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UMD men's hockey: Bulldogs take over top spot in national polls following wins over Alaska

Minnesota Duluth is No. 1 in the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls for the first time since Oct. 7, 2019.

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Minnesota Duluth players celebrate a second-period goal against Alaska on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Minnesota Duluth is the No. 1 team in the country for the first time since Oct. 7, 2019, following a pair of home wins over Alaska last week.

The Bulldogs picked up 33 out of 50 first-place votes to take over the No. 1 spot in the latest USCHO.com poll released on Monday morning . UMD received 22 out of 34 first-place votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll that was posted on Monday afternoon.

The Bulldogs improved to 10-3-1 overall over the weekend via a pair of nonconference wins over Alaska at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. UMD won 5-1 on Friday night before needing overtime to beat the Nanooks on Saturday 1-0 . The Bulldogs are on the road this week for a nonconference series at Northern Michigan.

UMD's most recent run at No. 1 came at the start of the 2019-20 season when the program was coming off back-to-back national championships. The Bulldogs were the top team in both polls for the opening two weeks of the season.

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The Bulldogs are currently one of five NCHC teams that reside in the top 10 of both polls along with St. Cloud State, Western Michigan, North Dakota and Nebraska-Omaha. A sixth NCHC team, Denver, sits just outside the top 10 of both polls.

Minnesota State, Michigan and Quinnipiac are also receiving first-place votes in both polls. The Wolverines beat the Bulldogs 5-1 on Oct. 15 in the Ice Breaker Tournament at Amsoil Arena. The Bulldogs are scheduled to play a home-and-home series with Minnesota State over New Year's weekend.

The Mavericks were previously the top team in both polls, but split at Lake Superior State last week, losing 1-0 on Friday and winning 3-0 on Saturday.

There have been four different No. 1 teams over the last four weeks in both polls after the three previous No. 1 teams — Minnesota State, Michigan and St. Cloud State — went a combined 2-4 at the top. The No. 1-ranked team in either poll has gone 9-9 this season with SCSU's three-week run as No. 1 between Oct. 25-Nov. 8 being the only time a team has been able to hold onto the No. 1 ranking in both polls for multiple weeks.

This story was updated at 1:50 p.m. on Nov. 29, 2021, with the addition of the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. It was originally posted at 11:45 a.m. on Nov. 29, 2021.

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