We came out of this last round of NCHC games with plenty to discuss in the days ahead. What follows are three of the bigger talking points that caught our eyes.
Omaha swept at home again
It wasn’t that long ago that Omaha was easily a top-10 team in the country looking poised to build on its deep Frozen Four run last season. Now, though, the Mavericks are in a little trouble.
UNO won each of the first eight games in its new Baxter Arena home, but the Mavs are now on a four-game losing streak there after a pair of losses this weekend against unranked Miami. Two weeks ago, Omaha dropped two home games against Denver.
Omaha entered this weekend’s series against the RedHawks ranked seventh in the latest USCHO Division I poll. They’re likely to face a sharp drop when the new poll comes out Monday.
They’re also all but out of the Penrose Cup competition. UNO now sits in fifth place in the NCHC, 22 points behind league-leading St. Cloud State.
Miami will surely get consideration from voters. Including one three-on-three overtime victory against Minnesota-Duluth on Jan. 8, the RedHawks have now picked up wins in five of its last six games.
Huskies keep rolling
Western Michigan picked up points in both of the Broncos’ first two NCHC trips to St. Cloud State. Not on the third one, though.
Fifth-ranked SCSU rolled past Western in a pair of home wins this weekend. An 8-2 win over the Broncos on Friday gave way to the Huskies’ 7-3 triumph in Saturday’s rematch.
St. Cloud now hasn’t lost since falling 5-2 on Jan. 9 at home against a resurgent Colorado College team (more on CC in a bit). The Huskies will be full of confidence going into next weekend’s North Star College Cup games, first against No. 20 Minnesota State and then either Minnesota or Bemidji State.
That said, keep an eye out for MSU. The Mavericks are 3-1-1 in their past five games and put 13 goals past Lake Superior this weekend.
Colorado College gives North Dakota a fright
Arguably the biggest recent surprise in the NCHC has been Colorado College’s uptick, and the Tigers were unlucky to come away empty-handed from its series this weekend at North Dakota.
Second-ranked North Dakota beat CC 5-4 on Friday thanks to a 1-0 shootout triumph, but the Fighting Hawks will feel it shouldn’t have come to that. UND opened the game with four first-period goals before the Tigers erased the deficit and then went ahead 5-4 on Hunter Fejes’s second goal of the night 6:34 into the fourth period.
A 6-on-5 Rhett Gardner goal inside the final minute of regulation tied the game up at 5-5 before UND prevailed in a shootout.
CC goaltender Tyler Marble was a big reason for his team’s success Friday. After starting goalie Jacob Nehama was pulled when he gave up a third goal 9:10 into the game, Marble came in and made 23 saves the rest of the way.
The Hawks had fewer headaches in a 5-1 win over CC on Saturday. Next weekend, CC hosts a struggling Omaha club while UND visits Western Michigan.