Minnesota hockey programs account for 25 percent of the USCHO men's national poll.
All five of the state’s Division I teams appeared in the Top 20 rankings this week for the first time in at least 10 years since the poll was expanded to 20. Three of the programs are in the Top 10.
Bemidji State improved to 4-0 last weekend and on Monday was rewarded by earning its first national ranking in over six years. The Beavers are ranked No. 18 in the USCHO poll.
Minnesota Duluth is No. 2, the Gophers are No. 7, Minnesota State is No. 9, St. Cloud State is No. 14, followed by Bemidji State.
While it is not unusual for the Gophers, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State to be ranked at the same time, Bemidji State has been the missing piece.
The Beavers last appeared in the USCHO Top 20 on March 22, 2010, after finishing the season 23-10 with a second straight NCAA tournament berth. Bemidji State advanced to the Frozen Four in 2009, but has missed the postseason the past six years.
The Gophers’ struggled in the late 2000s when the Beavers program was at its best and all five teams climbed in and out of the polls at different times. The stars have aligned this season, at least for one week, and should lead to an entertaining North Star College Cup in January. This year’s tournament field includes Minnesota Duluth, Bemidji State, St. Cloud State and the Gophers.
The Bulldogs jumped two spots this week to No. 2 in the USCHO poll behind No. 1 North Dakota after splitting with Notre Dame. The Gophers climbed two spots to No. 7 after the bye week. Minnesota State swept St. Cloud State last weekend and moved up five spots into the Top 10. The Huskies fell seven spots out of the Top 10. The Beavers swept Northern Michigan to climb into the rankings.
Bemidji State’s ranking will be tested this weekend when it travels to top-ranked North Dakota. The Gophers and St. Cloud State face off in a home-and-home series. Duluth is off this week and Minnesota State travels to Alaska.