MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota used a convincing 7-2 victory over Ohio State in the annual Hall of Fame Game, held this year at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, to continue its dominance of the top spot in the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll. The Gophers earned 24 of the 40 first place votes, and finished with 576 points, both numbers increased from last week.
Denver finished second in this week’s voting, but also earned more first place votes and more overall points than last week, following a 5-0 win over No. 10 Michigan State and a 3-2 victory over host Nebraska-Omaha to win the championship of the Maverick Stampede tournament in Omaha, Neb.
The biggest gains in this week’s poll were made by North Dakota, which won the championship of the Xerox College Hockey Showcase with a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory over No. 6 Michigan. Freshman sensation Zach Parise scored two goals and added an assist for the Fighting Sioux in the win. North Dakota climbed from No. 13 last week to No. 9, while Michigan fell three spots.
Entering the poll this week at No. 15 is Providence, which won two non-conference games over the weekend, downing Union 5-2 and Iona 11-0.
Next week sees mostly non-conference action with nearly all ranked teams seeing action. Some classic early-season matchups are in store, with No. 2 Denver travelling to No. 7 Boston College, No. 5 Maine and No. 11 Colorado College meeting in the first round of the Nye Frontier Classic hosted by Alaska-Anchorage, and No. 10 Michigan State meeting No. 14 Northern Michigan in a conference battle. The weekend is highlighted by a two-game set featuring No. 1 Minnesota visiting No. 3 New Hampshire.
The USCHO.com Poll is compiled by U.S. College Hockey Online, and consists of 40 voters, including 28 coaches from the Division I conferences and 12 beat writers from across the country. The poll is published weekly by the Associated Press.