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Quick turnaround: UMD women's hockey returning to glory

Is there a changing of the guard occurring on the women's college hockey scene in Minnesota?

Two years ago, things were looking pretty bleak for the University of Minnesota Duluth's women's hockey program.

UMD had just ousted legendary coach Shannon Miller and the program and athletics department have been embroiled in a bitter legal battle over her termination.

But less than two years later, the Bulldogs are back. Following their sweep over Minnesota last weekend, UMD finds themselves near the top of the nation in women's college hockey.

The Bulldogs are ranked No. 2 in both the USCHO.com Top 10 Women's College Hockey Poll and the USA Hockey/USA Today poll.

  1. Wisconsin
  2. University of Minnesota - Duluth
  3. Clarkson
  4. University of Minnesota
  5. St. Lawrence
  6. Boston College
  7. Robert Morris
  8. Quinnipiac
  9. Princeton
  10. Cornell

At 15-4-2, the Bulldogs have already equalled their win total from last year. They have been ranked for 14 straight weeks, demonstrating just how far the program has come under second-year head coach Maura Crowell.

In fact, the Duluth News Tribune notes that it's the first time since the 2010-2011 season the Bulldogs have been ranked this high.

Amazingly, the sweep of Minnesota also snapped an eight-game losing streak and a 21-game winless streak for the Bulldogs against the Gophers.

The Bulldogs have been red hot to open the season, but the turnaround will be defined by how they finish the season. UMD still has some big tests ahead including a February matchup with the top-ranked Wisconsin Badgers on the horizon.

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