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Home Teams Capture Thrilling Conference-Opening Wins Friday

By NCHC, 11/03/17, 10:45PM EDT

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WMU rallies past DU late; Miami edges CC in OT; SCSU remains perfect; UND wins at Wisconsin

Friday, November 3, 2017 Scores
Western Michigan 6, No. 1/1 Denver 5
No. 2/2 St. Cloud State 5, No. 8/8 Minnesota Duluth 3
Miami 3, Colorado College 2 (OT)
No. 4/5 North Dakota 3, No. 7/7 Wisconsin 2


Five National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) teams opened conference play Friday night and if the finishes were any indication, the pursuit of the Penrose Cup is going to be a wild ride in 2017-18. All three home teams won their conference openers while East got the better of West as both Colorado teams fell in the Eastern Time Zone. The NCHC also won its lone non-conference game Friday. In the first thriller of the night, Western Michigan scored two goals in 15 seconds in the final 1:12 of the contest to shock top-ranked Denver, 6-5, in Kalamazoo, handing the Pioneers their first loss. In another exciting game, Miami scored in the final minute of regulation to tie Colorado College, before edging the Tigers in overtime, 3-2. In an in-state battle of top-10 teams, No. 2/2 St. Cloud State remained perfect on the season, downing No. 8/8 Minnesota Duluth, 5-3. In non-conference action, No. 4/5 North Dakota nipped No. 7/7 Wisconsin, 3-2, in Madison despite being under-manned.

Behind two late goals, Western Michigan stunned No. 1/1 Denver, 6-5, Friday night at Lawson Ice Arena in the NCHC opener for both teams. Sophomore forward Dawson DiPietro scored his second goal of the night with 57 seconds remaining in regulation to break a 5-5 tie and lift WMU (4-3-1, 1-0-0-0 NCHC) to the win. It took a goal from junior forward Colt Conrad, with an extra attacker, only 15 seconds earlier to tie the Pioneers (4-1-2, 0-1-0-0 NCHC) at five, which gave Conrad a point in all eight games this season. The teams traded the first five goals with DU leading each time as sophomore forward Henrik Borgström scored the first three goals for Denver for his first career hat trick and finished with a career-best four points. The Pioneers made it 4-2 in the second period before DiPietro, who also added an assist for a career-high three-point night, scored his first goal of the game to cut the deficit in half. Sophomore forward Hugh McGing, who also had a three-point night, tied the game on the power play while DU junior forward Troy Terry, who also dished out two assists, put Denver in front, 5-4, with 4:30 remaining, setting the stage for WMU’s rally. The Broncos outshot the Pioneers, 37-35, in the win, while freshman goaltender Austin Cain saw his first action for WMU, making 15 saves to earn the win in relief. The teams finish their series Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET.

While the first half of the game saw no scoring, the fireworks erupted in the second half, and especially in the third period, as Miami nipped Colorado College, 3-2, in overtime Friday at Steve Cady Arena in the RedHawks’ NCHC opener. After Colorado College scored twice on the power play in the third period to grab a 2-1 lead, Miami freshman forward Casey Gilling scored with an extra attacker with 51 ticks left in regulation to force overtime. Then 2:37 into the extra session, junior forward Josh Melnick deflected a pass past CC sophomore goalie Alex Leclerc for the game-winner, stretching Miami’s win streak to three. Despite the loss, the Tigers (5-4-0, 1-2-0-0 NCHC) outshot the RedHawks (4-3-0, 1-0-0-0 NCHC), 30-29, and went 2-for-6 on the power play. The two teams wrap up their series Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Using a three-goal third period, No. 2/2 St. Cloud State pulled away from No. 8/8 Minnesota Duluth and stayed perfect on the season with a 5-3 win Friday at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in the NCHC opener for both teams. UMD (4-3-2, 0-1-0-0 NCHC) grabbed a pair of one-goal leads in the second stanza, but each time the Huskies (6-0-0, 1-0-0-0 NCHC) answered within two minutes, the second of which came off the stick of sophomore forward Ryan Poehling. Poehling then set up freshman forward Kevin Fitzgerald early in the third for each of their second points of the night. Fellow freshman forward Easton Brodzinski scored his first career goal minutes later, which was the game-winner, as the Bulldogs closed within one before an empty-netter from junior defenseman Jimmy Schuldt sealed it for the Huskies. SCSU outshot UMD, 34-28, in the win. The two rivals conclude their series Saturday at 4:07 p.m. CT.

In the lone non-conference game Friday, No. 4/5 North Dakota used a goal each period to overcome a pair of deficits in a 3-2 win at No. 7/7 Wisconsin Friday at the Kohl Center. The Badgers (6-4-0) grabbed leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the first frame, but senior forward Austin Poganski scored his second goal in as many games early in the second stanza to tie the contest for UND (6-2-1). Junior forward Nick Jones then scored the game-winner midway through the third period on the power play for his second point of the night. Freshman defenseman Gabe Bast set up the game-winner with his second helper of the game. The Badgers outshot UND, 38-32, including 19-9 in the final frame, but freshman goalie Peter Thome made 36 saves in his collegiate debut to earn the win. The former WCHA rivals wrap up their series Saturday at 7:00 p.m. CT.

All four series conclude Saturday night with all three conference games on NCHC.tv. The UMD at SCSU game is also on TV on FOX Sports North PLUS and FOX College Sports Central, while the UND at Wisconsin game is on FOX Sports Wisconsin and FOX College Sports Pacific.

Extended individual game recaps, along with links to highlights, postgame comments, box scores and more, will be added below shortly.

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