The Gophers men's hockey team appeared in the USCHO.com national rankings Monday for the first time since late October. The Gophers swept Wisconsin on the road last weekend, 4-0 and 9-2, to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games and crack the poll at No. 20.
Minnesota is not ranked in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, which ranks only 15 teams. The Gophers are first in Big Ten with an 8-2 record and 13-10 overall.
St. Cloud State (20-5-1) is the highest ranked in-state program, jumping two spots to No. 3. Minnesota Duluth (8-10-5) dropped from the top 20, while Minnesota State Mankato (13-8-5) jumped a spot to No. 19.
Quinnipiac remains at No. 1 in the USCHO.com poll. North Dakota is No. 2.
U ges running back
The Gophers landed their first running back for this year's recruiting class Monday night, when Kobe McCrary announced he was picking Minnesota.
McCrary is a 6-1, 230-pound back from Butler (Kan.) Community College, the same school from which the Gophers just plucked offensive lineman Garrison Wright.
McCrary, a native of Chipley, Fla., is a consensus three-star recruit who also had reported offers from Southern Miss, Colorado State and Akron. He rushed for 1,190 yards (5.3 per carry) and 22 touchdowns last fall.
The Gophers now have 19 players committed with signing day coming Feb. 3.
Two Badgers suspended
Eddie Wittchow of Wisconsin was suspended for three games and teammate Aidan Cavallini for one game by the Big Ten after a review of separate incidents in the Badgers' 9-2 loss to the Gophers on Saturday.
Wittchow, who received an automatic one-game suspension after being issued a disqualification penalty during the game, has been suspended for two additional games under the conference's supplemental discipline process. The action was taken after a review of an incident that occurred in the fifth minute of the third period and resulted in the player receiving a major penalty for contact to the head and a game disqualification.
Cavallini was suspended after a review of an incident that resulted in him receiving a major penalty for hitting from behind and a game misconduct.
• Sophomore forward C.J. Franklin and junior goalie Cole Huggins of Minnesota State Mankato were named the WCHA's offensive player and goalie of the week, respectively. Franklin had three goals and two assists in the Mavericks' 8-0, 5-1 sweep of Lake Superior State. Huggins stopped 17 shots in the series opener and had 22 saves in the second game.
• Gophers gymnast Hanna Nordquist was named the Big Ten's event specialist of the week. She tied for first on the beam with a score of 9.950 against Michigan State. … Gophers junior Zach Liebler was named the men's Big Ten gymnast of the week. He won floor exercise with a career-high score of 15.850 in a dual meet with Penn State.