U hockey returns to No. 1 for first time since 2008

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 8, 2011 - 7:28 AM

Don Lucia is keeping an even keel, since his team missed the NCAAs the last time it was No. 1.

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(center) Gopher Hockey Coach Don Lucia

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Coach Don Lucia called it "just a snapshot in time," but it's still a pretty picture for the Gophers men's hockey team.

For the first time in three years, players can say this: "We're No. 1."

The Gophers, who have missed the NCAA tournament each of the past three seasons, jumped from No. 5 to No. 1 on Monday in both major national hockey polls. They received 32 of a possible 50 votes in the United States College Hockey Online poll and 27 of a possible 34 votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

"We are 10 games into the season," Gophers coach Don Lucia said. "I look at it as a reward to the players for the work they put in and their accomplishments so far. But there is a good 65 to 70 percent of the season to play."

The Gophers swept North Dakota 2-0 and 3-2 at Mariucci Arena to improve to 9-1 overall. Second in both polls is Boston College (8-2), which dropped out of first after a 4-2 loss to Massachusetts over the weekend. Third is Colorado College (5-1), also falling a spot this week after a split with Nebraska Omaha.

"If I had a vote," Lucia said, "I'd vote for Merrimack [at No. 1]. They haven't lost yet."

Merrimack (7-0-1) of Hockey East is rated No. 4 by USA Today, No. 6 by uscho.com. But the Gophers -- already the fourth team to be ranked No. 1 this season -- have strong credentials, too. They have nine victories, more than any other Division I team. They are averaging an NCAA-best 4.80 goals per game and giving up only 1.60 goals, the third fewest.

Goalie Kent Patterson has a program record-tying five shutouts already and the Gophers, counting one overtime, have scored at least one goal in 28 of 31 periods.

The last time the Gophers were No. 1 in the polls was in late November 2008, when they opened the season 8-0-3. But in the first weekend after they reached the top, they lost their second game at Denver 4-0 and the next weekend they lost to Michigan 6-3 and tied Michigan State 4-4. That slide ended their two weeks at No. 1.

In December 2008, Lucia got sick with a disease eventually diagnosed as sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease in which clusters of cells form in the body's organs. He missed four games, and the Gophers tumbled to fifth in the WCHA race by the end of the season. They missed the NCAA tournament that year as well as the next two.

That 2008-09 season underscores why Lucia is taking everything in stride. "We have been fortunate to win our close games and stay healthy," Lucia said. "But the college hockey season is a roller-coaster. We'll get to our adversity at some point. A lot of things can still happen. We have yet to see some of the top teams."

  • GOPHERS MEN'S HOCKEY Up next: at Wisconsin • 7 p.m. Fri., FSN • 7:30 p.m. Sat., BTN

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NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati 1 Top 5th Inning
Pittsburgh 3
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 20 3rd Qtr 2:35
Massachusetts 0
West Virginia 17 3rd Qtr
(2) Alabama 20
Rice 10 3rd Qtr
(17) Notre Dame 28
(10) South Dakota St 10 3rd Qtr
(24) Missouri 21
Fla Atlantic 7 2nd Qtr 0:45
(22) Nebraska 31
California 24 3rd Qtr
Northwestern 7
Marshall 28 3rd Qtr
Miami-Ohio 3
UC Davis 0 2nd Qtr 4:35
(11) Stanford 28
Arkansas 14 2nd Qtr 4:55
(6) Auburn 21
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 2nd Half 44:55
Seattle 0
New England 1 1st Half 40:00
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

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