The Gophers are the nation's No. 1 team again in the and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national ratings.

For the second week in a row, they received more points than anyone else, although No. 2 Merrimack actually had more first-place votes in  both polls, 25 to 20 in and 20-14.

The Gophers had a 14-point lead in the poll, 963 to 949, and a 15-point lead in the USA Today poll, 489 to 474. What that means is the voters picking Merrimack No. 1 were rating the Gophers higher than the voters picking Gophers No. 1 were ranking the Warriors.

The Gophers (10-2-0) stayed No. 1  after a split at Wisconsin last weekend. Minnesota lost the first game 3-1, won the second 4-1. Merrimack (8-0-1) of Hockey East remains the only unbeaten team after edging Boston University 3-2 in overtime last Friday.

Rounding out the top five teams in both polls are No. 3 Boston College, No. 4. Notre Dame and No. 5 Colorado College.

Besides the Gophers and CC, there are four other WCHA teams in the top 20: No. 8 UMD, No. 11 Denver, No. 15. Michigan Tech and No. 19 Nebraska Omaha.

The USA Today goes only 15 teams deep and also has UMD and Denver in the same spots, No. 8 and 11, respectively, while Tech is tied for No. 14.

Last week the Gophers, who moved up from No. 5 to No. 1 for the first time this season, had 32 first-place votes and 956 points in the United States College Hockey Online .com poll. Second was Boston College with 15 first-place nods and 940 points. BC had been No. 1 the previous several weeks.

The No. 2 national rating is the highest ever for Merrimack, so too are the number of first-place votes the Warriors received.

The Warriors should stay near the top of the polls for a while. They are idle this weekend before playing winless Alabama-Huntsville in one game on Nov. 23. Their next series is home and home with Providence on Dec. 2-3.


The Inside College Hockey (INCH) power rankings have Merrimack the nation's No. 1 team this week, ahead of the Gophers who held that spot the previous week but fall to No. 2.

* In addition to the two major national polls and the INCH polls, there are several rankings which use comparisons and statistics to rate teams. The Gophers are No. 4 this week in the PairWise ratings -- the most important poll of all at season's end because it mimics how the NCAA fills out its tournament field. They are also No. 4 in the RPI ratings and No. 3 in the KRACH ratings.