Women’s hockey team tops the polls

Minnesota’s women’s hockey team has been ranked as the top team in the country, according to a poll released Monday by U.S. College Hockey Online. The Gophers completed exhibition play with three wins, including two against the Oval X-Treme last weekend.

Minnesota State-Mankato earned a series sweep against then-No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth last weekend, dropping the Bulldogs to fifth in the polls. Of the top 10, four are from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association: Minnesota (No. 1), UMD (No. 5), Wisconsin (No. 6) and MSU (No. 10). Ohio State also received votes in the poll.

In the 2003-04 campaign, Minnesota will face five ranked teams: No. 6 Wisconsin (Oct. 25-26, Feb. 13-14), No. 10 Mankato (Nov. 22-23, Jan. 28-29), No. 5 UMD (Jan. 9-10, Feb. 28-29), No. 9 Mercyhurst (Jan. 16-17) and No. 2 Dartmouth (Feb. 7-8).

The Gophers start their regular season with a WCHA series against Ohio State this weekend at Ridder Arena. Both games are slated to start at 7:05 p.m.

National exposure

Minnesota’s upcoming home football game against Michigan State at 11 a.m. Saturday will be televised by ESPN2. The Gophers’ game against Illinois in Champaign, scheduled for 11:10 a.m. Oct. 25, will be televised by ESPN Plus.