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.