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Minnesota Hockey: Gophers Up to 3rd in Latest Poll, Announce Mariucci Classic Teams

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University of Minnesota Athletics

In college football we talk about how preseason and early season polls are pretty useless and only there to sell magazines and get page clicks. It's tough to know just how good one team is from year to the next, and the preseason poll is always much different from how it looks midseason.

Well it's no different in college hockey, as after the first weekend of regular season play we've already seen a real shakeup in the polls. In the latest USCHO.com poll released yesterday, Miami is the new #1 with 40 of 50 first place votes, while the Golden Gophers moved up from 5 to 3 after winning the Ice Breaker Tournament.

Here's the new top 20:

1. Miami (last week-2), 2-0-0

2. Wisconsin (3), 2-0-0

3. Minnesota (5), 2-0-0

4. Notre Dame (8), 2-0-0

5. Michigan (11), 2-0-0

6. North Dakota (7), 1-0-1

7. Boston College (4), 1-1-0

7. Yale (6), 0-0-0

9. Mass-Lowell (1), 1-1-0

10. Providence (14), 2-0-0

11. St Cloud State (9), 1-0-1

12. Denver (17), 2-0-0

13. New Hampshire (13), 1-1-0

14. Quinnipiac (10), 1-1-0

15. Boston U (19), 2-0-0

16. Union (16), 1-0-1

17. Rensselaer (15), 1-1-0

18. Minnesota State (11), 0-2-0

19. Cornell (0-0-0), NR

20. Minnesota-Duluth (1-0-1), NR

One of Michigan's wins was against BC which is the reason for their big jump, and Mass-Lowell fell because they lost to Sacred Heart, who was 2-21-4 last year. Now, Sacred Heart could be much improved, but that still doesn't look great to start the season. Oh, and Mankato's drop was because they were swept by Providence. The Gophers have a loaded schedule as they get #7 BC next weekend, #4 Notre Dame the second weekend of November which is followed by series with #18 Mankato, #20 Duluth before opening the B1G against #2 Wisconsin.

Speaking of scheduling, the Gophers finally announced the participants of the Mariucci Classic as Minnesota will face Colgate on Friday, Jan 3rd and-perhaps we're assuming a Gopher victory over Colgate- the winner of Ferris State and RPI on Saturday, Jan 4th. Win or lose both Gopher games are at 7pm, with the two others both at 4pm. In case you'd forgotten, head coach Don Lucia won't be there for that tournament as he'll be coaching Team USA's World Juniors team so it'll be an opportunity for Mike Guentzel and Grant Potulny to get some extended game-coaching experience. Brady Skjei is almost a lock for that team, and freshmen Hudson Fasching, Taylor Cammarata and Mike Brodzinski have a chance to join him.

The Gophers go on the road for the first time as they head to Bemidji for a weekend series with the Beavers. We'll have more on that later in the week.