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NCHC continues to dominate national poll

UND's Collin Adams, Colton Poolman and Jordan Kawaguchi celebrate Adams' goal during Saturday night's game at Wisconsin. UND is ranked No. 2 this week in the USCHO.com poll. Photo/Russ Hons, UND Athletics

Since the beginning of last season, half of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference has spent time at No. 1 in the national rankings.

That officially became the case when 7-0 St. Cloud State reached the top of the USCHO poll Monday morning.

Denver, Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota also have been No. 1 during that span—but virtually nobody else.

In the last 32 national polls, going back to when UND won the 2016 NCAA national championship, NCHC teams have held the top spot 30 times. The only two other teams to crack No. 1 were Boston University and Penn State, both lasting one week.

In the last two seasons, NCHC teams have been ranked in the top two nationally 49 times. The next closest is the Eastern College Athletic Conference with seven, followed by Hockey East (four) and the Big Ten (two).

That dominance has played out in interconference games this season, too.

The NCHC is aiming for a fourth consecutive year with the best out-of-conference record. After UND's win and tie at Wisconsin, the league is at 30-13-7 (.670), the best record in the country. Its teams are ranked 1-2-3 with UND at No. 2 and Denver at No. 3 following the Huskies.

The Big Ten is second in out-of-conference record at 28-15-4 (.638). No other league is above .500.

And while the Big Ten has seen a resurgence in out-of-conference play this season, it is still working to find its way to the top of the polls.

Since Minnesota was knocked out of the top spot on Nov. 17, 2014, there have been 73 national polls conducted.

NCHC teams have been ranked in the top two 83 times. Big Ten teams have reached the top two spots twice—both Penn State last season (No. 1 for one week, No. 2 for one week).

Thome earns NCHC honor

Peter Thome got another sign Monday that he had a strong debut in net for UND.

Playing in place of an injured Cam Johnson (undisclosed), Thome earned a win and a tie against Wisconsin in the Kohl Center, allowing two goals each night.

Thome posted a .935 save percentage and a 1.92 goals-against average for the weekend.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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