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Five Teams Open Conference Play this Weekend

By NCHC, 11/02/17, 7:00PM EDT

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Three conference series, top-10 non-conference series on the docket with seven teams in action

While conference play may have gotten underway for two teams last weekend, five National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) teams begin their pursuit of the Penrose Cup this weekend when they open NCHC play. Three conference series are on this weekend's slate, including a top-10 in-state showdown, while a top-10 non-conference series rounds out the schedule.

The top-10 in-state rivalry features No. 8/8 Minnesota Duluth making the short trip to tangle with No. 2/2 St. Cloud State in the conference opener for both teams. Both teams enter the series on five-game unbeaten streaks with the Huskies a perfect 5-0-0 on the year and the Bulldogs 3-0-2 in their last five after sweeping Maine last weekend. UMD has won each of the last six meetings between the teams in St. Cloud.

Top-ranked Denver begins its quest to repeat as Penrose Cup champions when it begins NCHC play at Western Michigan, which is also the Broncos' conference opener. Like SCSU, the Pioneers are still unbeaten on the season (4-0-2) and are coming off wins at Boston University and Boston College. The Broncos were off last weekend but are 3-1-1 at home this season and went 2-2-0 against No. 1-ranked teams last season, including a split with No. 1 DU in Kalamazoo.

The third conference series has Colorado College visiting Miami. The Tigers began NCHC play last weekend, splitting with North Dakota, while this is the RedHawks' first conference action of the season. Miami swept UConn at home a weekend ago and has only faced Hockey East teams so far, going 3-3-0.

The lone non-conference match-up this weekend has No. 4/5 North Dakota visiting old WCHA rival No. 7/7 Wisconsin in a top-10 series. Both teams are coming off splits last weekend, UND doing so in conference play at CC, while the Badgers split at home with St. Lawrence, who the Fighting Hawks swept earlier this season. UND is 1-1-0 against the Big Ten so far this year, splitting with Minnesota two weeks ago.

All six conference games this weekend are available on NCHC.tv. To sign up for NCHC.tv and get access to watch over 100 games anywhere, anytime during the season, click here. In addition to Roku and AppleTV apps, NCHC.tv has added several new enhancements to the digital network this year, including mobile apps.

Both UMD at SCSU games are on TV as well on FOX Sports North PLUS this weekend with Saturday's game also shown live on FOX College Sports Central. North Dakota's games at Wisconsin are on TV too, with Friday's game on FOX Sports Wisconsin PLUS and FOX College Sports Atlantic and Saturday's contest on FOX Sports Wisconsin and FOX College Sports Pacific.

NCHC notes and individual team previews, along with links to watch and follow the games, are below.


NCHC Facts and Figures

•  While conference play opened last weekend with one series, five NCHC teams begin their pursuit of the Penrose Cup this weekend, including a top-10 in-state showdown between No. 2 St. Cloud State and No. 8 Minnesota Duluth. Also opening conference play this weekend are Denver and Western Michigan, as well as Miami, which hosts Colorado College.

•  After NCHC teams went 7-1-0 in non-conference play last weekend, the NCHC now boasts a 30-13-7 non-conference record this season, with the .670 win percentage second among the six conferences, barely behind the Big Ten (.671). The lone non-conference series this weekend is a top-10 match-up between No. 4 North Dakota and No. 7 Wisconsin. NCHC teams are 5-3-1 against Big Ten foes so far this season. 

•  NCHC teams make up half of the top eight in both the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll and the USCHO.com Poll this week, the only conference to have four teams in the top 10. Defending national champion Denver remains No. 1 in both polls, while St. Cloud State is No. 2 in each poll and North Dakota is in the top five in both. Minnesota Duluth sits at No. 8 in both polls, rounding out the NCHC’s ranked teams. 

• Denver and St. Cloud State are the only two teams in the country to have played more than two games this season and not have a loss. The Huskies are a perfect 5-0-0, while their +13 goal margin is tops in the NCAA. DU (4-0-2) ties for second nationally in goal margin at +12. All eight NCHC teams have a record of .500 or better so far this season and all eight teams have a positive goal margin, the only conference with all its members having a positive goal margin.

• SCSU junior defenseman Jimmy Schuldt was named the HCA National Player of the Month for October after leading the NCAA with 2.00 points per game and ranking first with a +8 plus-minus. Colorado College junior forward Mason Bergh is tied for the NCAA lead with seven goals so far.

• The NCHC is home to four of the top 10 power play units in the country, led by Miami’s 34.3 percent success rate (tops among teams with more than one game played). Omaha is sixth (32.0 percent), while Denver is ninth (30.4) and SCSU is 10th (29.2). North Dakota sits fifth nationally on the penalty kill, with a 94.7 percent success rate (36-of-38). 

• The NCHC is also home to three of the top five offenses in the country, led by St. Cloud State, which is averaging 4.60 goals per game (tops among teams with more than one game played). Omaha ranks fourth, scoring 4.17 goals per game, while Denver is tied for fifth (4.00 gpg) on offense. Defensively, North Dakota ranks fourth, allowing only 1.62 goals per game, while SCSU and Denver are tied for seventh, giving up exactly two goals per game. 

• Denver junior forward Dylan Gambrell reached the century mark for career points last Saturday in his 85th career game and now has 33 goals and 67 assists to his credit. He is tied for fifth in career scoring among active NCAA players and is tops among juniors. Omaha senior Tyler Vesel is next in line among NCHC players to hit the century mark with 83 career points in 119 career games.

• Minnesota Duluth senior forward and captain Karson Kuhlman has never missed a game in his NCAA career, playing in 130 consecutive games, which is the longest streak among active NCAA players. North Dakota senior forward and captain Austin Poganski has also played 130 career NCAA games, which ties Kuhlman for the most games played among active players, but he missed four games his freshman season. Denver senior defenseman Adam Plant has played in 128 career games, which is third among active NCAA players behind only Kuhlman and Poganski.

Siteheader

Colorado College at Miami

Friday, Nov. 3 | Steve Cady Arena | Oxford, Ohio | 5:35 p.m. MT
Saturday, Nov. 4 | Steve Cady Arena | Oxford, Ohio | 5:05 p.m. MT
Records: CC (5-3-0, 1-1-0-0 NCHC); Miami (3-3-0, 0-0-0-0 NCHC)
CC Notes | NCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: None 

• Colorado College opened conference play last weekend with a split against No. 4 North Dakota, winning the opener, 2-1, before falling on Saturday, 6-4. Friday’s win gave the Tigers their fifth win of the season, marking the earliest CC has reached its fifth win in a season since 2005-06 (Oct. 22). The Tigers are tied for second in the nation with five wins. At 5-3-0 this season, CC is off to its best start since going 5-3-0 to start the 2012-13 campaign.

• Junior forward Mason Bergh tallied a goal in both games against UND last weekend. The co-captain leads the NCHC and is tied for the national lead with seven goals.

• With its wins against 17th-ranked New Hampshire on Oct. 21 and 4th-ranked North Dakota on Oct. 27, CC defeated ranked teams in consecutive games for the first time since March 21 & 22, 2013, when it defeated No. 6 North Dakota and No. 1 Minnesota at the WCHA Final Five. 

• CC trails in the all-time series with Miami, going 5-8-1 against the RedHawks dating back to a Tiger win in 1993. Last season, the teams played a pair of overtime games in Oxford, tying the opener, 1-1, before Colorado College fell in the extra session in the finale, 3-2.

No. 1/1 Denver at Western Michigan

Friday, Nov. 3 | Lawson Ice Arena | Kalamazoo, Mich. | 5:05 p.m. MT
Saturday, Nov. 4 | Lawson Ice Arena | Kalamazoo, Mich. | 5:05 p.m. MT
Records: Denver (4-0-2, 0-0-0-0 NCHC); WMU (3-3-1, 0-0-0-0 NCHC) 
Denver NotesNCHC.tv (both nights) | Live AudioLive Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: None

• Denver won both of its games in Boston last weekend, edging No. 6 Boston University, 4-3, on Friday in the final seconds, while downing No. 19 Boston College on Saturday, 6-1. The wins kept DU unbeaten on the season -- one of only three NCAA teams to have played more than one game so far and still not have a loss. Denver has now gone 228 days without a loss, last losing March 17, 2017 in the Frozen Faceoff.

• Junior forward Dylan Gambrell logged his 100th career point against Boston College last Saturday on an assist. Gambrell is tied for 92nd among Denver’s all-time scorers with 33 goals and 67 assists through 85 games. He also ranks tied for fifth among active NCAA players with his 100 points and is tops among active NCHC skaters.

• Sophomore forward Henrik Borgström is riding a five-game point streak with eight points (5g, 3a) in that span, while Gambrell is on a five-game point streak with 10 points (3g, 7a) and junior forward Colin Staub is also on a five-game point streak with eight points (2g, 6a).

• The Pioneers posted a 4-1-0 record against Western Michigan last season, going 1-1-0 at Lawson Ice Arena. Denver is 14-5-1 all-time against the Broncos.

Miami vs. Colorado College

Friday, Nov. 3 | Steve Cady Arena | Oxford, Ohio | 7:35 p.m. ET
Saturday, Nov. 4 | Steve Cady Arena | Oxford, Ohio | 7:05 p.m. ET
Records: Miami (3-3-0, 0-0-0-0 NCHC); CC (5-3-0, 1-1-0-0 NCHC) 
Miami Notes | NCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: None 

• Miami swept UConn last weekend in the first ever meetings between the teams, blanking the Huskies, 3-0, on Friday before erupting in a 7-1 win on Saturday. It was the second time in its last four games Miami potted seven goals (Oct. 20 at Maine), also doing so in an exhibition win Oct. 13. Miami did not score seven goals in a game all last season.

• Sophomore forward Gordie Green is riding a four-game point streak and has notched three multi-point games in that span to lead the team with 11 points (tied for 5th nationally). He has 27 points (11g, 16a) in his last 25 games played.

• Sophomore goaltender Ryan Larkin stopped all 19 shots he faced last Friday to pitch his second career shutout. His first shutout also came at home against a Hockey East foe in Maine on Oct. 22, 2016.

• After going 1-for-14 on the power play on opening weekend, Miami is 11-for-21 (52.4 percent) on the man advantage in its last two series. The RedHawks now rank second nationally on the power play, converting 34.3 percent of the time (12-of-35).

• Miami is 8-5-1 all-time against CC and has a 5-0-1 record at home against the Tigers since the formation of the NCHC in 2013-14.

No. 8/8 Minnesota Duluth at No. 2/2 St. Cloud State

Friday, Nov. 3 | Herb Brooks National Hockey Center | St. Cloud, Minn. | 7:37 p.m. CT
Saturday, Nov. 4 | Herb Brooks National Hockey Center | St. Cloud, Minn. | 4:07 p.m. CT
Records: UMD (4-2-2, 0-0-0-0 NCHC); SCSU (5-0-0, 0-0-0-0 NCHC) 
UMD NotesNCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: FOX Sports North PLUS (both nights) and FOX College Sports Central (live Saturday only);
Friday - FOX College Sports Atlantic (tape delay at 10:00 p.m. CT)

• The Bulldogs earned their first weekend sweep of the season, downing Maine 2-1 and 2-0 out east last weekend. Sophomore goaltender Hunter Shepard earned his first career shutout on Saturday with a 26-save performance. Minnesota Duluth is now riding a five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2) after a 1-2-0 start.

• UMD has outshot its opponents 304-183 this season and the +121 shot differential tops all NCAA Division-I schools entering the weekend. In addition, the Bulldogs are tied for third nationally in shots taken (38.00 per game) and are sixth in shots allowed (22.88). UMD has held the upper hand in shots on goal in all eight games to date.

• Freshman forward Nick Swaney is tied for third nationally in rookie scoring with seven points (2g, 5a). He is part of a UMD freshman ensemble that has rolled up the second highest scoring output (6-18=24) of any rookie class in the country.

• The Bulldogs are 6-0-0 in their last six visits to the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, having swept the Huskies by identical 5-3 scores in St. Cloud one year ago (Nov. 4-5).

No. 4/5 North Dakota at No. 7/7 Wisconsin

Friday, Nov. 3 | Kohl Center | Madison, Wis. | 7:00 p.m. CT
Saturday, Nov. 4 | Kohl Center | Madison, Wis. | 7:00 p.m. CT
Records: UND (5-2-1, 1-1-0-0 NCHC); UW (6-3-0, 1-1-0 B1G)
UND Notes | BTN2Go (Fri.) | BTN2Go (Sat.) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: Friday - FOX Sports Wisconsin PLUS/FOX College Sports Atlantic; Saturday - FOX Sports Wisconsin/FOX College Sports Pacific 

• North Dakota opened conference play last weekend, splitting at Colorado College. UND fell on Friday, 2-1, before bouncing back for a 6-4 win on Saturday. Freshman forward Grant Mismash scored two goals in Saturday’s win for his first career multi-goal game. 

• All 22 of UND’s rostered skaters have already registered a point this season, the most of any team in the nation. The only other teams in the country with as many as 20 point-scorers to date are Air Force (21), Alaska (21) and Ohio State (20).

• The four goals allowed in Saturday’s win over CC marked the first time in eight games this season UND allowed more than two goals in a game. North Dakota is tied for fourth nationally, allowing only 1.62 goals per game, which is second among teams with more than two games played.

• North Dakota and Wisconsin split their most recent meetings, a non-conference series in Grand Forks in November of 2015. Prior to the Friday night loss in that series, UND had been unbeaten in its previous seven games (6-0-1) against the Badgers.

No. 2/2 St. Cloud State vs. No. 8/8 Minnesota Duluth

Friday, Nov. 3 | Herb Brooks National Hockey Center | St. Cloud, Minn. | 7:37 p.m. CT
Saturday, Nov. 4 | Herb Brooks National Hockey Center | St. Cloud, Minn. | 4:07 p.m. CT
Records: SCSU (5-0-0, 0-0-0-0 NCHC); UMD (4-2-2, 0-0-0-0 NCHC)
SCSU NotesNCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: FOX Sports North PLUS (both nights) and FOX College Sports Central (live Saturday only);
Friday - FOX College Sports Atlantic (tape delay at 10:00 p.m. CT)

• Coming off a bye week, St. Cloud State puts its perfect record on the line when it opens conference play hosting in-state rival No. 8/8 Minnesota Duluth. Both SCSU and UMD bring five-game unbeaten streaks into this weekend’s series. The Huskies are a perfect 5-0-0 on the season, marking their best start since the 2013-14 campaign, when they went 5-0-1 before suffering a loss against Miami. SCSU’s longest win streak to start a season was a 9-0-0 stretch to open the 2001-02 season. UMD comes into the series 3-0-2 in its last five games.

• Junior captain Jimmy Schuldt is tied for the NCAA lead, averaging 2.00 points per game, while his +8 plus-minus is also first nationally. His 10 points rank second among NCAA defensemen in scoring.

• St. Cloud State has scored 23 goals so far this year in five games and ranks second nationally, averaging 4.60 goals per game. SCSU averaged only 2.9 goals per game last season. On defense, SCSU ranks seventh in the nation with an average of 2.00 goals allowed per game. 

• SCSU went 1-4-0 against Minnesota Duluth last season, with the lone win coming in Duluth as UMD swept the Huskies in St. Cloud.

Western Michigan vs. No. 1/1 Denver

Friday, Nov. 3 | Lawson Ice Arena | Kalamazoo, Mich. | 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday, Nov. 4 | Lawson Ice Arena | Kalamazoo, Mich. | 7:05 p.m. ET
Records: WMU (3-3-1, 0-0-0-0 NCHC); Denver (4-0-2, 0-0-0-0 NCHC)
WMU NotesNCHC.tv (both nights) | Live AudioLive Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: None

• Coming off a bye week, Western Michigan hosts top-ranked Denver to open conference play this weekend. Last year WMU went 2-2-0 against the nation’s top-ranked team. Early last season, WMU traveled to No. 1 Minnesota Duluth and split with the Bulldogs after a 4-3 win and a 3-0 loss. Western Michigan later hosted No. 1 Denver, beating DU 3-0 and then falling, 7-2. The Broncos are 3-1-1 at home so far this season.

• Junior forward Colt Conrad has tallied at least one point in each of WMU’s first seven games this season, racking up 11 points on five goals and six assists. The seven-game point streak is the longest of his career, while his 11 points tie for fifth nationally. His 100 faceoff wins (100-78) this season rank sixth in the NCAA (.562 faceoff win percentage).

• The Broncos have had 10 different players score goals through the first seven games of the season, including four freshmen, while 16 different skaters have at least one point, plus an assist from sophomore goaltender Ben Blacker.

• Western Michigan went 1-4-0 against the Pioneers last season, but did shut out DU in Kalamazoo, 3-0, on Jan. 13 thanks to Ben Blacker’s 24-save performance.

OFF THIS WEEK - Next Games: Omaha at Colorado College

Friday, Nov. 10 | Broadmoor World Arena | Colorado Springs, Colo. | 8:37 p.m. CT
Saturday, Nov. 11 | Broadmoor World Arena | Colorado Springs, Colo. | 7:07 p.m. CT
Records: Omaha (3-2-1, 0-0-0-0 NCHC); CC (5-3-0, 1-1-0-0 NCHC)
NCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: None

• Omaha split with No. 8 Notre Dame last week, winning 6-4 to open the series and losing 5-4 the following night. It marks the second time in three weeks that the Mavericks have beaten a top-15 team on the road, also topping then No. 12 UMass Lowell on Oct. 13.

• In Thursday’s 6-4 win, senior forward David Pope scored just 15 seconds into the game, just four seconds short of the school record set by Austin Ortega against Colorado College in 2014. Pope led the team in scoring with three goals and two assists at Notre Dame, earning him his first NCHC Offensive Player of the Week award.
 
• In Friday’s loss at Notre Dame, junior forward Ryan Galt scored two goals, tripling his career total. Prior to that game, Galt had one career goal, coming during his freshman year (Dec. 5, 2015 at St. Cloud State).

• Omaha enters its bye week ranked fourth nationally, averaging 4.17 goals per game. After the bye, the Mavericks open conference play at Colorado College. Omaha is 13-7-3 all-time against the Tigers, including a mark of 6-5-1 in Colorado Springs. Last season, UNO went 3-1-0 against CC, sweeping the Tigers at the Broadmoor World Arena.

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