The Gophers men’s hockey team appeared in the USCHO national rankings on 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 season-long winning streak to five games and edge into the poll at No. 20.
The Gophers are first in the Big Ten standings with an 8-2 record and 13-10 overall after sweeping back-to-back series for the first time this season.
The recent run of success comes after the Gophers played three months with a losing record following an 0-3 start to the season. Since the New Year, though, the Gophers are 6-2 with a pair of overtime losses. They’ve scored 36 goals during this stretch for a 4.5 goals per game average.
Minnesota Duluth (8-10-5) dropped from the top 20, while Minnesota State Mankato (13-8-5) jumped a spot to No. 19. St. Cloud State (20-5-1) is the highest ranked in-state program, jumping two spots on Monday to No. 3.
Quinnipiac received 30 first-place votes and remains at No. 1 in the USCHO poll. North Dakota, St. Cloud State, Providence and Boston College round out the top 5 rankings. Michigan is the highest ranked Big Ten member at No. 6 and Penn State is No. 15.
The Gophers also improved in the PairWise rankings – the poll used to help predict the 16-team NCAA tournament field – and are tied for 15th with Penn State.
St. Cloud State, Minnesota State, Bemidji St. and the Gophers will gather at Xcel Energy Center this weekend for the third annual North Star College Cup. Minnesota State and St. Cloud State open the tournament at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Gophers and defending champion Bemidji State face off at 4 p.m. The winners and losers meet Sunday with the championship game scheduled for 4 p.m.