A busy weekend of NCHC hockey gave us plenty of talking points. Here are three of the bigger ones that stood out:
UND takes all six points at home
North Dakota is in a tight race with St. Cloud State atop the NCHC standings, and the Fighting Hawks kept up their end of the bargain this weekend with a sweep at home against Minnesota-Duluth.
The first of UND’s two wins came in controversial fashion. After a turnover in overtime by Duluth’s Willie Raskob, Austin Poganski raced toward the Bulldogs net on a rush but was ruled by referee Todd Anderson to have been impeded before a shot by UMD defenseman Carson Soucy.
That sent Poganski to center ice for a penalty shot, which he put past Duluth goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo to give UND a 2-1. series-opening victory.
Saturday provided another tight game, with the Fighting Hawks again coming out 2-1 winners. This time, it was thanks to UND freshman Brock Boeser’s 20th goal of the season with 5:21 left in the game.
Duluth is on the road again next weekend to take on St. Cloud State, while UND visits Omaha.
Huskies hold firm
Speaking of Omaha, UNO struggled this weekend in a pair of home losses against SCSU. St. Cloud remains tied with UND at the top of the NCHC standings with 47 points apiece and identical records in league play.
SCSU got the ball rolling on Friday with a 4-1 win over the Mavericks at Baxter Arena. A Jacob Bensen goal 15:03 into the game stood up as the game-winner before Joey Benik scored two insurance goals in the game’s third period.
A 6-3 win for the Huskies in Saturday’s rematch wasn’t without its roller-coaster moments. SCSU opened up a 3-0 through the first 32:10 before Luke Nogard (one goal) and Jake Guentzel (two) gave UNO life. It wasn’t enough, though, as Kalle Kossila and Judd Peterson put the result on ice with one goal each in the game’s final four minutes.
Omaha now finds itself tied on points with UMD and Miami in the race for the fourth and final home-ice spot in the first round of the playoffs. The Mavericks have a tough lead-up to the postseason: At home next weekend against UND before visiting Denver, a team that swept the Mavericks in Omaha on Jan. 8-9.
Denver completes season sweep of CC
After winning two games against Colorado College by a combined 6-1 in November, DU looked to pick up two more wins this weekend against the Pioneers’ in-state rival.
DU did just that, winning by 4-1 counts both Thursday and Saturday. Matt Hansen gave CC a 1-0 lead on the Tigers’ World Arena ice before four different Denver skaters scored past Jacob Nehama.
On Saturday, the Colorado rivals took it outside to Denver’s Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies baseball team. The rematch provided a similar story, with DU again getting goals from four different Pioneer players.
CC hits the road next weekend to face Miami, while Denver also plays away from home at Western Michigan.