In my picks column Friday, where I picked No. 7 St. Cloud State to emerge with a sweep on the road against in-state rival Minnesota, I used the word “ownage” to describe the NCHC’s record versus the Big Ten this season.
That certainly seems to be the case. This weekend, Omaha swept Big Ten opponent Ohio State, North Dakota swept Big Ten opponent Michigan State on the road, and St Cloud swept Big Ten opponent Minnesota on the road. The NCHC now owns a 14-1-1 record against Big Ten opponents this season.
Overall, the NCHC is 4-0 against Michigan State (Denver and North Dakota), 4-0 against Ohio State (Miami and Omaha), 2-1-1 against Wisconsin (win and loss by North Dakota, win and tie by Denver), and 4-0 against Minnesota (Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud).
Minnesota might get one more crack at the NCHC in January, depending on the results in the first round of the North Star College Cup. However, that is the only possible game between the NCHC and Big Ten, unless teams from the conferences meet in the NCAA tournament.
CC picks up first win
Entering Saturday’s home game against crosstown rival Air Force, Colorado College was 0-13. The Tigers had just lost Friday at Air Force, 4-3, a game in which the Falcons struck three times in the first 10 minutes of the second period to rally from being down a goal at the end of one period, and then after CC had tied it at three on a power-play goal at six minutes of the third, they gave up the game-winner to Air Force with just 35 seconds left in the game on a goal by Jordan Himley.
When Air Force scored just 77 seconds into the game Saturday, it seemed CC’s streak of futility might continue. Instead, CC capitalized on the power play twice to rally twice from one-goal deficits, getting a goal at 18:54 of the first on a power play from Luc Gerdes to tie it at one and a power-play goal from Sam Rothstein at 12:42 of the second to tie the game at two.
Rothstein then gave CC a lead with a goal at 4 minutes of the third, and Cody Bradley scored what proved the game-winner at 9:39 to give CC its first win of the year.
Of course, it was up in the air till the end, as just 12 seconds after Bradley’s goal, Ben Kucera got one back for Air Force, but CC played strong defensively, limiting the Falcons to just seven total shots in the third period en route to their first win of the year.
Road woes continue for Broncos
Western Michigan is a tough team to figure out. The Broncos sit at 4-8-1 overall, yet own a sweep of No. 6 Omaha and a win over No. 15 Bowling Green. When the Broncos swept Omaha, the Mavericks were No. 2 in the country, and Bowling Green was No. 10 when Western Michigan beat them.
You wouldn’t think the Broncos would have a record like they do considering some of their wins, but one thing has worked against them: road games.
After losing to Rensselaer and Notre Dame this weekend in the Shillelagh Tournament, games that were not technically road games but might as well have been, Western Michigan is now 0-6-1 away from the friendly confines of Lawson Arena.
In the games against RPI and Notre Dame, Western Michigan could only muster a goal in each, losing to RPI, 4-1, and Notre Dame, 3-1. That continues a trend of the offense going on walkabout on the road. In the seven games away from Lawson, Western Michigan has never scored more than two goals, and in five of them, has only scored one. Compare that to home, where Western Michigan has scored three or more goals four times.
The task doesn’t get any easier next weekend, as the Broncos are on the road against Minnesota-Duluth.