Gophers Hockey: Minnesota drops from No. 1 in USCHO


National Hockey Center, St. Cloud, Minn.

After a three-point weekend at Michigan State, the Minnesota men’s hockey team dropped from the No. 1 spot in the USCHO.com Division I men’s poll. Leap-frogging the Gophers to take over the top spot is the St. Cloud State University Huskies who swept Minnesota-Duluth over the weekend.

Minnesota received 14 first place votes at 12-2-2 overall and fell to No. 2 in the weekly ratings while St. Cloud State sits at 11-1-2 overall on the season, earning 33 first place votes in the poll released Monday.

Michigan State’s shootout win over the Gophers in Friday’s series opener likely doomed the Maroon and Gold from the top spot which was also aided by St. Cloud State’s sweep over the UMD Bulldogs this weekend.

Head coach Don Lucia’s team had held the USCHO.com No. 1 ranking for the last seven weeks and still sits on top of the Big Ten hockey standings and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine collge hockey poll.

With the Gophers idle for the rest of the year, they won’t have another shot at reclaiming the top spot until 2014, when they host the Mariucci Classic on Jan. 3-4.

For now, Minnesota will have to rest up and wait for the second half of their season. St. Cloud State hosts Union College for a two-game series this coming weekend. By this time next week, the Huskies could be holding the reins at the top of both polls heading into the holiday break.

Minnesota will open against Colgate on the first day of the Mariucci Classic and would play either Ferris State or Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute depending on the outcome.

Lucia will most likely not be with the team for the Mariucci Classic as he will be leading Team U.S.A. at the World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden during that week.

Not to look too far ahead, but Minnesota and St. Cloud State will meet at Xcel Energy Center on Jan. 24 as part of the North Star College Cup — mark your calendars.

Follow Gold and Gopher on Twitter

Follow Steve Pesek on Twitter

Like Gold and Gopher on Facebook

Tags: Don Lucia Hockey Minnesota Golden Gophers