The Gophers, the No. 1 team in the nation to open the men’s hockey season, fell out of the United States College Hockey Online top-20 poll Monday.
They spent five weeks in the top spot before an 11-week decline that has them unranked for the first 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 at Xcel Energy Center.
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 surprising run to the North Star College Cup cost Minnesota State Mankato its No. 1 ranking. The Mavericks fell to No. 3, while Minnesota Duluth maintained it’s No. 7 ranking despite losing in the first round to the Beavers, who received votes in this week’s poll.
North Dakota reclaimed the top spot in the poll, with Boston University, Mankato, 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.