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Quartet of Conference Clashes on First Full Weekend of NCHC Play

By NCHC, 11/09/17, 11:00AM EST

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Omaha opens conference action at CC while Denver hosts the Huskies in a top-3 battle

For the first time all season, all eight National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) teams are in conference play this weekend with Omaha being the final team to make its NCHC debut. Half of the four conference series are top-20 battles, including a top-3 clash in Denver.

Highlighting the weekend is a showdown between the new No. 1 team in the country and the old No. 1 as top-ranked St. Cloud State visits defending national champion and No. 3/3 Denver for two games at Magness Arena. The Huskies enter the series a perfect 7-0-0 on the season and lead the country in scoring after sweeping Minnesota Duluth to open NCHC play last weekend. The Pioneers, who rank fourth in scoring offense in the NCAA, were swept at Western Michigan to begin conference play last weekend and look to get back on track in their effort to repeat as Penrose Cup champions.

In the other top-20 match-up, No. 18/15 Western Michigan heads to Duluth for two games at No. 12/14 Minnesota Duluth. The teams split both of their regular-season series last year. The Broncos look to continue their momentum after sweeping Denver, while the Bulldogs are still searching for their first NCHC win after being swept at St. Cloud State to open conference play a weekend ago.

No. 2/4 North Dakota returns to NCHC play this weekend, hosting Miami for two games at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The Fighting Hawks, who split their conference-opening series at Colorado College two weeks ago, won and tied a pair of non-conference games at No. 7/7 Wisconsin last weekend with freshman goalie Peter Thome shining in his NCAA debut. The RedHawks also enter the series at 1-1 in the NCHC after splitting with Colorado College to open league play a weekend ago in Oxford. Miami earned a split in Grand Forks last season.

The final NCHC series has Omaha opening conference play at Colorado College with two games at the Broadmoor World Arena. The Mavericks were off last weekend, last splitting at Notre Dame two weekends ago. The Tigers are the only NCHC team to have already played two conference series, splitting both, including at Miami last weekend, as CC sits atop the early standings with SCSU and WMU.

All eight games this weekend are available on NCHC.tv. To sign up for NCHC.tv and get access to watch 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.

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


NCHC Facts and Figures

•  For the first time all season, all eight NCHC teams are in conference play on the same weekend, with two of the series top-20 match-ups. Omaha opens NCHC play this weekend at Colorado College as the Mavericks are the final NCHC team to begin conference action this year. Heading into a full slate of NCHC games, NCHC teams have combined to post a 31-13-8 non-conference record with the .673 win percentage tops among the six Division I men’s hockey conferences.

•  NCHC teams own the top three spots in the USCHO.com Poll this week, including a new No. 1 team in St. Cloud State, replacing Denver, which fell to No. 3. Those teams meet in a top-3 battle this weekend. North Dakota moved up to No. 2, while five NCHC teams are ranked overall in the USCHO Poll, tying the Big Ten for the most from one conference. All eight NCHC teams received votes in the USCHO Poll this week. With SCSU gaining the top spot for the first time since Dec. 9, 2013, the NCHC has now held the No. 1 ranking in the USCHO Poll in 30 of the last 32 weeks, with half of the NCHC teams earning the No. 1 spot during that span (SCSU, DU, UND and Minnesota Duluth). Since the USCHO Poll on Nov. 17, 2014, the NCHC has had a team ranked in the top two 83 times. Hockey East is second during that span with only 28 top-two appearances. SCSU also took over as No. 1 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll, with five NCHC teams also ranked in that poll, including three of the top four.

• St. Cloud State (7-0-0) enters the weekend as one of only two NCAA men’s hockey teams with a 1.000 winning percentage this season, along with Cornell (4-0-0). The Huskies’ +20 goal margin this year is tops in the NCAA, five better than second-place New Hampshire. All eight NCHC teams have a record of .500 or better (only the Big Ten can also say that) and seven of the eight teams have a positive goal margin this season.

• Eight of the top 17 point-scorers in the country hail from the NCHC (five different teams), including three of the top five and six of the top 12. Denver junior forward Troy Terry is second in the NCAA with 16 points (5g, 11a), including three straight three-point games and five straight multi-point games, while Western Michigan junior forward Colt Conrad ranks third with 15 points (7g, 8a). Terry’s 2.00 points per game is tops nationally, while sophomore teammate Henrik Borgström is second with 1.86 ppg. Borgström’s nine goals lead the country by himself, while Terry’s 11 assists tie for second in the NCAA. SCSU junior Jimmy Schuldt leads all NCAA defensemen with 12 points (5g, 7a) and 1.71 ppg, as well. 

• The NCHC is home to four of the top five offenses in the country, led by SCSU’s 4.71 goals per game. Omaha is third (4.17 gpg), followed by Denver (4.12 gpg) and Western Michigan (3.89 gpg), respectively. 

• The NCHC is also home to three of the top six power play units in the NCAA. St. Cloud State is third at 32.4 percent, while Omaha is fourth at 32.0 percent and Miami ranks sixth, scoring 27.9 percent of the time. On the flip side, North Dakota ranks third nationally on the penalty kill with a 95.1 percent success rate, going 39-of-41 on the penalty kill. 

• WMU sophomore forward Wade Allison recorded his first career hat trick last Saturday and totaled five points in WMU’s sweep of Denver to earn NCAA First Star of the Week. The Broncos also earned College Hockey News Team of the Week for their efforts. Allison is the third NCHC player to record a hat trick this season, joining Borgström, who tallied his first hat trick on Friday, and Colorado College junior Mason Bergh (Oct. 14 vs. Alaska-Anchorage).

• Minnesota Duluth senior forward and captain Karson Kuhlman has never missed a game in his NCAA career, playing in 132 consecutive games, which is the longest streak among active NCAA players. North Dakota senior forward and captain Austin Poganski has also played 132 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 130 career games, which is third among active NCAA players.

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Siteheader

Colorado College vs. Omaha

Friday, Nov. 10 | Broadmoor World Arena | Colorado Springs, Colo. | 7:37 p.m. MT
Saturday, Nov. 11 | Broadmoor World Arena | Colorado Springs, Colo. | 6:07 p.m. MT
Records: CC (6-4-0, 2-2-0-0 NCHC); Omaha (3-2-1, 0-0-0-0 NCHC)
CC NotesNCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: CET Sports/Xfinity ch. 900 (in Colorado) - Friday only

• CC earned a split last weekend at Miami, falling in overtime Friday, 3-2, before bouncing back for a 2-1 win. Saturday’s victory was the first for CC when trailing after the first period since Dec. 5, 2015. Ironically, the Tigers came from behind to beat Miami in that game as well, 3-2.

• The Tigers collected their sixth win of the season on Saturday, earlier than any season since the 2005-06 campaign. That season, CC won its sixth game on Oct. 28. The Tigers are tied for third in the country with six victories this season.

• With their 2-1 victory at Miami last Saturday, the Tigers are now 5-1 in one-goal games in 2017-18, equaling last year’s number of one-goal victories. CC is only two wins shy of matching last year’s win total.

• Sophomore goalie Alex Leclerc leads the NCHC and is tied for second in the nation with six wins. Meanwhile, junior forward Mason Bergh is tied for third in the country with seven goals (second in NCHC).

• Last season, the Tigers went 1-3-0 against Omaha, but were swept in Colorado Springs. Bergh is CC’s active leader with seven career points (5g,2a) in six games against Omaha.

No. 3/3 Denver vs. No. 1/1 St. Cloud State

Friday, Nov. 10 | Magness Arena | Denver, Colo. | 7:05 p.m. MT
Saturday, Nov. 11 | Magness Arena | Denver, Colo. | 7:05 p.m. MT
Records: Denver (4-2-2, 0-2-0-0 NCHC); SCSU (7-0-0, 2-0-0-0 NCHC) 
Denver NotesNCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio (Fri.) | Live Audio (Sat.) | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: Altitude (Friday); Altitude 2 (Saturday)

• Denver was swept at Western Michigan last weekend, giving up third-period leads both nights in a 6-5 loss Friday and 7-4 defeat Saturday. The losses were DU’s first of the season and first since the 2017 NCHC Frozen Faceoff semifinals back on March 17. Prior to the 13 goals allowed last weekend, the Pioneers had not allowed more than three goals in a game this season and only allowed it once all last year.

• Sophomore forward Henrik Borgström recorded his first career hat trick at WMU last Friday and added an assist for a career-high four points. He is now on a seven-game point streak (9-4-13) and has six goals in his last three games. His nine goals lead the country.

• Junior forward Troy Terry is now riding a five-game point streak (4-9-13) after six-point (1g, 5a) weekend at Western Michigan. He ranks second nationally in NCAA scoring with 16 points (5g, 11a).

• The Pioneers average only 8.38 penalty minutes per game, the third fewest in the NCAA. 

• Junior forward Dylan Gambrell has eight points in seven games against SCSU while Terry has seven points in five games vs. SCSU.

Miami at No. 2/4 North Dakota

Friday, Nov. 10 | Ralph Engelstad Arena | Grand Forks, N.D. | 8:37 p.m. ET
Saturday, Nov. 11 | Ralph Engelstad Arena | Grand Forks, N.D. | 8:07 p.m. ET
Records: Miami (4-4-0, 1-1-0-0 NCHC); UND (6-2-2, 1-1-0-0 NCHC) 
Miami Notes | NCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: Midco Sports Network - both nights; FOX College Sports Pacific - Saturday only  

• Miami split its NCHC-opening weekend with Colorado College, rallying for a 3-2 overtime win on Friday, before falling on Saturday, 2-1. Junior forward Josh Melnick scored the OT game-winner Friday. He has netted Miami’s last three overtime winners, scoring against St. Cloud State back on Jan. 6 and also topping the Tigers in overtime on Dec. 10, 2016. 

• Sophomore forward Gordie Green handed out two assists in Friday’s win, including on the OT game-winner, but had his five-game point streak snapped on Saturday. He is tied for sixth nationally with a team-high 13 points. He has 29 points (11g, 18a) in his last 27 games played.

• Junior defenseman Grant Hutton leads the nation by himself with five power play goals this season while his eight points overall rank 12th among all blue liners in the country. Hutton has 14 goals and 26 points from the blue line since the start of last season.

• Sophomore goaltender Ryan Larkin has started 41 of the RedHawks’ last 44 games in net since the start of last season. He is 3-1 with a 1.25 goals-against average (.938 save percentage) in his last four starts.

• Miami split its last series at North Dakota, but went 1-3-0 against them last season. UND has won five of the last six meetings.

No. 12/14 Minnesota Duluth vs. No. 18/15 Western Michigan

Friday, Nov. 10 | AMSOIL Arena | Duluth, Minn. | 7:07 p.m. CT
Saturday, Nov. 11 | AMSOIL Arena | Duluth, Minn. | 7:07 p.m. CT
Records: UMD (4-4-2, 0-2-0-0 NCHC); WMU (5-3-1, 2-0-0-0 NCHC) 
UMD NotesNCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: My9 Sports Network (in Duluth) - both nights

• Minnesota Duluth saw its six-game win streak at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center snapped last weekend as UMD was swept by St. Cloud State, falling 5-3 on Friday and 5-0 on Saturday. In Friday’s loss, freshman defenseman Matt Anderson scored his first career goal. 

• Freshman defensemen Mikey Anderson and Scott Perunovich each tallied an assist Friday. They both now have seven points on the season, which ties them for fifth nationally among rookie blue liners.

• UMD has outshot its opponents 361-243 this season and the +118 shot differential is tops in the NCAA entering the weekend. In addition, the Bulldogs are fifth nationally in shots taken (36.10 per game) and again first in shots-on-goal margin per game (+11.80). UMD has outshot its opponent in nine of 10 games this year (Nov. 3 at SCSU).

• UMD’s freshman class has racked up 27 points (7g, 20a) this season, tying for the second-most points of any rookie class in the country.

• The Bulldogs went 3-2-0 against Western Michigan last season, including splitting a pair of games at AMSOIL Arena.

No. 2/4 North Dakota vs. Miami

Friday, Nov. 10 | Ralph Engelstad Arena | Grand Forks, N.D. | 7:37 p.m. CT
Saturday, Nov. 11 | Ralph Engelstad Arena | Grand Forks, N.D. | 7:07 p.m. CT
Records: UND (6-2-2, 1-1-0-0 NCHC); Miami (4-4-0, 1-1-0-0 NCHC) 
UND Notes | NCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: Midco Sports Network - both nights; FOX College Sports Pacific - Saturday only  

• North Dakota improved to 5-1-2 in non-conference play this season with a 3-2 win and 2-2 overtime tie at Wisconsin last weekend. The Fighting Hawks have now gone 21-4-6 (.774) in regular-season non-conference games under third-year head coach Brad Berry.

• Freshman goaltender Peter Thome made his collegiate debut in Friday’s win at Wisconsin, making 36 saves, which were the most saves made by a debuting UND netminder this century. He then stopped 22 shots in Saturday’s tie to earn NCHC Goaltender of the Week. Thome became the first rookie goalie to start for UND since Cam Johnson on Dec. 5, 2014.

• By allowing only two goals in each game with the Badgers, UND has allowed more than two goals in a game only once in 10 games this season (a 6-4 win Oct. 28 at CC). North Dakota ranks fourth nationally on defense, allowing only 1.70 goals per game, which leads the NCHC.

• UND holds a 12-5-1 (.694) advantage in the all-time series with Miami. Senior Austin Poganski (1g, 4a) and junior Rhett Gardner (3g, 2a) lead UND with five career points apiece against Miami.

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 (6-4-0, 2-2-0-0 NCHC)
Omaha NotesNCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: None

• Coming off a bye week, Omaha is the final NCHC team to begin conference play as the Mavericks visit Colorado College this weekend. Omaha has split each of its two road series this season, winning the opener both times, before falling in the finale. In fact, the Mavericks are yet to lose a series opener (3-0-0) but are winless in series finales (0-2-1).

• For the season, the Mavericks are outscoring opponents, 25-21. Omaha is outscoring opponents 9-3 in the first period, its best period for goal differential. Goals are 11-11 in the second period, and UNO is being outscored 7-5 in the third.
 
• Omaha enters its series at CC ranked third nationally on offense, averaging 4.17 goals per game. The Mavericks also sit in the top five in the country on the power play, ranking fourth with a 32 percent success rate (8-of-25). Omaha has scored at least one power play goal in five of its six games so far this season with Oct. 26 at Notre Dame the outlier.

• 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.

No. 1/1 St. Cloud State at No. 3/3 Denver

Friday, Nov. 10 | Magness Arena | Denver, Colo. | 8:05 p.m. CT
Saturday, Nov. 11 | Magness Arena | Denver, Colo. | 8:05 p.m. CT
Records: SCSU (7-0-0, 2-0-0-0 NCHC); Denver (4-2-2, 0-2-0-0 NCHC) 
SCSU NotesNCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: Altitude (Friday); Altitude 2 (Saturday)

• St. Cloud State completed a sweep of in-state rival Minnesota Duluth last weekend, downing the Bulldogs 5-3 on Friday and 5-0 on Saturday. With the wins, SCSU remained perfect on the season (7-0-0), joining Cornell (4-0-0) as the only other NCAA team with a 1.000 win percentage this season. The Huskies are off to their best start since the 2001-02 season, when they started the year 9-0-0.

• Freshman goalie Dávid Hrenák made 29 saves to earn his first collegiate shutout last Saturday in the win over UMD. This marked SCSU’s second shutout of the season (Oct. 7 at Minnesota State), while Hrenák improved to 3-0-0 on the year. He ranks third nationally with a .946 save percentage while ranking fifth with a 1.65 goals-against average.  

• Junior captain Jimmy Schuldt had two points against UMD Friday but was held without a point for the first time this season on Saturday. He still leads all NCAA defensemen averaging 1.71 points per game, while his +12 plus-minus is tops among all NCAA skaters.

• This weekend’s top-3 series features two of the top four offenses in the country. SCSU is first, scoring 4.71 goals per game, while Denver sits fourth, averaging 4.12 goals per game.

No. 18/15 Western Michigan at No. 12/14 Minnesota Duluth

Friday, Nov. 10 | AMSOIL Arena | Duluth, Minn. | 8:07 p.m. ET
Saturday, Nov. 11 | AMSOIL Arena | Duluth, Minn. | 8:07 p.m. ET
Records: WMU (5-3-1, 2-0-0-0 NCHC); UMD (4-4-2, 0-2-0-0 NCHC) 
WMU Notes | NCHC.tv (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: None

• Western Michigan swept then-No. 1 Denver last weekend, rallying in the third period both nights to earn 6-5 and 7-4 victories. Friday, WMU scored three goals in the third period, while Saturday the Broncos tallied the final five markers in the third period. WMU is now 4-2-0 against No. 1-ranked teams dating back to last season.

• Sophomore forward Wade Allison recorded his first career hat trick in Saturday’s win over Denver, while he had four goals and five points in the series. The Flyers prospect is now tied for fourth nationally with 14 points (6g, 8a) on the season.

• Junior forward Colt Conrad scored a goal in each win over Denver and added two assists Saturday for a four-point weekend. He is riding a nine-game point streak with at least one point in each game this season, and is on a four-game goal-scoring streak. His 15 points this season rank third nationally, while his seven goals tie for third in the NCAA.

• WMU went 2-3-0 against Minnesota Duluth last season, including earning a split in Duluth with the then-No. 1 Bulldogs Nov. 11-12, 2016. Conrad scored two goals in the 4-3 win Nov. 11, including the game-winner in the final minute of regulation.

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