After a national runners-up campaign last season, the Minnesota Golden Gophers hockey team will open the 2014-2015 season ranked #1 in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Polls. The Gophers return the bulk of their roster from last season, including Hobey Baker candidate goalie Adam Wilcox, first-team all-american defenseman Mike Reilly, senior Captain Kyle Rau, and host of NHL prospects in support.
The University of North Dakota is ranked #2 in both polls, and the Providence Friars are the consensus #3 team.
The next highest ranked Big Ten team is Michigan, ranked #7 in the USA Today poll and #8 in the USCHO.com poll. Wisconsin is ranked #10 in by USCHO.com and #12 by USA Today. The three other Big Ten schools did not break the top 20 in either poll, but Ohio State received votes in both polls.
Defending NCAA champion Union College is ranked #5 by USCHO.com and #8 by USA Today.
The high poll rankings for the Gophers certainly align with the high expectations surrounding the program for the coming season.