The Huskies are the only team in the field not yet secure of an NCAA tournament spot entering the semifinals.
Matthew is fading in the rearview mirror, as I correctly picked Denver to sweep Colorado College. I went a measly 4-4 (.500), but Matthew went 3-5 (.375), so on the year, I am 106-45-10 (.720) and Matthew is 99-52-10 (.677), a healthy seven-game lead with two weeks left.
Let’s get to this week’s action.
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 27-28
Western Michigan at Colorado College
Candace: Somehow, I think CC finds a way to lose when it should win. Besides, I think the Broncos are playing for position. Western Michigan 3-2, 3-2
Matthew: Is this the weekend that CC gets back into the win column and starts its stretch run in earnest? It wouldn’t surprise me. Colorado College 3-2, Western Michigan 3-2
No. 5 Miami at No. 7 Denver
Candace: Yes, this is a split. Miami has to hope it can stay within striking distance of North Dakota. Denver 3-1, Miami 4-3
Matthew: This series has “split” written all over it, but the difficulty is in predicting who wins which night. Denver 3-1, Miami 3-1
No. 8 Omaha at No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth
Candace: I feel like I should pick an Omaha sweep, just to strike terror into the heart of @RedArmyUNO, but I’m not that cruel. Neither team has been setting the world on fire of late. Minnesota-Duluth 2-1, Omaha 3-2
Matthew: UMD’s results have been pretty up-and-down of late, but Omaha has lost four of its last five and I’m wondering what’s going on with the Mavericks. Minnesota Duluth 3-1, 3-2
St. Cloud State at No. 1 North Dakota
Candace: A few weeks ago, I’d have picked North Dakota to sweep. I’m still tempted to, but I think the Huskies get a split. St. Cloud 2-1, North Dakota 3-0
Matthew: SCSU has won five of its last six games, and UND could be for its first regulation home loss in almost two months. Split. St. Cloud 3-1, North Dakota 2-0
Some of the bigger talking points from the weekend that was in the NCHC:
Omaha suffers sweep
Before Omaha visited unranked St. Cloud State this weekend, UNO hadn’t been shut out in a single game this season. Nor, in fact, had the Mavericks been swept in any two-game set during the current campaign.
Both of those things happened to UNO in Minnesota, though, and neither came at a good time for the Mavericks.
The Mavericks’ misery this weekend started late in Friday night’s series-opener at SCSU. UNO led 3-2 going into the final minutes of regulation, but the Huskies Blake Winiecki and David Morley scored a pair of goals 16 seconds apart to snatch a 4-3 victory.
SCSU then shut Omaha out 2-0 on Saturday. Nathan Widman and Jimmy Murray found the back of the net for St. Cloud, while Charlie Lindgren stopped all 21 Mavericks shots he faced.
Following the setbacks in St. Cloud, UNO (17-10-3, 18-11-1-1 NCHC) fell into a tie for third place with Denver. The Mavericks are on the road again next weekend at No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth, while St. Cloud State (15-14-1, 10-9-1-0) visits North Dakota.
Miami slips at home
UMD is proving to be a tougher out seemingly by the week, and the Bulldogs proved their worth again this weekend on the road.
Miami found that out the hard way when Duluth visited Oxford, Ohio for a pair of games. In the end, following a split against UMD, the RedHawks found themselves down a peg on the NCHC ladder into sole possession of second place.
Duluth reaped the most appealing fruits of its labor in the series’s first game. UMD and MU scored one goal each in the game’s first eight minutes and two seconds, and the score remained locked at 1-1 until Duluth scored twice in the third period to roll away a 3-1 winner.
The RedHawks bounced back the following night, however, but only just. A Blake Coleman goal 3:58 into overtime gave Miami a 4-3 win and all of the points on offer on Saturday.
Miami (19-10-1, 12-7-1-1) makes the long trip west next weekend to face Denver, while UMD (19-12-1, 11-8-1-0) returns home to prepare for UNO.
North Dakota stays on top
With UNO and Miami both slipping this weekend, UND had an opportunity to claim the No. 1 spot in the league for the team’s own when it visited Western Michigan.
UND took care of business by sweeping the Broncos on their own Lawson Arena ice. Three different UND players scored in a 3-1 win on Friday night before an overtime goal from Drake Caggiula 3:31 into an extra period on Saturday gave the guests a 3-2 victory.
As things stand now, UND (22-6-3, 13-5-2-0) is alone in first place in the league on 41 points, while Miami is three behind on 38. Denver and Omaha (35 points) each would also have home-ice advantage in the first round of the NCHC playoffs if the regular season had ended on Saturday night.
UMD is only one point behind both DU and UNO, while SCSU (31 points) gave itself a lifeline with its sweep of Omaha.
As we’re quickly coming up towards the playoffs, here’s a quick guide to the NCHC’s tiebreaker system for playoff seedings, should there be a need for them to be used. You may want to sit down for this.
1.) If two or more teams are tied in the standings at the end of the regular season and they played a balanced schedule (equal number of home and away games) against each other, the highest seed will go to the team with the best regular-season winning percentage in games against the other teams in the tie in the standings. If any of the teams in the tie played an unbalanced schedule against other teams in the tie, this criterion doesn’t apply to the tiebreaker and the next one does.
2.) If the first criterion doesn’t break the tie, the highest seed goes to the team with the highest number of NCHC regular-season wins.
3.) If the first two criteria don’t break the tie, the highest seed goes to the team with the best league regular-season winning percentage against other teams involved in the tie, balanced schedules or not.
4.) If the first three criteria don’t break the tie, the highest seed will be determined by a comparison of total goals for and against during regular-season games against other teams involved in the tie.
5.) If the first four criteria don’t break the tie – Still with us? – the highest seed will be determined by comparing the winning percentages of the tied teams against the remaining highest-ranked NCHC teams, successively, until either the tie is broken or all league games have been taken into consideration.
6.) If the tie is still in effect at this point, it would be broken by the flip of a coin.
We’re not sure what would be more interesting: The drama involved with No. 6 or the fact that a tiebreaker would have gotten to that point in the first place.
Well, Matthew got a couple of games back on me last week. I went 4-3-1 and Matthew went 6-1-1. On the year, I am 102-41-10 and Matthew is 96-47-10.
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 20-21
No. 9 Denver vs. Colorado College (home-and-home)
Candace: Normally, I’d think CC would have this in the bag, but it’s been a pretty unusual season for the Tigers, and Denver gets coach Jim Montgomery back. Denver 2-1, 4-1
Matthew: CC is due for a win and I think they’ll get one this weekend, but only one. Home teams win. Colorado College 2-1, Denver 4-1
No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth at No. 6 Miami
Candace: This one is really hard to pick the split order in. I think the road trip means Miami wins the first. Miami 3-2, Minnesota-Duluth 3-2
Matthew: A battle of two teams that have been hot lately. Hard to call anything other than a split here, but who will win which night? Miami 3-2, Minnesota-Duluth 2-1
No. 5 Omaha at St. Cloud State
Candace: It’s possible this might be a split, but it’s pretty hard to pick the order, so … Omaha 4-2, 3-2
Matthew: UNO has split its last two series and needs to turn that around this weekend in St. Cloud. I think the Mavericks will do it. Omaha 3-1, 3-2
No. 1 North Dakota at Western Michigan
Candace: North Dakota takes another step toward the Penrose Cup. North Dakota 2-1, 4-1
Matthew: Teams can’t afford to sleep on this Western team, but I think UND will do what it takes to stay at least tied at the top of the league. North Dakota 3-2, 3-1
Three for three
There are three weeks left in the regular season. There are currently three teams tied for first place in the NCHC: Miami, North Dakota, and Omaha, each of which have 35 points. These three teams have also been battling for first for most of the last month and a half.
Miami moved into the tie thanks to a sweep of Colorado College. North Dakota had an opportunity to take sole possession of first place on Saturday, but ended up tying Denver, while Omaha rebounded from a loss to Western Michigan on Friday to win and move back into the first-place tie.
Were these three teams to remain tied at the end of the season, the NCHC has a six-step tiebreaking system to decide seeding in the NCHC playoffs. All three teams would be named co-champions of the league. The first tiebreaker depends on whether the teams have played a balanced schedule against each other. They have not, because Miami will not have played four games against Omaha.
The second tiebreaker is greatest number of wins. Currently, all three teams have 11 league wins.
The third tiebreaker is the team with the best regular season winning percentage among the games played against the other teams. Miami is currently 2-2 against North Dakota and Omaha, while North Dakota is 3-2-1 against Omaha and Miami and Omaha is 2-3-1 against the other two.
Hence, if the season had ended today, North Dakota would have claimed the top seed, Miami would be second, and Omaha third.
If the winning percentage is tied, the NCHC goes to goals for and against each of the teams in the tie, then winning percentages of the teams against the remaining NCHC teams. The final decision would come to a coin flip.
Down the stretch, Omaha is on the road the next two weeks at St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth, then hosts Colorado College on the final weekend of the year. North Dakota is on the road next weekend at Western Michigan, hosts St. Cloud, and then ends with a possible championship-deciding weekend in Oxford against Miami. Prior to North Dakota, Miami hosts Minnesota-Duluth then faces Denver on the road.
Four to Seven
Right now, the only sure thing in the NCHC is that Colorado College will finish last and be on the road in the first round against the league champion. Other first round matchups are up in the air.
Minnesota-Duluth is in fourth for the final home ice spot with 31 points, two points ahead of fifth-place Denver, six ahead of sixth-place St. Cloud State, and nine ahead of seventh-place Western Michigan. Duluth has Miami on the road, Omaha at home, and Western Michigan on the road down the stretch, Denver has Colorado College in a home-and-home, Miami at home, and closes on the road at St. Cloud State, St. Cloud hosts Omaha and travels to North Dakota before Denver, and Western Michigan hosts North Dakota, travels to Colorado College, and hosts Duluth.
With each win in the league worth three points, plenty of movement could still happen. Any one of the teams in the four to seven spots could still claim home ice in the first round with enough wins and a combination of losses by other teams. It’s also possible all four teams could go 3-3 and be in the same position come March 7, especially given how much NCHC teams beat up on each other.
Tying a record
Omaha’s Austin Ortega tied the NCAA mark for game-winning goals with 10 in a season on Saturday when Western Michigan’s Sheldon Dries scored an extra-attacker goal at 19:33 of the third period to get the Broncos on the board, meaning Ortega’s goal, Omaha’s second, stood as the game-winner in Omaha’s 3-1 win.
“It’s a good feeling,” Ortega said. “Obviously I don’t look too much into that. I mean, tonight it was definitely lucky; it wasn’t an overtime winner or anything.”
The next closest players to Ortega in the game-winner stat this season are Miami’s Sean Kuraly with nine, Michigan Tech’s Alex Petan with seven and Michigan Tech’s Tanner Kero with six.
Last week, thanks to Miami, I put even more distance between Matthew and I, as I was perfect, going 4-0 while Matthew went 3-1. On the year, I am 98-38-9 while Matthew is 90-46-9. Let’s see if I can do even better this week.
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 13-14
No. 7 Miami at Colorado College
Candace: I’m sure one of these will be close, but I think the RedHawks will avoid a letdown and keep pace with those above them in the standings. Miami 3-2, 4-1
Matthew: I’m starting to feel a bit bad for CC at this point. We keep saying the Tigers are better than their record — and they are — but I think their record will be a little worse come late Saturday night than it is now. Miami 3-2, 4-2
St. Cloud State at No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth
Candace: Duluth swept this series back in November in St. Cloud, with one game going to OT. The Huskies looked good their last time out against Colorado College, but they generally haven’t done as well on the road. I’m picking a Bulldogs sweep, simply because the split seems to hard to pick a night for each win. Minnesota-Duluth 3-2, 3-1
Matthew: A team that’s won three of its last four visits a team that’s won its last three in a row. Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a split here. Minnesota-Duluth 3-1, St. Cloud State 2-1
No. 9 Denver at No. 2 North Dakota
Candace: These two split back in December in a barn-burner of a series. I think they split again. Denver 2-1, North Dakota 3-2
Matthew: DU has been subpar away from home this season and UND is 11-3-2 in Grand Forks since the campaign began. This will probably be a split but I’m going to stick my neck out slightly and call for a sweep. North Dakota 3-1, 3-2
Western Michigan at No. 4 Omaha
Candace: Every time I think Western Michigan is getting ready to roll, the Broncos stumble. I’m sure both games will be close, but I’m picking an Omaha sweep. Are you happy @RedArmyUNO? Omaha 3-2, 4-2
Matthew: UNO has had too much going for it lately for me to think they’ll slip up in this series at home. If it was in Kalamazoo, I might call it a little differently but not here. Omaha 4-2, 3-1
Saturday saw us wrap up an abbreviated weekend slate of action of four games involving five NCHC teams. The league’s weekly dance card will be full each week from next weekend through the end of the regular season, but here are three things that stuck out to me from the last round of games.
Denver again topples CC
Two down, two to go. That’s the approach Denver will be taking now halfway through its season series with in-state rival Colorado College.
DU housed the Tigers 8-1 at home back on Nov. 14, and the Pios were favored to do the business again when they traveled to meet CC in Colorado Springs on Saturday. Denver didn’t disappoint, winning again by a 3-0 count.
A Danton Heinen goal 11:45 into the game at World Arena held up the rest of the way as the game-winner. Heinen also picked up a pair of assists on third-period insurance goals, both scored by DU teammate Trevor Moore.
The Pioneers have two games left this regular season against CC, first in Colorado Springs on Feb. 20 and then back in Denver the following night. CC currently holds the teams’ Gold Pan traveling trophy, and it would continue to if it picks up a pair of wins in that two-game set later this month by virtue of having split the season series.
DU (16-9-1, 9-7-0-0 NCHC) is on the road next weekend for another big rivalry series against No. 2 North Dakota. UND will be coming off of its final idle weekend of the season.
CC (5-19-1, 1-14-1-0) plays host next weekend to No. 8 Miami.
UMD defends the realm
No league has had a better non-conference record this season than the NCHC, and seventh-ranked Minnesota-Duluth bolstered further that reputation this weekend with a home sweep of Northern Michigan.
Duluth opened the teams’ series at Amsoil Arena with a 3-1 victory over the Wildcats on Friday night. DJ Vandercook gave NMU an early lead just 2:52 into the game, but three different UMD goalscorers put Northern down over the final 40 minutes of play.
UMD then came out on the right side of a nine-goal game on Saturday, defeating the Wildcats again by a 6-3 count. The Bulldogs again spread their scoring out in the rematch, with six different Duluth skaters finding the back of NMU’s nets.
The Bulldogs (17-10-1, 9-6-1-0) are at home again next weekend when in-state rival St. Cloud State comes up north.
Miami wins nearly three-hour outdoor game
Those that wonder if outdoor hockey games are worth the effort will find their case strengthened by what slowly took place in Chicago on Saturday.
Soldier Field played host for a second time to the Hockey City Classic – an annual event that ought to make the middle part of its name plural considering it took place in Minneapolis last year – on Saturday for games pitting Miami against Western Michigan and, later on, Michigan with arch-rival Michigan State.
The event’s two NCHC teams held court in the first game of the day, and Miami took home the league points on offer after outlasting WMU 4-3. The RedHawks scored each of the game’s first four goals before the Broncos from WMU made things interesting with three third-period tallies.
It was a sloppy affair which started 95 minutes late due to poor ice conditions that never really got better over the course of the game, which lasted for nearly three hours. Ice crews were sent out several times to repair affected spots on the ice on a day in which Chicago enjoyed 42-degree weather, a rarity there in February.
Michigan defeated MSU 4-1 in the event’s second game, which didn’t get started until 8:45 p.m. local time.
Miami (16-9-1, 9-6-1-1) will visit CC next weekend, while Western (11-11-4, 4-8-4-3) makes its first-ever NCHC trip to former CCHA rival Omaha.
I put a little more distance between Matthew and I in our picks race last week, thanks to correctly picking Denver. Last week, I went 5-1-1 (.785) while Matthew went 4-2-1 (.642). On the year, I am 94-38-9 (.698) and Matthew is 87-45-9 (.648).
It’s a light weekend of action, but let’s get to this week’s picks.
Friday, Feb. 6
No. 10 Denver at Colorado College
Candace: I don’t think this will the blowout it was last time, but I also don’t see CC winning. Denver 5-2
Matthew: CC will want to exact revenge for the 8-1 drubbing it got at Denver earlier this season, but I think the Pioneers will sweep the regular season series. Denver 4-2
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 6-7
Northern Michigan at No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth
Candace: The Bulldogs have been in something of a holding pattern, winning one and losing one, but I’m going to be an NCHC homer and pick a sweep. Minnesota-Duluth 3-2, 4-1
Matthew: Northern hasn’t been awful away from home this season and I wouldn’t be that stunned if it steals a game in Duluth, but I don’t really think it’ll happen. Minnesota-Duluth 3-1, 3-2
Saturday, Feb. 7
Western Michigan v No. 8 Miami in Chicago
Candace: Eh, I’ll be contrary to Matthew, even though the RedHawks haven’t looked too spectacular of late. These two tied last weekend in Kalamazoo. Miami 3-2
Matthew: There’s something about Western in neutral-ice situations that I’ve liked over the past couple of years. Going to stick my neck out here a bit and take the Broncos in an upset. Western Michigan 4-3
No. 1 vs. No 2 was all it was cracked up to be
The marquee series of the weekend pitted No. 1 North Dakota against No. 5 Omaha. Coincidentally, the two teams were also second and first, respectively, in the NCHC. For once, such a series delievered, as they split, with both games being decided in overtime.
On Friday, Omaha took a two-goal lead into the third period, only to see North Dakota score twice to tie it, the tying goal being scored by Drage Caggiula with only 48 seconds left in the game.
However, the rally was ultimately futile, as Austin Ortego scored his nation-leading ninth game-winning goal with only 33 seconds left in the overtime. Ortega’s heroics led Omaha coach Dean Blais to say, “Austin Ortega’s got a horeshoe in his pocket.”
Saturday was the reverse of Friday, with an Omaha rally falling short. North Dakota took a 2-1 lead into the third. Omaha tied it on a power play at 4:00 of the third, but Stephane Pattyn scored at 9:15 to put North Dakota up 3-2. At 16:16, Brian Cooper scored a power-play goal to tie it for Omaha.
This time, it was North Dakota’s big player who made the big play, as Brendan O’Donnell scored the game-winner at 2:04. When O’Donnell scores, North Dakota is 19-0-1.
Omaha has a one-point lead on North Dakota in the race for the Penrose Cup, with one month remaining in the season. Both teams are 10-5-1, but Omaha has an extra point thanks to winning a shootout against North Dakota in the first game between the two teams back on Nov. 28.
Omaha has series left against Western Michigan, St. Cloud State, Minnesota-Duluth, and Colorado College, while North Dakota has Denver, Western Michigan, St. Cloud, and Miami left.
Signs of life from St. Cloud
St. Cloud State has not had a memorable season so far in defense of its Penrose Cup title, but the Huskies took another step forward with a dominating sweep of Colorado College on the road. St. Cloud scored 13 goals in the series while holding the Tigers to just two goals.
Kalle Kossila led the way for the Huskies in Friday’s 7-1 win with one goal and three assists. Leading scorer Jonny Brodzinski added a pair of goals and an assist, while Joey Benik had a goal and two assists.
On Saturday, Brodzinksi stayed hot with two more goals and an assist in St. Cloud’s 6-1 win. David Morley added two goals to go with his two assists on Friday, and Ethan Prow had three assists after notching two on Friday.
St. Cloud is now in sixth in the NCHC, two points behind Denver and four behind Miami, though both of those teams have a game in hand on the Huskies. St. Cloud is also three points ahead of seventh-place Western Michigan.
The NCHC has the best out-of-conference record this season, and it shows in the PairWise rankings. As of today, half of the the top 10 teams in the PairWise are NCHC squads. North Dakota is at two, Omaha is tied for third, Minnesota-Duluth is fifth, Miami is eighth, and Denver is tied for ninth. On the outside looking in are Western Michigan at 22 and St. Cloud at 25.
Of the remaining top 16 teams, five are from Hockey East, three are from the WCHA, two are from the ECAC, and one is from the Big Ten. However, the five from Hockey East would not make it, as Vermont is at 16, and would be displaced by the AHC auto-bid winner.
While there is still a lot of hockey left to be played, it is very possible that the NCHC could have five, and even six, teams in the NCAA tournament come March.
Last weekend, I put three more games between Matthew and I to re-establish a comfortable lead, going 7-1 (.875) while Matthew went 4-4 (.500). On the year, I am 89-37-8 (.694) and Matthew is 83-43-8 (649).
Friday-Saturday, Jan. 30-31
St. Cloud State at Colorado College
Candace: CC keeps showing improvement, while St. Cloud has been hovering. I think I’ll go with a split. Colorado College 3-2, St. Cloud 2-1
Matthew: St. Cloud has yet to turn their season around, so I don’t think CC could’ve picked a better time to host the Huskies. I’m going for a split here. Colorado College 2-1, St. Cloud State 3-1
No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth at No. 11 Denver
Candace: These two teams split in October, and I think history repeats itself. Denver 3-2, Minnesota-Duluth 3-2
Matthew: DU is 10-3-0 at home this season, but I see Duluth getting back on track following a North Star College Cup in which the Bulldogs should’ve done better. Minnesota-Duluth 3-1, 3-1
No. 1 North Dakota at No. 5 Omaha
Candace: I think even the dreaded Twitter handle @RedArmyUNO would be happy if their Mavericks got a split. Omaha 4-2, North Dakota 4-1
Matthew: Easily the biggest series in the country this weekend, and it puts together two teams that have always put on entertaining games against each other. I’m not expecting anything different there this time, and I think they’ll have to both live with a split. Omaha 3-2, North Dakota 3-2
Saturday, Jam. 31
No. 9 Miami at Western Michigan
Candace: Miami has been inconsistent in the second half, and Western Michigan has been hot, but I’ll go with the visitors. Miami 3-2
Matthew: A .500 road team visits a team that’s below .500 this season at home. I’ll take the RedHawks, but this one will be close. Miami 4-3
With seven of the NCHC’s eight teams in action this weekend, we’ve been left with plenty of talking points. Here are three that particularly stick out in my mind.
Duluth underwhelms at North Star College Cup
In only its second year of existence, the North Star College Cup has already generated plenty of excitement in Minnesota as the state’s unofficial state college hockey championship. This year’s four-team field seemed surprisingly even, and Minnesota-Duluth wanted to take advantage of that.
The Bulldogs didn’t.
Seventh-ranked UMD struggled in Friday’s first semifinal game, dropping a 4-0 decision to Bemidji State. Duluth outshot the Beavers 28-26, but nothing got past BSU goaltender Michael Bitzer, the eventual tournament MVP.
In Saturday afternoon’s consolation game, the Bulldogs squared off with Minnesota in a battle between two of western college hockey’s more inconsistent teams this season. A goal from Adam Krause – his second of the game against the Gophers – with 2:11 left to play stood up as the game-winner in a tight 2-1 win for Duluth.
UMD (14-9-1, 8-5-1-0 NCHC) heads west this next week to face No. 11 Denver.
UND earns hard-fought wins, keeps pushing ahead
It’s been said many times over here at USCHO and elsewhere that Colorado College is a much better hockey team than its last-place standing in the NCHC would suggest. This weekend, North Dakota found that out first-hand.
UND extended its current winning streak to five games – and has now won seven of its last eight – this weekend with a home sweep of CC in Grand Forks, N.D. Nothing came easy for the hosts, though, which downed the Tigers 2-1 on Friday and 5-3 the following night.
CC picked up 14 of its 31 shots on net Friday in the night’s first period, and the Tigers’ Alex Roos put one of them past UND goaltender Zane McIntyre 4:01 into the game. UND then scored once each in the second and third periods to take a lead of its own, but it wasn’t exactly a matter of levees breaking.
After Mark MacMillan tied the game up at 16:23 of the third period, a shorthanded goal from Michael Parks 6:37 into the third period stood up as the game-winner. UND has become quite adept at picking up such tallies, as Parks’s was the team’s nation-leading ninth of the season.
Saturday’s game was a higher-scoring affair but wasn’t any easier for the favorites. Five different UND players scored in the rematch, but their team had to again withstand pressure from the Tigers en route to a 5-3 win over them.
UND (18-5-2, 9-4-1-0) is on the road next Friday and Saturday at eighth-ranked Omaha, which was idle this weekend. CC (5-16-1, 1-11-1-0) will host St. Cloud State next weekend in Colorado Springs.
Denver, Miami back to where they were
Heading into this weekend, only three points separated fourth-place Miami from fifth-place Denver. That meant that, if the postseason had started on Friday, DU would have visited Miami in the first round of the NCHC playoffs.
That pairing still holds true now after the teams split a regular-season set this weekend in Oxford, Ohio.
Denver started the weekend brightest and picked up a 3-1 win over the homestanding RedHawks on Friday. Trevor Moore picked up the eventual game-clinching goal 30 seconds into the night’s third period before he scored into an empty net with 10 seconds left to play.
Miami returned the favor the following night when the RedHawks recorded a 4-1 win over the Pioneers. MU outshot Denver 34-22 and four different RedHawks pushed the puck past DU goalie Tanner Jaillet in the rematch.
The ninth-ranked RedHawks (15-9-0, 8-6-0-0) will host a home-and-home with Western Michigan over the next two Saturdays, with Western hosting the first leg. Denver (14-8-1, 7-6-0-0) welcomes UMD to the Colorado capital next weekend.