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Pair of Top-15 Conference Series Set for this Weekend

By NCHC, 01/18/18, 6:15PM EST


WMU hosts CC, UND visits UMD in a CBSSN doubleheader Friday; SCSU welcomes Minnesota State Saturday in top-10 clash on Hockey Day Minnesota

Seven NCHC teams are in action for the second straight weekend with three conference series, including a pair of top-15 tilts, and one non-conference game on this weekend's schedule.

Highlighting the weekend is a top-15 battle between No. 7/7  North Dakota and No. 14/13 Minnesota Duluth in Duluth. The Bulldogs have won six straight in the series, including all five meetings last year, culminating in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff championship game. UND is looking to move into first place this weekend with St. Cloud State playing out of conference as the Fighting Hawks sit three points back.

In the other top-15 series, No. 15/15 Omaha heads to Denver for two games with the fifth-ranked Pioneers. Denver has won 10 straight games over the Mavericks and sits tied for third place in the NCHC, four points back of SCSU and one back of UND. Omaha looks to keep rolling after a 15-goal sweep last weekend that vaulted them into a tie for fifth place.

The final conference series takes place in Kalamazoo as No. 11/11 Western Michigan entertains Colorado College. The Broncos are tied with Denver for third place in the NCHC, while the Tigers are looking to move out of the basement after being swept by UMD last weekend. Friday's game is part of an NCHC doubleheader on CBS Sports Network, with UND at UMD the night-cap.

In the lone non-conference game, No. 3/3 St. Cloud State finishes its home-and-home series with No. 9/8 Minnesota State Saturday at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. The game is part of Hockey Day Minnesota, which is being hosted in St. Cloud this year. The Huskies blanked the Mavericks, 4-0, in Mankato to open the regular season.

Five games this weekend can be seen on, including all four games Saturday.

NCHC Facts and Figures

•  Only two non-conference games remain on the NCHC’s schedule and both are against No. 9/8 Minnesota State. No. 3/3 St. Cloud State hosts the Mavericks this Saturday on Hockey Day Minnesota, which is hosted in St. Cloud this year, while No. 14/13 Minnesota Duluth travels to Mankato on Tuesday night. Both SCSU and UMD defeated Minnesota State in the first half of their home-and-home series earlier this season, while NCHC teams are a combined 15-3-5 against WCHA foes this season. Overall, NCHC teams are a combined 47-20-15 in non-conference play this season, with the .665 win percentage second among the six conferences behind only the Big Ten at .688. The NCHC is right on pace to match, or perhaps surpass, last year’s non-conference record when NCHC teams finished a combined 48-21-14 in the regular season. 

•  Six NCHC teams are ranked in both the Poll and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll this week, with all six in the top 15. The six ranked teams are the most from one conference in the USA Hockey Magazine Poll and tie for the most in the USCHO Poll. With St. Cloud State sitting at No. 3, it’s only the fourth week since the start of the 2016-17 season that an NCHC team has not been No. 1 in the USCHO Poll. Half of the NCHC teams have held the No. 1 spot during that span (SCSU, DU, UND and UMD), while only three other NCAA teams have total. 

• Two NCHC skaters are approaching the century club for points. Omaha senior forward Tyler Vesel has 95 career points (36g, 59a), while Denver junior forward Troy Terry sits only six points from 100 with 39 goals and 55 assists for 94 points. The only active NCHC player with 100 career points is Denver junior forward Dylan Gambrell (39-77=116).

• Four of the top eight offenses in the NCAA play in the NCHC, led by SCSU’s 3.95 goals per game, which rank second in the country (SCSU’s opponent Saturday, Minnesota State, is third at 3.79 gpg). Omaha (3.77 gpg) moved up to fourth nationally after 15 goals last weekend, while Western Michigan ranks sixth in the NCAA scoring 3.64 gpg and Denver (3.55 gpg) is eighth. The NCHC also has four of the top eight power play units nationally with Omaha leading the way at 27.7 percent, which is third in the country. Miami (26.3 percent) and Denver (24.8 percent) are fifth and sixth, while St. Cloud State is tied for seventh at 23.8 percent. 

Fifteen NCHC players were among 74 NCAA skaters nominated for the Hobey Baker Award this week. Among the 15, one is a freshman, six are sophomores, five juniors and three are seniors, while 12 are forwards and three are defensemen. 

• Omaha senior forward Jake Randolph earned NCAA First Star of the Week Tuesday for his six-point weekend (3g, 3a) against Miami. He is the third NCHC player to garner NCAA First Star of the Week this season and the ninth NCHC player overall to nab an NCAA Star this year.

Colorado College at No. 11/11 Western Michigan

Fri., Jan. 19 | Lawson Ice Arena | Kalamazoo, Mich. | 4:38 p.m. MT
Sat., Jan. 20 | Lawson Ice Arena | Kalamazoo, Mich.| 5:05 p.m. MT
Records: CC (9-10-3, 3-7-2-1/0 NCHC); WMU (12-9-1, 7-5-0-0 NCHC)
CC Notes | (Sat. only) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: CBS Sports Network - Friday only

• Colorado College was swept for only the second time this season, and first time at home, as the Tigers fell to Minnesota Duluth, 6-5, on Friday and 5-1 last Saturday. It’s the first time CC has dropped back-to-back games since being swept at St. Cloud State Nov. 17-18, 2017. 

• Sophomore forward Nick Halloran recorded four points against the Bulldogs with two goals and two assists. He is now riding a career-long six-game point streak with nine points (6g, 3a) in that span. He was on a career-best five-game goal-scoring streak after two goals Friday, but only registered a helper on Saturday. Halloran is tied for third nationally and first in the NCHC in scoring with 31 points (13g, 18a). He reached the 30-point mark in 21 games, the quickest by a Tiger to 30 points since Brett Sterling in 2005-06 (19 games).

• Despite the 6-5 loss to UMD last Friday, the Tigers are 6-2 in one-goal games this season. That is the most one-goal victories in a season since winning 11 during the 2012-13 campaign.

• Colorado College is attempting to snap a six-game winless streak against No. 11 Western Michigan this weekend (0-5-1). Ten of CC’s final 12 regular-season games are against teams ranked in this week’s poll.

No. 5/5 Denver vs. No. 15/15 Omaha

Fri., Jan. 19 | Magness Arena | Denver, Colo. | 7:05 p.m. MT
Sat., Jan. 20 | Magness Arena | Denver, Colo. | 7:05 p.m. MT
Records: Denver (12-6-4, 6-4-2-1/0 NCHC); Omaha (12-9-1, 5-7-0-0 NCHC)
DU (both nights) | Live AudioLive Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: Altitude 2 - Friday; Altitude - Saturday

• Denver was idle last weekend, but split its series at Miami Jan. 5-6, falling, 4-3, in Friday’s opener, before bouncing back for a 4-1 win on Saturday. The Pioneers have now split each of their last three weekends. However, Denver has limited its opponents to one or fewer goals in six of its last 10 games.

• Denver has outshot its opponents in each of the last eight games. The Pioneers have combined to outshoot their opponents, 314-194, during that stretch. The Pioneers average the second-most shots per game in the NCAA (36.5) this season.

• DU is the least penalized team in the country, being whistled for only 7.77 penalty minutes per game. The Pioneers 3.64 penalties per game are also the fewest in the NCAA.

• After recording only one point in five games (Dec. 1-15), sophomore forward Henrik Borgström is on a five-game point streak with two goals and five assists in that span. After recording only one point through seven games (Nov. 18-Dec. 16), junior forward Jarid Lukosevicius has four goals and two assists in his last four games.

• Denver has won 10 straight over the Mavericks, all since the start of the 2015-16 season, with six of those games coming in Denver.

No. 14/13 Minnesota Duluth vs. No. 7/7 North Dakota

Fri., Jan. 19 | AMSOIL Arena | Duluth, Minn. | 8:08 p.m. CT
Sat., Jan. 20 | AMSOIL Arena | Duluth, Minn. | 7:07 p.m. CT
Records: UMD (11-9-3, 5-7-0-0 NCHC); UND (12-6-6, 6-4-2-0/2 NCHC)
UMD Notes | (Sat. only) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: CBS Sports Network - Friday; My9 (in Duluth) - Saturday

• Minnesota Duluth earned its first NCHC sweep of the season and second sweep overall with a pair of wins at Colorado College last weekend. The Bulldogs took Friday’s opener, 6-5, before cruising to a 5-1 victory on Saturday. UMD’s other sweep came at Maine on Oct. 27-28. The Bulldogs are now riding a five-game unbeaten streak, going 4-0-1 during that stretch.

• Junior forward Peter Krieger and sophomore forward Riley Tufte both notched a career-high four points in Friday’s 6-5 win at CC. Both scored two goals and handed out two assists. It was Tufte’s second straight two-goal game for UMD and fourth of his career, while it was Krieger’s first collegiate multi-goal game.

• Freshman forward Kobe Roth scored the first three goals of his career at CC. He notched his first collegiate goal in Friday’s win, before striking two more times on Saturday. In his first 10 games at UMD he had tallied only two assists.

• The Bulldogs are on a six-game winning streak against North Dakota, including winning all five meetings last season.

No. 7/7 North Dakota at No. 14/13 Minnesota Duluth

Fri., Jan. 19 | AMSOIL Arena | Duluth, Minn. | 8:08 p.m. CT
Sat., Jan. 20 | AMSOIL Arena | Duluth, Minn. | 7:07 p.m. CT
Records: UND (12-6-6, 6-4-2-0/2 NCHC); UMD (11-9-3, 5-7-0-0 NCHC)
UND Notes | (Sat. only) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: CBS Sports Network - Friday only

• North Dakota finished up its non-conference schedule last weekend with a win and a tie against Bemidji State. The Fighting Hawks downed BSU, 5-1, in Bemidji last Friday, before settling for a 2-2 overtime tie on Saturday at home. North Dakota finishes 6-2-4 in non-conference play this season. The Fighting Hawks have gone 22-5-8 (.743) in regular-season non-conference games under third-year head coach Brad Berry.

• Senior forward Austin Poganski tied a career high with two goals in Friday’s win, while junior forward Nick Jones tallied a career-high three points, including his second-career two-goal game in the victory. Jones (3g, 3a) and Poganski (4g, 2a) each have six points in their last three games after each notched a point in Saturday’s tie.

• North Dakota leads the country in faceoff percentage, winning 56.2 percent of its draws. UND is third in the NCAA, allowing only 24.08 shots on goal against per game.

• UND has lost the last six meetings with UMD, but won the four match-ups prior to the skid and is 59-41-5 all-time in Duluth.

No. 15/15 Omaha at No. 5/5 Denver

Fri., Jan. 19 | Magness Arena | Denver, Colo. | 8:05 p.m. CT
Sat., Jan. 20 | Magness Arena | Denver, Colo. | 8:05 p.m. CT
Records: Omaha (12-9-1, 5-7-0-0 NCHC); Denver (12-6-4, 6-4-2-1/0 NCHC)
Omaha (both nights) | Live AudioLive Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: Altitude 2 - Friday; Altitude - Saturday

• Omaha’s offense erupted in a sweep of Miami last weekend as the Mavericks put up 15 goals in the series. Omaha won Friday’s opener, 11-7, setting a school record for goals in the process, while the Mavs took Saturday’s finale, 4-3, for their first NCHC sweep of the season. The 11 goals Friday topped the previous record of 10 from a 10-1 win over Niagara on Oct. 20, 2006. The 11 goals also tied the NCHC record for goals in a game, matching the record set by St. Cloud State in an 11-1 win over Western Michigan on Nov. 14, 2015.

• In Friday’s win, senior forward David Pope tied the school record with a career-high five points (1-4-5), while the four assists also tied a school record, which he first matched on Nov. 5, 2016 vs. Colorado College. He also earned his NCHC-leading eighth power play goal Friday, which ties for the NCAA lead. He leads the NCHC with 17 power play points (8g, 9a) this season, which rank second nationally.

• In Friday’s win, junior goaltender Evan Weninger was given credit for Omaha’s 11th goal, making him the 10th goaltender in NCAA history to score a goal.   

• Omaha is 9-25-2 all-time against Denver, including 2-14-2 all-time in Denver. The Mavs have dropped 10 straight in the series.

No. 11/11 Western Michigan vs. Colorado College

Fri., Jan. 19 | Lawson Ice Arena | Kalamazoo, Mich. | 6:38 p.m. ET
Sat., Jan. 20 | Lawson Ice Arena | Kalamazoo, Mich.| 7:05 p.m. ET
Records: WMU (12-9-1, 7-5-0-0 NCHC); CC (9-10-3, 3-7-2-1/0 NCHC) 
WMU Notes | (Sat. only) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: CBS Sports Network - Friday only

• Western Michigan earned a split at St. Cloud State last weekend, winning Friday’s opener, 7-5, before falling, 4-3, in Saturday’s finale. The victory Friday handed SCSU its first home loss of the season and also snapped an eight-game winless streak (0-7-1) against the Huskies.

• Sophomore forward Hugh McGing tied a career high with both two goals and three points in Friday’s victory. It was his fourth career three-point game, including third this season and second straight after three points at Bowling Green Dec. 28, though McGing was held off the scoreboard in Saturday’s defeat.

• The past three games WMU’s power play has been absolutely lethal, going a combined 7-for-14 in those games. The stretch has bumped WMU up to 21.2 percent (24-for-144) on the season and moved them into a tie for 16th in the nation. The Broncos have scored two or more power play goals in six games this season and have scored at least one power play goal in 15 of the 22 games this year.

• Western Michigan holds the all-time series lead with Colorado College at 8-4-4 and is 8-2-4 against CC since joining the NCHC in 2013. WMU is 6-0-1 at Lawson Ice Arena against the Tigers all-time.

No. 3/3 St. Cloud State vs. No. 9/8 Minnesota State

Saturday, Jan. 20 | Herb Brooks National Hockey Center | St. Cloud, Minn. | 5:00 p.m. CT
Records: SCSU (14-4-3, 8-3-1-0 NCHC); MSU (17-7-0, 15-5-0-0 WCHA)
SCSU Notes | | Live Audio | Live Stats 
Television: FOX Sports North PLUS, FOX College Sports Central and TSN2 (in Canada)

• St. Cloud State split its home series with Western Michigan last weekend, falling in Friday’s opener, 7-5, before rebounding for a 4-3 win on Saturday. Friday’s loss was SCSU’s first loss at home all season as the Huskies are now 11-1-1 at home this season with the 11 home victories tying for the most in the NCAA (with Minnesota). The loss marked SCSU’s first home defeat since a 2-1 setback against Colorado College on March 4, 2017. The loss also snapped an eight-game undefeated streak for the Huskies against WMU. 

• Friday’s 7-5 loss marked the first time that SCSU allowed seven goals in a game at the HBNHC since a 7-2 loss to Omaha on Dec. 5, 2015.

• Junior defenseman Jimmy Schuldt had an assist in Friday’s loss and is tied for the lead among NCAA defensemen with 23 points (6g, 17a), while his 1.10 points per game this season lead all blue liners by himself. Schuldt is also tied for the NCAA lead with a +18 plus/minus.

• The Huskies rank second in the nation with a 3.95 goals per game average this season. SCSU has outscored its opponents 83-50 this season. On defense, SCSU ranks 11th in the nation with a defensive average of 2.38 goals allowed per game.

• St. Cloud State s 8-2-0 in the last 10 outings against Minnesota State, including a 4-0 shutout in Mankato to open the regular season. Junior goalie Jeff Smith made 42 saves in the shutout victory. 

OFF THIS WEEK - Next Games: Miami at Colorado College

Fri., Jan. 26 | Broadmoor World Arena | Colorado Springs, Colo. | 9:37 p.m. ET
Sat., Jan. 27 | Broadmoor World Arena | Colorado Springs, Colo. | 6:07 p.m. ET
Records: Miami (9-11-2, 4-7-1-0 NCHC); CC (9-10-3, 3-7-2-1/0 NCHC) (both nights) | Live Audio | Live Stats (Fri.) | Live Stats (Sat.)
Television: CET (in Colorado) - Friday only

• Miami was swept in NCHC play for the first time this season at Omaha. The RedHawks fell, 11-7, in a record-setting game Friday, and dropped a tight, 4-3 decision on Saturday. It was Miami’s first time being swept since its season-opening series against Providence. The RedHawks are now on a season-long three-game losing streak.

• Friday’s 11-7 game set the NCHC record for most combined goals with 18. The seven goals tied a season high for Miami, the third time the RedHawks have hit the mark. They first did so in a win Oct. 20 at Maine and then again Oct. 28 vs. UConn. Miami also topped seven goals in both exhibitions, but Friday was Miami’s first loss when tallying seven goals. The 11 goals allowed were a season high (was 6).

• Freshman forward Phil Knies tallied a career-high three points in Friday’s loss at Omaha, including his first career multi-goal game, while adding an assist. He then potted two more goals on Saturday. He had three goals in 20 games entering the series at Omaha, before scoring four in one weekend.

• Miami and CC split their series in Oxford earlier this season, with MU winning in OT Nov. 3 and the Tigers winning 2-1 in the finale.