New No. 2

BY foxsports • October 24, 2012

The Gophers' split at Michigan Tech last weekend ousted them from their No. 1 position on both the USCHO Division I Men's College Hockey Poll and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll. In fact, the top ten rankings on both polls are identical. Minnesota had been a consensus No. 1 pick the first two weeks of the season. The Gophers slipped to second place, replaced by Boston College in this week's rankings. The Eagles had been ranked third in last week's voting.

Here's the latest rankings:

1.   Boston College (2-1-0)
2.   Minnesota (3-1-0)
3.   Miami (O) (3-0-1)
4.   North Dakota (1-1-0)
5.   Denver (2-0-0)
6.   Michigan (2-1-0)
7.   Cornell (0-0-0)
8.   Union (2-1-0)
9.   Notre Dame (3-1-0)
10. Western Michigan (3-1-0)

Women still No. 1:  The Gopher women's team continued its dominance in the polls, retaining the No. 1 ranking it has held against all comers. They've roared off to an 8-0-0 start and received all 15 first-place votes in the new USCHO poll.

The Gopher women are headed to Grand Forks for a weekend set with ‘The Team Formerly Known As the Sioux.' They're led by junior forward Amanda Kessel—No. 4 scorer in the nation in points-per-game average last season—who played prep hockey at Shattuck St. Mary's. Kessel has tallied 12-13-25 through eight games. She is closely followed by freshman Hannah Brandt, the former Hill-Murray standout, with 11-13-24. Senior defenseman Megan Bozek just became only the fourth blueliner in team history to notch one hundred career points. She hit the century mark with an assist against sixth ranked Ohio State Saturday.

Big blue line coming:  Don't look for these standouts to don Maroon and Gold for a couple of years but the Gophers have received commitments from two big prep defensemen. Ryan Collins of Bloomington is 6-4, 193 lbs. while Jack Glover of Golden Valley clocks in at 6-3, 173 lbs. Both played at Benilde-St. Margaret's last season where they helped the Red Knights capture the Class AA state championship.

This season both big blueliners are playing on the U.S. Under-17 Development Team, based in Ann Arbor, Mich. That team is winding up a series of games against USHL teams. It will depart for Europe in early November to compete in the Four Nations Tournament in Monthey, Switzerland. The U-17 squad has already triumphed against European competition, going undefeated (5-0) in the Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic in August.

This is not the team that will play the Gophers at Mariucci Arena this Friday. That's the Under-18 team, which includes Minnesotans Hunter Miska (G, North Branch), Gage Ausmus (D, East Grand Forks), Clint Lewis (D, Burnsville) and Hudson Fasching (F, Burnsville).

It's just as well that Collins and Glover are still too young to suit up for the Gophers. Minnesota is well-stocked with quality defensemen this season. Nine of them are available and all can play. It's a dilemma many coaches would love to have: how to keep everyone happy with playing time. Head Coach Don Lucia has already used some of his blueliners as fourth-line forwards. Look for that to continue for some time.

Multi-media madness:  Look for even more inside Gopher hockey information coming soon. I will be up and running with my Gopher Hockey Facebook page and start posting up-to-the-minute info on all things Gopher hockey on Twitter in the near future.

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