Winless weekend drops U hockey from top spots in men’s, women’s polls

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Riding high a week ago as the nation’s top-ranked teams in their respective polls, the Gophers men’s and women’s hockey squads were swept over the weekend and took a tumble in the rankings.

Minnesota’s men (11-3) fell three spots to No. 4 in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll after losing 3-2 and 2-1 to Notre Dame at 3M Arena at Mariucci. The Gophers started the season 10-0 but have lost three of their past four games.

Boston College, which swept Merrimack over the weekend to improve to 8-2, is the new No. 1 men’s team, garnering 792 points and 34 of the 40 first-place votes. Minnesota State Mankato (7-1-1) moved up three spots to No. 2 and received three first-place votes following a road sweep of Lake Superior State. North Dakota (9-3-1) fell one spot to No. 3 and received one first-place vote after a Sunday night loss at Denver. The Gophers received two first-place votes. Bowling Green (14-2) moved up three spots to No. 5, while St. Cloud State (9-6) fell two spots to No. 6 after being swept at Western Michigan. Minnesota Duluth, idle over the weekend, remained at No. 7.

“We’re not talented enough to show up at the rink and everything’s going to pop our way,” Gophers coach Bob Motzko said after Saturday’s game. ” … It kind of leaks into your team that when you start off 10-0, there is that, ‘Hey, this is kind of easy.’ And then you get smacked down, and you realize.”

The Gophers return to action Thursday and Friday with a nonconference home series against Arizona State.

Minnesota’s women (8-3) lost 5-0 and 6-3 at No. 2 Wisconsin on Friday and Saturday and swapped spots with the Badgers in the USCHO poll. Wisconsin received 149 points and 14 of 15 first-place votes. The Gophers had 130 points and the other first-place vote. Ohio State, which split a series against Minnesota Duluth, remained No. 3, followed by Northeastern, Colgate and UMD.

“Our team fought,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said after Saturday’s loss. “Unfortunately, we were just climbing back each period, and so it was difficult to get that go-ahead goal.”

The Gophers women are idle this weekend before resuming a challenging stretch that includes a series at Ohio State (Jan. 29-30) and back-to-back home series against Wisconsin (Feb. 5-6) and Ohio State (Feb. 12-13).

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