Three things: It’s going to be a dogfight

Dogfight ahead
No. 2 Nebraska-Omaha had started the season 6-0, including impressive road sweeps of Minnesota State and Vermont, and a home series sweep of Air Force.

This weekend, the Mavericks started NCHC conference play, and things didn’t go so well, as they were swept by Western Michigan, 4-2 and 6-1. The Broncos got 31 saves on Friday from Colin Olson, and Sheldon Dries scored the game-winner at 13:30 of the second, while Aaron Hadley added an insurance goal early in the third.

On Saturday, Lukas Hafner stopped 37 shots in the 6-1 win and the Broncos got scoring from five different players. Omaha’s vaunted offense was almost completely shut down, including three power play chances killed.

Omaha is certain to drop from its No. 2 spot in the Division I Men’s Poll, though how far is uncertain. Meanwhile, the Broncos showed a nice recovery from being swept by Clarkson the weekend before.

Breaks not kind
No. 5 Denver traveled to Boston this weekend and dropped a pair of heart-breakers, losing 4-3 to No. 4 Boston College Friday on a goal by Matthew Gaudreau with 36 seconds left in the game, and then dropping a 5-4 overtime decision Saturday afternoon to No. 8 Boston University, with Ahti Oksanen scoring the game-winner just 21 seconds into the OT, after Denver had scored twice in the third to tie the game.

One interesting note is that Denver had won twice in its last outings two weeks ago against Michigan State, then had a bye week. Earlier in October, Western Michigan won twice at home, had a bye week, then went on the road and got swept. Perhaps NCHC teams should decline rest weekends?

Home sweep home
After one month of play, one thing has become clear: NCHC teams prefer to play at home. The road, on the other hand, has not been kind. Only two NCHC teams have a winning road record. Three are winless on the road.

NCHC teams currently boast an overall mark of 31-23-6. Of the 23 losses, 17 have been on the road, an astonishing 74 percent, while five of the six ties have been on the road.

Here’s the breakdown:

Colorado College: 0-4 home, 0-4 road
Denver: 3-0 home, 0-3 road
Miami: 1-1-1 home, 2-3 road
Minnesota-Duluth: 2-1 home, 1-1-2 road
North Dakota: 1-0 home, 5-0-2 road
Omaha: 2-0 home, 4-2 road
St. Cloud State: 4-0 home, 2-2 road
Western Michigan: 4-0 home, 0-2-1 road