Minnesota No. 1 Again With 20-Game Unbeaten Streak

A championship at its own Dodge Holiday Classic ran Minnesota’s unbeaten streak to 20 games over the New Year’s weekend, assuring the Golden Gophers another term atop the USCHO.com/CSTV Division I men’s poll, released Tuesday. The Gophers were the unanimous pick of all 40 voters for the third straight time, and finished at No. 1 for the sixth straight poll.

There was a bit of shuffling beneath Minnesota, as Notre Dame swept Northern Michigan over the weekend to run its own win streak to six and climb to No. 2 this time around. Following the Fighting Irish was Maine, which won the Florida College Classic and climbed two spots to No. 3.

New Hampshire, which split at the Florida College Classic, losing to Cornell to end its unbeaten streak at 12 games, made way for the Irish and the Black Bears by falling to No. 4 this week.

The Wildcats were followed by St. Cloud State, which nosed into the top five by winning the Sheraton/TD Banknorth tournament title. The Huskies’ win streak now stands at 10 and their unbeaten streak at 13, second only to Minnesota.

Miami fell two spots to No. 6 after losing to Ohio State in the Ohio Hockey Classic title game, while Boston College was stable in seventh. The Eagles have been idle since Dec. 9, and resume play this weekend.

No. 8 this week was Denver, up two spots after taking the Wells Fargo Denver Cup championship. The Pioneers were followed by No. 9 Clarkson, the poll’s big winner this week. The Golden Knights, who have now won seven straight, rocketed up six spots by winning the Badger Showdown.

Finishing out the top 10 was Michigan State, which reclaimed four spots in the rankings by claiming the Great Lakes Invitational.

The next several spots in the poll were also reorganized by holiday results, with Cornell finishing at No. 11 by splitting in Florida. Colorado College was down four positions to No. 12 after winning one and losing one against Bemidji State, and Boston University was likewise down four slots, to No. 13, in the wake of a split at the Ledyard Bank tourney.

Michigan finished at No. 14 and Vermont at No. 15, followed by No. 16 Quinnipiac and 17th-ranked Lake Superior.

Two CHA teams joined the rankings this week, with Bemidji State coming in at No. 18 and Niagara in 19th. North Dakota rounded out the top 20 despite a sub-.500 record after winning the Ledyard Bank Tournament.

Massachusetts, Alaska and Dartmouth dropped out since the last poll on Dec. 18.