What happened in the NCHC during Week 6
Perhaps the best matchup of the weekend in all of college hockey was within the NCHC as the number one ranked St. Cloud State Huskies faced the number three team in the Denver University Pioneers.
As has been the case since inception, the NCHC has a few of the best teams in the country, including the top three ranked teams in the NCAA to start the 2017 campaign.
SCSU 7-2-0 (1) vs DU 6-2-2 (3)
Denver hosted the first-ranked Huskies last weekend in a heavyweight affair. The Pioneers handed the previously undefeated SCSU their first loss of the season as well as their first time being swept as well.
Friday night was started by the goal leader of the conference, Henrik Borgström in the first period. The Huskies answered back with an equalizer, but four minutes later the Pioneers pulled themselves back to a goal lead at 2-1. 40 seconds into the final period, DU struck again taking a 3-1 lead. SCSU brought themselves within a goal late, but an empty-net goal sealed it for the Pioneers, 4-2.
The Huskies held a 6-2 advantage in power plays, but could not cash in enough times to make it count converting a single opportunity.
The Pioneers thoroughly dominated Saturday in a 5-1 route. They scored five goals on 42 shots. Four players scored five of DU’s goals and none of them were from their top two scorers and possible Hobey Baker candidates.
Neither team could muster a goal in the first period. Denver flipped a switch between periods and came out and scored two goals in the first two minutes of the second period. Kevin Fitzgerald recorded the only goal for SCSU to make the score 3-1, but two DU goals in the third period sank any hope at a comeback.
The power play was once again the Achilles heal of the Huskies. They went 0-5 on the night.
Denver will look to keep trucking along when they host the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks this weekend. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Pioneers face another highly ranked opponent. The Hawks have not won at Madness Arena since 2014.
For SCSU, a matchup against the Colorado College Tigers awaits them home in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The Tigers have been down for several seasons, but have started the 2017 season on a good foot. They are tied for the most wins in the conference with 3.
MU 4-5-1 vs UND 7-2-3 (2)
The Fighting Hawks welcomed the Miami University Redhawks last weekend. Like last weekend, the Hawks were strong Friday evening but faltered a bit Saturday.
Just like the series before, Cam Johnson was not able to suit up for the series. Freshman Peter Thome stepped up for the Hawks. The new goaltender let in just four goals all weekend and has yet to lose a game.
Friday evening was all UND. After a quiet first period that didn’t see any goals for either side, the Hawks got it going in the second period. Two goals by Nick Jones and a goal from Rhett Gardner gave the Hawks a 3-0 lead after two periods. That is all they would need winning 4-1.
The following night was a closer affair. Miami took the lead late in the first period, 1-0. Almost eight minutes into the second period, the Redhawks struck again. Ryan Siroky netted a goal to climb to a 2-0 lead. With the game close to being put away, UND got two key goals to tie the game in the middle of the second, and then the equalizer in the beginning of the third period. UND took a brief 3-2 lead late in the third after a Shane Gersich goal, but it was short-lived as MU tied the game with less than two minutes in regulation left. The game would remain 3-3 until the Fighting Hawks scored in the shootout, and Thome made the save to take the extra point in the NCHC standings.
This weekend, the Fighting Hawks will have their toughest test of the season in the form of a series in Denver against Denver University. The Hawks have not won there since December of 2014, although they’ve had success against them at other venues such as the Target Center where they bounced the Pioneers out of the NCHC tournament last season.
Miami returns home to Oxford, Ohio where they will meet the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Like the Redhawks, the Bulldogs have been struggling to get going. Last season, the MU went 0-2 at Amsoil Arena.
UNO 4-3-1 vs CC 7-5-0
The Tigers hosted the University of Nebraska-Omaha last weekend in a series in Colorado Springs.
The Tigers were off to a fast start Friday night taking a 2-0 lead seven minutes into the second period. Then, they got sloppy. The Mavericks scored four unanswered goals, three of which came off of three power plays to take a 4-2 advantage. With five seconds remaining in the second period, Trey Bradley recorded a goal cutting the UNO lead to one at 3-4. Yet another power play goal in the third period dashed any hope CC had of making a comeback as the Mavericks went on to win 5-3.
The Tigers came to play on Saturday. In their 4-0 win, they scored at least once in every period. Both of CC’s big goal scorers netted a goal, with both Nick Halloran and Mason Burg putting the puck in the back of the net.
Freshman Alex Leclerc has his first shutout of the season, and first of his collegiate career for the Tigers. He was peppered by shots, but was excellent stopping all 41 shots he faced.
The Mavericks head to Kalamazoo to face the current top team in the NCHC, the Western Michigan University Broncos. The Broncos are coming off of a split series in Duluth which saw each team each shut the other out.
For the Tigers, they head to St. Cloud next for a series against the Huskies. The Tigers have done well at Herb Brooks Arena as they’ve gone 2-2 in their last two trips.
WMU 6-4-1 vs UMD 5-5-2
The Broncos and Bulldogs skated to a split last weekend. Both teams recorded shut-outs en route to each of their victories.
Friday night was the Bulldogs night. In their 3-0 win in Duluth, the Bulldogs throughly trounced the Broncos with 38 shots to the Broncos 22. It was the third of time this season that the Bulldogs have shut out their opponent.
Avery Peterson powered the Bulldog offense with two goals coming in the third period to shut the door on the Broncos.
The Broncos got their revenge Saturday night. Neither team could muster a goal in the opening period, but the flood gates opened in the second. Two goals in the first two minutes have WMU a 2-0 lead, and another with just over three minutes left in the period gave the Broncos a commanding 3-0 advantage. The Broncos added another goal in the third on their way to a 4-0 win.
For the Bulldogs, they’ll return to Duluth for a weekend series with Miami University. UMD sits at 1-3 in the conference. A series win would go a long way towards moving up in the standings. The Bulldogs went 3-0-1 against the Redhawks in 2016.
1. Troy Terry DU 18
2. Nick Halloran CC 17
2. Henrik Borgström DU 17
1. Alex Leclerc SCSU 7
2. Hunter Shepard UMD 5
2. Cam Johnson UND 5
1. Henrik Borgström DU 11
2. Mason Bergh CC 8
3. Colt Conrad WMU 7