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Gophers fall to Nos. 2 and 3 in national hockey polls

  • Blog Post by: Roman Augustoviz
  • November 21, 2011 - 3:58 PM

After a two-week stay at No. 1 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com national ratings, the Gophers dropped to No. 2 and 3, respectively. Unbeaten Merrimack is No. 1 in both polls.

Merrimack (8-0-1) received 20 first-place votes and had 492 points in the USA Today poll. The Gophers has 12 of the other 14 first-place votes and had 461 points, edging out Notre Dame for second. The Irish had the other two first-place votes and 455 points.

In the USCHO.com poll, Merrimack garnered 967 votes and had 27 first-place votes . The No. 2 Irish had 932 points and 10 first-place votes. The Gophers were the only other team with more than 900 votes. They had 914 and 11 for first place after a weekend split with St. Cloud State.

 Three other WCHA teams were also in the top 10 in both major polls. Colorado College was No. 4, Minnesota Duluth No. 6 and Denver was No. 9 in the USA Today poll and No. 10 in the USCHO.com poll.

VOTER SCRUTINY

So who votes on these polls?

The USA Today poll, in its 17th year, has coaches and sports writers representing all five of the the NCAA Division I conference. The officers of the American Hockey Coaches Association and USA Hockey Magazine also have one composite vote apiece.

BEMIDJI STATE ENDS 41-YEAR DROUGHT

Junior forward Jordan George’s power-play goal in the second period proved to be the only goal as Bemidji State edged North Dakota 1-0 at the Sanford Center. Beavers senior goalie Dan Bakala had 26 saves.

The BSU win ended a 41-year victory drought versus UND, according to a BSU news release, and snapped North Dakota’s 14-game winning streak in the all-time series. UND still holds a 22-2-1 record in the all-time series. BSU's first victory over UND was on Feb. 7, 1970/

After a scoreless first period,  UND’s Mark MacMillian was whistled for tripping at 7:56 of the middle period and, before the Fighting Sioux could coral the puck, Andrew MacWilliam took an interference penalty. That gave  BSU a 5-on-3 power-play for two minutes.

George scored a rebound off the left pad of North Dakota goaltender Aaron Dell, 1:12 into the two-man advantage. It was his team-leading seventh goal of the season. BSU’s last goal on the power play came Oct. 22--a scoreless streak spanning eight games and 20 power-play opportunities.

The third period has been an Achilles heel for the Beavers in 2011-12.  Through 13 games, BSU had been out scored 19-8 in the third, which includes a 15-4 deficit in the final period of WCHA contests, but the Beavers killed nine minutes of penalties, included a five-minute major.

Bemidji State blocked 21 shots and was six-for-six killing penalties. Its power play was one for three.

On Saturday, North Dakota beat the Beavers 5-2, breaking a 2-2 tie on Mario Lamoureux's goal at 15:22 of the third period. Brock Nelson added a power-play goal at 18:30 and an empty-netter at 19:31.

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