For the first time in more than six years, the Gophers have the top-ranked men's hockey team in the country.
Minnesota was voted No. 1 in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll Monday, garnering 34 of 40 first-place votes after its 8-0 start to the season. It's the first time the Gophers have had the top spot in the USCHO poll since Nov. 11, 2014.
The Gophers, who began the season ranked No. 14, vaulted to the top spot after sweeping then-No. 5 Michigan 3-1 and 4-0 on Tuesday and Wednesday in Ann Arbor, Mich. That gave coach Bob Motzko's team sweeps in all four series in the first portion of its season. The Big Ten has not released the next portion of the season, but teams are expected to resume play on the weekend of Jan. 1.
Later Monday, the Gophers were voted No. 1 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, with 23 of 33 first-place votes.
"It's still early; we're not even a third of the way through the season," Motzko said after the sweep at Michigan. "We get a break, and we can take a pause. It's one heck of a start for us."
The Gophers' other sweeps came against Penn State (ranked No. 10 at the time), Ohio State (No. 10 at the time) and unranked Michigan State.
Minnesota supplanted North Dakota from the top spot in both polls. The Fighting Hawks (4-2-1) went 1-2-1 in the NCHC's Omaha Pod last week and dropped to No. 4 in both rankings. UND lost 3-2 to Denver, skating to a 2-2 tie (and 1-0 shootout loss) to Minnesota Duluth, lost 5-3 to St. Cloud State and beat Western Michigan 6-3.
Boston College (5-1) stayed at No. 2 in both polls after it split a home-and-home series against Connecticut.
Minnesota Duluth (5-1-1) had a chance to ascend to the No. 1 spot before falling 4-1 to Colorado College on Sunday in Omaha. The Bulldogs remained No. 3 in both polls. The two-time defending national champions started the week with a 4-2 win over Miami (Ohio), tied North Dakota in a No. 1 vs. No. 3 matchup and beat Denver 4-1.
Minnesota State Mankato (2-1) moved up one spot to No. 5 in both rankings.
St. Cloud State (4-2) moved up four spots to No. 9 in the USCHO poll and two spots in the USA Today rankings after a 1-2 week. The Huskies lost to Western Michigan 2-1 on Wednesday, upset North Dakota 5-3 on Saturday and lost to Nebraska Omaha 2-0 on Sunday.
Among Big Ten teams, Michigan is No. 6 and Wisconsin is No. 14 in both polls. Notre Dame is No. 16 and Ohio State No. 18 in the USCHO poll. The USA Today poll stops at the top 15.