The Gophers completed their steady descent from No. 1 by falling out the USCHO college men's hockey poll on Monday afternoon.
They were the preseason No. 1 and spent the next five weeks in the top spot before an 11-week decline pushed them out of the polls for the fist time since April 2011. A pair of in-state rivals, Minnesota State Mankato and Minnesota Duluth, finished the job by handing the Gophers a pair of losses last weekend in the North Star College Cup.
The Gophers are 2-5-1 since Jan. 1 and have won only four games since mid-November. The last time the Gophers fell out of the polls, they failed to make the NCAA tournament.
Bemidji State's upset run in the North Star College Cup cost Minnesota State its No. 1 ranking. The Mavericks fell to No. 3, while Minnesota Duluth maintained its No. 7 ranking despite losing in the first round to the Beavers, who received votes in this week's poll.
North Dakota reclaims the top spot with Boston University, Minnesota State, Harvard and Nebraska-Omaha rounding out the top five.
The Mavericks held No. 1 in the PairWise rankings, while the Gophers fell to No. 20. The top 16 are projected to make the NCAA tournament field.
Michigan continues to improve its ranking, moving up three spots to No. 13. The Wolverines are the only ranked Big Ten program, with the Gophers and Penn State sitting just outside the top 20.
Join me for a college hockey live chat Tuesday at noon to discuss what's troubling the Gophers, if Minnesota State is built to make its Frozen Four debut, and lots of other hockey topics. Join the discussion early.
Saturday replay: Gophers 'angry' after latest loss in North Star Cup, read Saturday night's game story. Watch postgame video of Gophers senior captain Kyle Rau, defenseman Ben Marshall, and coach Don Lucia. Also, Bemidji State upsets No. 1 Minnesota State to win unofficial state tournament, read full recap.
Friday replay: Minnesota State lives up to top ranking with 4-2 win over Gophers, read Friday night's game story and postgame blog. Watch postgame video of Gophers senior forward Travis Boyd, Gophers coach Don Lucia, and Mavericks goaltender Stephon Williams. Also, Bemidji State made up for lost time with a first-round upset of No. 7 Minnesota Duluth, read full recap.