Coming off a run to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2020-21, Minnesota Duluth found itself among the top four of the first national preseason poll released of the 2021-22 season, though, it has to share that top-four ranking with a top rival.
Both the Bulldogs and Minnesota Golden Gophers came in tied for fourth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine preseason poll released on Tuesday. They're among the four WCHA teams to land in the top five to start the season.
Wisconsin, the defending national champion, took the top spot while the 2020-21 national runner up, Northeastern, came in at No. 2. Ohio State, which lost to the Badgers in the national semifinals, is ranked No. 3.
Northeastern edged the Bulldogs 3-2 in overtime of the national semifinals in Erie, Pennsylvania, last season. UMD returns 18 of the 22 Bulldogs who played in the Frozen Four, plus senior center Kylie Hanley, who missed the NCAA tournament due to a season-ending injury.
The Bulldogs open the 2021-22 season Oct. 1-2 at Minnesota State-Mankato.