Minnesota Duluth captured all 50-first place votes in this week’s USCHO poll to take over the top spot in college hockey. The Bulldogs swept previous unanimous No. 1 North Dakota over the weekend in downtown Duluth.
The No. 1 ranking belongs to the Bulldogs for the first time since the 2011-2012 season when they held the top spot for eight straight weeks in December and January.
Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin told the Duluth News Tribune Saturday after a 3-0 victory there is “a long way to go down and it’s hard to stay [at No. 1] all year. More importantly, I’m really pleased that we started the league with a couple wins against a good hockey team.”
Duluth (5-1-2) won the series opener 5-2 Friday night. North Dakota (5-2) dropped to No. 3 overall. Denver moved up to No. 2, Boston University is No. 4 and Boston College rounds out the USCHO Top 5.
The Bulldogs are the first Minnesota Division 1 hockey program to be ranked No. 1 since Minnesota State held the honor in March 2015. The Gophers were last ranked No. 1 in November 2014 and were knocked out of the top spot by the Bulldogs.
Duluth’s No. 1 ranking will be challenged by in-state rival and No. 8 St. Cloud State this weekend. The Huskies (4-2) moved up two spots in this week’s poll after sweeping Alabama Huntsville.
Minnesota State fell one spot to No. 10 after splitting with Ferris State.
The Gophers dropped to No. 13 after late comebacks helped salvage their weekend in New York. They beat Clarkson 4-3 in overtime Friday and tied St. Lawrence 2-2 after a scoreless OT Saturday. Wisconsin shared the same road trip with the Gophers and swept St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
The Gophers host North Dakota this weekend in the old rivals‘ first regular-season series since 2012-2013.
Bemidji State improved its ranking to No. 18 after sweeping Alaska Anchorage to keep all five Minnesota programs in the Top 20.