UND back on top of college hockey's national rankings

Fighting Hawks regain the No. 1 spot in the USCHO poll.

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UND hockey head coach Brad Berry watches as NCHC referees speak with Colorado College head coach Mike Haviland (not pictured) in the second period of Sunday's home hockey game. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

The UND men's hockey team will head into the final week of the regular season the same way it entered the first week of the regular season -- as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation.

The Fighting Hawks reclaimed the top spot this week, receiving 37 of 40 first-place votes, passing up the previous top-ranked team, Boston College.

UND beat Omaha 4-2 on Friday night, its fifth-straight victory and ninth win in the last 10, despite playing the game without its two Hobey Baker Award candidates in Jordan Kawaguchi and Shane Pinto.

Boston College lost to UMass in overtime in its lone game over the weekend and dropped to No. 2.

No. 3 Minnesota, No. 4 Minnesota State-Mankato and No. 5 Wisconsin round out the top five.


Three other National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams are ranked: St. Cloud State is No. 8, Minnesota Duluth is No. 9 and Omaha is No. 12.

UND last held the nation's No. 1 ranking on Dec. 7. It hasn't dropped out of the top five all season.

The Fighting Hawks (18-4-1) host Omaha at 7:37 p.m. Friday in their final regular-season game of the season. They're set to begin the NCHC Frozen Faceoff with a quarterfinal game against Miami on Friday, March 12 in Ralph Engelstad Arena. The time of the game has yet to be announced.

UND is a virtual lock to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, which will begin with a regional semifinal game on March 26 in Fargo's Scheels Arena.

The Fighting Hawks had a strong start to the season, going 7-2-1 in 10 games at the NCHC Pod in Omaha in December, coming out of the bubble-style event in first place.

In the second half of the season, as the NCHC shifted back to home sites, UND has been even more dominant, going 11-2. UND is 6-0 at home and no opponent has even come within three goals of the Fighting Hawks in The Ralph.

Up front, Pinto (28 points) and Kawaguchi (26) have led the way with seniors Collin Adams (23) and Grant Mismash (19) also averaging a point per game. Forward Jasper Weatherby has been red-hot as of late, scoring goals in seven-straight games. It's tied as the fifth-longest goal streak in program history.

On the back end, Matt Kiersted and Jacob Bernard-Docker are two of the top four defenseman scorers in the league, while rookie Jake Sanderson has eight points in his last eight games.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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