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NCHC Weekend Preview - Week 7 (Jan. 22-24, 2021)

By NCHC, 01/22/21, 12:00PM EST

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For the first time all season, four NCHC series on tap for the same weekend

This Weekend's Schedule

Friday, Jan. 22
Miami at No. 6/6 St. Cloud State, 7:37 p.m. CT (TV: FOX9+)

Saturday, Jan. 23
Western Michigan at  No. 7/7 Minnesota Duluth, 6:07 p.m. CT (TV: My9 Sports)
Miami at No. 6/6 St. Cloud State, 6:07 p.m. CT (TV: FOX9+)
Colorado College at No. 3/3 North Dakota, 6:07 p.m. CT  (TV: Midco SN/AT&T SportsNet)
No. 19/15 Denver at No. 11/11 Omaha, 6:07 p.m. CT

Sunday, Jan. 24
Western Michigan at No. 7/7 Minnesota Duluth, 4:07 p.m. CT (TV: My9 Sports)
Colorado College at No. 3/3 North Dakota, 6:07 p.m. CT (TV: Midco SN)
No. 19/15 Denver at No. 11/11 Omaha, 6:07 p.m. CT

All games this weekend are available on NCHC.tv.


NCHC NEWS AND NOTES

FULL SLATE AT LAST: For the first time all season, the NCHC has a full slate this weekend with all eight teams playing a two-game series. Due to the NCHC Pod schedule, along with various postponements and schedule adjustments, there has yet to be a four-series weekend in the NCHC. This Saturday will also mark the first day this season when all eight NCHC teams are in action on the same day. While in a normal year it would be common for all eight NCHC teams to have games on the same day, as of now there are only two other days in the regular season that are slated to have four NCHC games with all eight teams playing (Friday, Feb. 5 and Friday, Feb. 26).

FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME: After all three series last weekend were repeat meetings from the NCHC Pod, three of four series this weekend mark the first match-ups between the teams in 2020-21 (Western Michigan at No. 7 Minnesota Duluth, Miami at No. 6 St. Cloud State and No. 19/15 Denver at No. 11 Omaha). The only series that is a repeat from earlier this season is Colorado College at No. 3 North Dakota, as the teams met less than two weeks ago in Colorado Springs on Jan. 10-11, with UND claiming 3-0 and 2-1 victories.

GOING STREAKING: While No. 3 North Dakota saw its six-game win streak snapped by Denver last Sunday, No. 11 Omaha is now riding a six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1), including four straight wins, after picking up a pair of victories at Colorado College on Monday and Tuesday. The Mavericks’ six-game unbeaten streak is the second-longest active unbeaten streak in the country behind Minnesota State’s seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1). Western Michigan is on a season-best four-game unbeaten streak of its own, going 3-0-1, including last weekend’s sweep of then-No. 4 St. Cloud State.

ROAD RULES: Road teams went 3-3-0 last week in the NCHC, including one overtime win, as Omaha took five of six points at Colorado College. Road teams have had success in the NCHC post-Pod, with visitors going 11-6-1 (.639) since play resumed in 2021.

POLL POSITIONS: The national polls were released on Monday and three NCHC teams rank in the top 10, the most of any conference. North Dakota slid one spot to No. 3 in both polls, while St. Cloud State comes in at No. 6 and Minnesota Duluth at No. 7. Omaha dropped a spot to No. 11 in both polls (polls were released before Omaha played CC earlier this week), while Denver returned to the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll for the first time since Dec. 28 at No. 15. The five ranked NCHC teams in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll are two more than any other conference, while the five NCHC teams in the USCHO.com Poll tie with Hockey East for the most ranked teams. 

BUNCHES OF APPLES: North Dakota junior forward Mark Senden dished out a career-high four assists in UND’s 5-1 win at Denver on Monday, doubling his season assist total in the game. The four assists tied an NCHC record for assists in a conference game, becoming the 17th different NCHC player to do so (19th time achieved) and second this season. Omaha junior defenseman Jason Smallidge handed out four helpers (and scored a goal) on Dec. 3 in a 10-2 win over Western Michigan in the Pod. They are two of three NCHC players with at least four points in a game this season, along with UNO junior forward Taylor Ward on Dec. 18 vs. WMU (2G, 2A in 6-5 win).

NCHC TO THE NHL: With the 2021 NHL season underway, a total of 41 NCHC alumni made opening-day rosters, including 14 on NHL ‘taxi squads.’ In addition, 22 other alumni of NCHC teams prior to the NCHC made NHL rosters, for a total of 63 alumni from NCHC teams on opening-day rosters. North Dakota led the way with 19 alumni total, including 11 who played in the NCHC. Two NCHC alums who turned pro this season have already made NHL debuts this season, with former Denver defenseman Ian Mitchell starting for the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 13, and former North Dakota forward Cole Smith debuting with the Nashville Predators on Jan. 14. In addition, former Minnesota Duluth goaltender Hunter Miska (2016-17 at UMD) earned his first career NHL start on Jan. 21 with the Colorado Avalanche. Miska had previously appeared in relief in one NHL game for the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 13, 2018.

FRESHMAN PHENOMS: Three NCHC freshmen rank in the top five nationally in goal-scoring among rookies. Denver forward Carter Savoie and North Dakota forward Riese Gaber each have eight goals on the season, tying for third among NCAA freshmen. St. Cloud State forward Veeti Miettinen is fifth with his seven goals. Miettinen also has seven assists, with his 14 points leading NCHC rookies and ranking sixth in the NCAA. Savoie’s 13 points (8g, 5a) are tied for seventh. Five of Savoie’s goals and eight of his points have come on the power play, with the eight power play points leading all rookies nationally. 

CENTURY CLUBBIN’: North Dakota senior forward Jordan Kawaguchi is the only active NCHC player in the Century Club, with his 106 career points (34g, 72a), sixth among active NCAA players, in 122 career games. He reached the mark in a Dec. 16 overtime win against St. Cloud State, in which he scored the OT-winner. The next two NCHC players in line to join the career Century Club are:

  • Easton Brodzinski, Sr., F, SCSU - 89 points (47g/42a in 126 GP)
  • Nick Swaney, Sr., F, UMD - 88 points (38g/50a in 119 GP)

To read more and for team-by-team notes, click here.

--#NCHCHockey--

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