Women’s hockey drops to No. 5 in nation

After losing to Yale, Minnesota falls to their lowest ranking this season.

The+Gophers+womens+hockey+team+will+face+off+against+unranked+Minnesota+State+next+on+Friday.+

Emily Urfer

The Gophers women’s hockey team will face off against unranked Minnesota State next on Friday.

by Eitan Schoenberg

After their Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) loss to No. 2 Wisconsin, Minnesota was demoted from No. 1 to No. 3 on the USCHO.com rankings last week. This was the lowest ranking the Gophers had seen since last season, when they were placed at No. 4 after the season finished.

However, Minnesota’s decline has continued, and the Gophers now sit at No. 5 following their 4-3 defeat versus Yale. The two teams traded places in the rankings; Yale was listed at No. 5 prior to their victory over former No. 3 Minnesota. Now, Yale rests at No. 3, their highest placement of the season.

The last time the Gophers were placed at fifth was Jan. 17. At that time, the team was ranked at fourth and fell to unranked Minnesota State in overtime. Minnesota’s loss allowed Quinnipiac to surpass the Gophers and claim No.4.

Minnesota faces the same situation this year as their recent loss to Yale allowed Quinnipiac to once again overtake the Gophers at fourth place.

The No. 4 Bobcats are a powerhouse; they’ve won 14 out of 15 games played, with 11 of those wins including a victory margin of three or more goals. Quinnipiac sits at first place in the Eastern College Athletic Conference standings, ahead of No. 3 Yale.

As seen with their losses to Wisconsin and Yale, a single loss is detrimental to a team’s standing. It will be difficult for Minnesota to gain on the four teams ranked above them as long as their opposition continues to win.

Minnesota’s recent stretch of games has been their worst of the season, losing three of their last five games. Their three regulation losses are the most amongst the top seven teams on the USCHO.com rankings. No. 6 Colgate and No. 7 Northeastern have two losses each, along with No. 2 Wisconsin.

Since their recent games were a part of a non-conference showcase, Minnesota’s WCHA record was not affected. The Gophers still reside in second place below Ohio State with a 9-1-2 conference record.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, they are currently not scheduled to face either Wisconsin or Ohio State until February, so the Gophers will have to gain ground via winning against other WCHA teams.

Furthermore, Minnesota will not face a ranked opponent until late January when they visit No. 8 Minnesota Duluth. However, this can change as St. Cloud was rather close to receiving No. 15 on this week’s rankings. St. Cloud faces St. Thomas this weekend, and a series win can possibly grant them a spot on USCHO.com’s rankings next week. Until then, the Huskies remain unranked.

The Gophers will look to take advantage of the upcoming schedule against unranked opponents beginning Friday versus Minnesota State.