opponents.”

 

4. DePaul - 21-5-0, Steve: 4 Dan: 4

Steve: “A split with Minnesota won’t change my feeling about keeping the Blue Demons here. DePaul has the second most goals in the Central with 174. Who has the most? See #1.”

Dan: “Their split with Missouri coupled with Michigan State’s great play this last period puts them at #4 by themselves in my book. Lindenwood might have had a chance to leapfrog them, but Lindenwood helped them out with an unexpected split with Minnesota.”

 

5. Lindenwood - 19-8-0, Steve: 5 Dan: 5

Dan: “Now that their D2 roster is more stable, the real Lindenwood is starting to show. However, a home-and-home split with Missouri isn’t enough to drop them lower. It will be interesting to see how they handle Illinois State and RMC Maroon in their last two sets. These battles could determine the outcome for several teams on the fence, including Missouri State. Could the Ice Bears stand to root for Lindenwood?”

Steve: “Were 5-1 this ranking period (same as DePaul) but their split against Missouri (yea it was a 5-4 overtime loss) should not have happened. Got to keep the Lions in the same spot.”

 

6. St. Thomas - 16-6-0, Steve: 6 Dan: 6

Steve: “Although I still don’t understand why the Tommies are ranked this high, going 5-5-1 against ranked opponents, early positioning will fortunately keep them here. Yes, they went 4-0 this period (two wins were against D3 teams) but once again this is a big problem for me. Ranked teams should not be playing lower division teams at all, not to mention this late in a ranking period. With only 3 games left, even if they fall, it won’t be out of the top 10.

Dan: “They swept St. Cloud and beat up on a couple of D3- level non-ACHA teams. Big deal. They are riding the laurels of a strong early push against some ranked opponents, and will stay here not based on their weak schedule down the stretch, but by the inability of the teams underneath them to prove themselves better.”

 

7. Iowa (Gold) - 22-6-1, Steve: 7 Dan: 7

Dan: “The Hawkeyes split with Northern Michigan and SIUE (win and tie), which under normal circumstances might have dropped them down. But again, others around them have fared worse in the last month. Leave them alone for now, they’ll have plenty of time to prove (or disprove) themselves down the stretch as they take on Illinois, Illinois State and St. Louis in their last 6 games.”

Steve: “The Hawkeyes are in their weaker part of the schedule this ranking period, and are 3-3 against ranked opponents. The team is rebuilding after losing a goaltender and two good point producers. Should stay in the Top 10, but just how Iowa fares in the post season remains to be seen.”

 

8. Central Michigan - 13-12-0, Steve: 8 Dan: 8

Steve: “With renewed energy and a shorter second semester bench, the Chippewas have moved into the Top 10 in my book. Good win against Grand Valley and narrowly beat Missouri State 4-3, but dropped a second pair to GVSU. Will this spot be a fluke?”

Dan: “You can throw a blanket over the next five teams (Illinois, Central Michigan, RMC-Chicago Maroon, Missouri State, Ferris State). Of those five, the edge has to go to Central Michigan right now with wins over Missouri State and Grand Valley, albeit they were one goal victories and Grand Valley got the better of the 3-games they played each other this period. They have played well through a very tough schedule.”

 

9. Illinois - 13-8-1, Steve: 9 Dan: 9

Dan: “They got bombed in a 3-game set with Nevada-Las Vegas; they got bombed in two games with Florida Gulf Coast. Their only win this period was by a goal against D3 FGCU. Why haven’t I dropped them out completely? I don’t know. I …just…don’t…know.”

Steve: “This is tough. This team hasn’t won a game against D2 opponents in over 2 months. Does the Fighting Illini deserve to be here? Probably not, but you can’t drop them just yet. Here’s your last chance; the Ferris State Bulldogs are growling at an opportunity.”

 

10. (Tie) Missouri State - 16-13-2, Steve: 10 Dan: N/R

(Tie) RMC-Chicago Maroon 16-14-0, Steve: N/R Dan: 10

Steve: “ This is spot is such a toss-up. One can argue for Ferris State (who started the season 0-9) and one can argue that Robert Morris Chicago-Maroon should be here. Despite Missouri State’s win and a tie against RMC-M (game one in overtime and the second in a shoot out by Missouri State, but is not recognized in D2 play) both teams are relatively evenly matched. This spot (and #9) could be swapped with any of the 4 teams at the final ranking period. This spot will come down to the wire.”

Dan: “ You can go round and round and round with the records between RMC-C, MSU and Ferris St. until you are as dizzy as I am, and it still won’t help you justify anything. I am going by what I have seen on the ice with my own eyes, and the fact that Missouri State has been battered (injury-wise) to the point where I don’t know if they’re going to be able to find full force again. Most of the wounded (including ace goaltender Michael Poepping) are expected back in the next couple of weeks, and if they can win five of their next six I will probably jump them back in. But for now, I have to give the all-important 10 th spot to RMC. It might just as easily have been Ferris State, but the beginning of their year was so horrid I can’t justify their record (7-14-1) as being top-10 worthy despite their recent efforts.”

 

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