One of the busiest nights for USCHO.com is the Saturday in March when conference third-place and championship games are being played.
Conference champions get automatic bids to the NCAA tournament. And who wins and loses games that day determine which bubble teams make the field as at-large teams and which don't.
But around noon on Monday, USCHO.com had "roughly equal" the traffic as it has that busy evening in March. So the web site got backed up for about 30 minutes.
Why so many hits? USCHO.com came out with its weekly college hockey poll. People were either going to the web site's home page or poll page. And at the top of the poll, climbing four spots were the Gophers. Tweets on Twitter heralded the poll's release and Minnesotans rushed to see it.
"Almost the entire spike in traffic can be attributed to visitors from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area," Todd Milewski, USCHO.com executive editor wrote in an e-mail.
He said 30 minutes were needed to clear up the backlog. I tried to get on the USCHO.com site for a long time -- seemed more than 30 minutes, but I am not a patient fellow -- and couldn't. I asked Milewski exactly how many hits USCHO.com got around noon? He said that information was not available.
What seems obvious is there is a lot of interest in Gophers hockey despite some empty seats at early-season games. The two home games against Vermont drew crowds in the 8,000-range. Mariucci Arena has room for 10,000-plus and both North Dakota games were sellouts. Interest in the team seems to be increased now that it is doing well again.