ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

UMD is nation's top dog

DULUTH, Minn.--Minnesota Duluth is the top-ranked team in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey for the first time since Jan. 30, 2012, following its weekend home sweep of previously unanimous No. 1 North Dakota at Amsoil Arena to open NCHC play.

DULUTH, Minn.-Minnesota Duluth is the top-ranked team in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey for the first time since Jan. 30, 2012, following its weekend home sweep of previously unanimous No. 1 North Dakota at Amsoil Arena to open NCHC play.

After spending two weeks at No. 2, UMD (5-1-2 overall, 2-0 NCHC) currently holds the top spot in both of the major polls released Monday. It's the first time that's happened since Jan. 23, 2012.

The Bulldogs, who beat the Fighting Hawks 5-2 and 3-0, are a unanimous No. 1 in the United States College Hockey Online.com poll after picking up all 50 first-place votes. UMD received 33 of 34 first-place votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. North Dakota dropped to No. 3 in both polls.

The last time the Bulldogs were No. 1 in the USCHO poll, they held down the top spot for eight consecutive weeks between Dec. 5, 2011 and Jan. 30, 2012. UMD spent seven weeks in 2011-12 at No. 1 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll from Dec. 5-Jan. 23.

"A long way to go down and it's hard to stay there all year," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said when asked Saturday night about the potential of being the new No. 1 team in the country. "More importantly, I'm really pleased that we started the league with a couple wins against a good hockey team."

ADVERTISEMENT

UMD senior wing Alex Iafallo recorded his first collegiate hat trick in Friday's 5-2 win over North Dakota. Freshman goaltender Hunter Miska then made 30 saves on Saturday for his second collegiate shutout.

All three of the Bulldogs' goals in Saturday's 3-0 win came on special teams - one via the power play and two shorthanded.

"We're letting it settle in," UMD junior wing Karson Kuhlman of Esko said Saturday. Kuhlman scored one of the short-handed goals and assisted on another. "We have another big week (this) weekend with more league games coming up."

The Bulldogs hit the road to play No. 8 St. Cloud State (4-2, 0-0) at 7:37 p.m. Friday and 7:07 p.m. Saturday in St. Cloud.

The NCHC currently holds down the top three spots in the USCHO poll with Denver ranked No. 2. The Pioneers received the other first-place vote in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

Related Topics: HOCKEY
Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
What To Read Next
The Toros' Dakota Lenz scores 2 goals in Mason City's 8-1 win over Willmar
The league would launch in summer 2024 and is polling interest in possible host cities.
The Tuesday, Jan. 31, game between Sioux Falls Lincoln and Watertown was forced to move after junior JT Rock broke the rim with a powerful two-handed dunk. Rock is committed to play at Iowa State.
Hull was a five-time 50-goal scorer, led the NHL in goalscoring seven times, twice won the Hart Trophy and was voted a First-Team All-Star on the left wing 10 times.