The Gophers are tied for fifth in the WCHA, but ranked No. 1 in the country. What gives?
Easy. The U of M has the best nonconference record of any team, 7-0-0. The only other unbeaten team in nonconference play is Minnesota State Mankato at 4-0-2.
Here are the teams with the best nonconference marks:
Gophers 7-0-0, WCHA ... one nonconference game left with No. 2 Notre Dame on Tuesday
Six wins (4 teams)
Union, 6-2-1, ECAC
Colgate, 6-3-1, ECAC
Quinnipiac, 6-3-2, ECAC
St. Lawrence, 6-4-0, ECAC
Five wins (2 teams)
Robert Morris, 5-1-1, Atlantic
RPI, 5-2-2, ECAC
Four wins (10 teams)
Minnesota State Mankato, 4-0-2, WCHA
Holy Cross, 4-1-0, Atlantic
Northern Michigan, 4-1-0
UMass-Lowell, 4-1-0, Hockey East
Miami, 4-1-1, CCHA
Yale, 4-1-1, ECAC
New Hampshire, 4-1-1, Hockey East
Notre Dame, 4-3-0, CCHA
Brown, 4-3-0, ECAC
Nebraska Omaha, 4-3-0, WCHA
* The Gophers have played 19 games and have 17 left.
* Of the 11 opponents the Gophers have played, only three have winning records. Boston College, the team they routed 8-1on Sunday, is 12-3-1. That was the U's biggest win by far. ... The other two winning teams the U has played are Minnesota State Mankato (12-6-2) and Nebraska Omaha (11-8-1). The Gophers split with both those two teams.
*The WCHA started last weekend 1-4 in nonconference games, but picked it up and went 7-3 in its last 10. So, overall, the WCHA was 8-7.
The two big highlights were the Gophers' 8-1 win over then-No. 1 Boston College and Denver's 6-0 win over then-No. 6 Boston University. The Terriers had not been shut out in 125 games. ... Bemidji State almost beat then-No. 2 New Hampshire, too, before losing 3-2 in overtime despite Andrew Walsh's 33 saves.
Michigan Tech also had a good weekend, wining the Great Lake Invitational for the first time since 1980. The Huskies beat Michigan and Western Michigan by identical 4-0 scores. Freshman goalie Pheonix Copley had 70 saves in the two games. ... Minnesota State Mankato won the UConn Hockey Classic, beating Brown and Connecticut by the same 3-1 score. The Mavericks are 9-1 in their last 10 games.
* By the time this coming weekend is over, 10 of the 12 WCHA teams will have played 14 conference games -- or exactly half -- while North Dakota and the Gophers will have played only 12.
The two conference series are Colorado College at Nebraska Omaha and Wisconsin at Alaska Anchorage. ... If CC sweeps on the road, there will be a three-way tie for fifth place between the Gophers, CC and UNO. If the red Mavericks get at least one point, they will drop the Gophers from a fifth place tie in the standings to sixth place.
* Five conference teams have nonconference series -- all at home:
Holy Cross at North Dakota ... Holy Cross is part of a three-way tie for second in Atlantic Hockey
Northern Michigan at St. Cloud State
Providence at Minnesota State Mankato ... can the purple Mavs stay hot?
Western Michigan at Bemidji State ... the Broncos are third in the CCHA
Cornell at Denver ... the visitors are fourth in the ECAC