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UMD men's hockey falls out of USCHO rankings for first time since 2015-16 season, ending 154-week streak

The Bulldogs' run of being ranked in 154 consecutive USCHO.com polls was the longest active streak in NCAA Division I men's hockey.

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Minnesota Duluth players celebrate with Minnesota Duluth forward Ben Steeves (6) after he scored a goal against Omaha at Amsoil Arena on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — The Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey program is unranked in the USCHO.com rankings for the first time since Feb. 29, 2016, ending a run of 154-straight appearances in the poll.

The Bulldogs, who received 14 points in voting , fell out of the top 20 on Monday following a 3-2 loss and 3-2 overtime win at home against Omaha in NCHC play over the weekend at Amsoil Arena. The Bulldogs led both games 2-1 going into the third period, but took just two out of six league points in the series.

At 6-6 overall and 2-2 in NCHC play, UMD sits sixth in the league ahead of its trip to No. 14 Western Michigan this week.

The Bulldogs started the 2022-23 season ranked No. 5 in the USCHO.com poll and were ranked as high as No. 4 in the polls released on Oct. 3 and Oct. 10. A four-game losing streak dropped the Bulldogs to No. 19 on Oct. 24 and Oct. 31. The Bulldogs were No. 20 a week ago following a split at Colorado College.

The Bulldogs were unranked for six consecutive polls during the second half of the 2015-16 season from Jan. 25 through Feb. 29, and they didn’t receive any votes on back-to-back weeks — Feb. 15 and 22, 2016 — when they had fallen to 11-14-5 overall late in the season.

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Coming off an NCAA regional final loss to Boston University in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 2014-15, UMD began 2015-16 ranked No. 2 in the USCHO.com preseason poll behind Boston College. The Bulldogs plummeted out of the top 10 following an early four-game losing streak against UMass-Lowell, Omaha and Denver.
A four-game unbeaten streak (0-3-1) versus St. Cloud State and Denver in January knocked UMD from the poll, but the Bulldogs returned on March 7, 2016 — the start of their 154-week streak — with four-straight wins over St. Cloud State and Miami to close the regular season.

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Scott Sandelin said Wednesday the absences are due to a combination of injuries and illnesses, but the coach expects to have enough players available this weekend against the Tigers.

In 2015-16, UMD finished fourth in the NCHC during the regular season, lost to SCSU in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff championship and lost 3-2 to Boston College in an NCAA regional final in Worcester, Massachusetts — nearly rallying from a 3-0 third-period deficit.

UMD remained ranked throughout its 2017-18 national championship run, despite starting 8-9-2 and 3-7 in the NCHC that year. The Bulldogs had won just three of nine games in November and December, but never dropped lower than No. 17.

The Bulldogs' streak of 154-straight polls was the longest active streak in NCAA Division I men's hockey until this week. Minnesota State now holds the longest active streak at 124.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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