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."
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.