Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Two national polls split on No. 1 team, one picks Gophers, the other UMD

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers, Men's hockey, Gophers awards and honors Updated: January 30, 2012 - 3:03 PM

The question this morning, looking ahead to the national polls which were released at midday, was how high would the No. 3 Gophers climb? After all they swept St. Cloud State this past weekend, 2-1 and 3-2. And actually, if one looks at the shot totals, neither game should have been that close.

The two teams ranked higher than the Gophers both struggled. Minnesota Duluth, an unchallenged No. 1 for weeks, tied Michigan Tech 4-4 and lost to the Huskies 5-0 at Amsoil Arena. A flat performance, to say the least. But then the 'Dogs had been playing so well and still have only five losses.

Boston University, No. 2 last week, had just as tough a weekend, losing to Maine twice, 4-2 and 3-1.

USCHO.com still has UMD at No. 1, but the Gophers are now No. 2 and received 21 first-place votes:

                                              Record    Pts.  Last week

1 Minnesota-Duluth (28)  17- 5-4    959       1

2 Minnesota (21)                19- 9-1   918       3

3 Boston University           15- 8-1   799        2

4 Merrimack                        14- 5-5   784       5

5 Boston College              16-10-1  777       7

6 Ferris State ( 1)             17- 8-3    716     10

7 Michigan                         15- 9-4    689       8

8 Notre Dame                  15-10-3    673      4

9 Mass-Lowell                 16- 7-0     596     11

10 Ohio State                   14- 8-5     531       6

11 Colorado College      14- 9-1    451     12

11 Union                           15- 6-6    451     14

13 Denver                        15- 8-3    383      15

14 Cornell                        11- 6-4    338        9

15 Maine                          14- 8-3    326     20

16 Western Michigan    13-10-5   290    13

17 North Dakota             15-10-2  227     18

18 Miami                          15-11-2  220      17

19 Northern Michigan    12- 9-5   111      19

20 Colgate                       14- 9-3     87     NR

But USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine has a new No. 1. The Gophers and UMD received the same numbers of votes, but Minnesota had two more first-place votes and edges the Bulldogs by the narrowest of margins:

 

1 Minnesota                473 (18)      19-9-1     3

2 Minnesota Duluth   473 (16)     17-5-4      1

3 Boston University   394              15-8-1     2

4 Merrimack               376             14-5-5       5

5 Boston College      332            16-10-1     8

6 Notre Dame           320             15-10-3     4

7 Ferris State             317            17-8-3     12

8 Michigan                 278            15-9-4       9

9 UMass Lowell      250              16-7-0    11

10 Ohio State          178             14-8-5        7

11 Colorado Col     150             14-9-1     10

12 Union College   128           15-6-6       13

13 Denver                118            15-8-3      15

14 Cornell               108             11-6-4       6

15 Maine                   60             14-8-3      NR

Why the difference? Both polls have coaches and media members voting on the top college hockey teams each week, but not the same ones.

In the first USA Today poll I saw at 12:46 p.m., the Gophers had 475 points and UMD 473. At some point, those totals were corrected to 473 apiece. Not sure why USA Today doesn't consider that a tie for No. 1, but it doesn't.

If I had a vote, which I don't, UMD would be my No. 1 team because the Bulldogs have only five losses, four fewer than the Gophers. Yes, I know the Gophers swept UMD 5-4, 5-4 on the road. But either team could have won those games. One went into overtime.

After that series, UMD went on a remarkable 17-game unbeaten. The Gophers have been too up and down. But being No. 2 in the nation in USCHO.com poll -- and mine -- isn't bad this late in the season.

I just hope they play again in the Final Five or the NCAA tournament. That first Gophers-UMD game, with 90-some shots and an overtime was awesome. UMD outshot the Gophers 50-16 in that second game but lost the battle in the nets.

In the only poll that really matters, the Gophers are No. 9 in the PairWise rankings this week. No. 1 is UMD, Boston University is No. 2. That means if the NCAA tournament was starting today, the Gophers would be the second or third seed in the West Regional at the Xcel Center.

The PairWise mimics how the NCAA fills out its field with nine at-large teams after five teams get automatic bids by winning conference tournaments.

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