The UNO hockey team came in at No. 14 in the final USCHO Top 20 released Monday following arguably the best season in school history. The Mavs finished 21-16-2 overall, and their third-place finish in the WCHA was the highest ever for the 14-year-old program.
Under second-year coach Dean Blais, UNO made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006. The Mavs lost their opening game 3-2 in OT to eventual NCAA runner-up Michigan.
Minnesota Duluth came in at No. 1 after beating the Wolverines 3-2 in overtime Saturday night at the Frozen Four championship game. It was the first NCAA title in program history for the Bulldogs.
But UMD was not a unanimous No. 1 in the USCHO rankings, earning 48 of a possible 50 first-place votes.
The other two first-place votes went to North Dakota, which came in at No. 2 in the poll. The Fighting Sioux, who had an NCAA-best 32-9-3 record, lost 2-0 to No. 3 Michigan during Thursday’s national semifinals. North Dakota, which won both the WCHA’s regular season and playoff championships, outshot the Wolverines 40-20 in that loss.
Notre Dame, which fell to Duluth in the other national semifinal, came in at No. 4, followed by No. 5 Boston College and No. 6 Yale. BC, the 2009-10 NCAA champs, lost to Colorado College in the first round of the tournament. Yale, which was No. 1 at the start of the postseason, was eliminated by Minnesota Duluth in the regional finals.
Including Duluth, North Dakota and UNO, there were five WCHA teams in the final rankings. Denver finished at No. 7, while Colorado College came in at No. 11. Five of the other seven WCHA teams — Wisconsin (44), Minnesota (29), Alaska Anchorage (12), Bemidji State (7), and St. Cloud State (4) — earned votes but didn’t crack the Top 20.