A fairly light weekend of NCHC action wasn’t without its talking points. Here are three of the bigger ones that caught our attention:
UMD continues its resurgence
After suffering a five-game losing streak through the middle to end of last month, Minnesota-Duluth now finds itself on an upward trajectory.
The Bulldogs have now built up a three-game winning streak that included a pair of home victories this weekend against Colorado College. Duluth showed plenty of offensive muscle this weekend, besting the Tigers 5-3 on Friday before winning 3-2 in Saturday’s rematch.
Expect the Bulldogs’ Alex Iafallo to be among the NCHC’s players of the week when the league releases that list early next week. Iafallo picked up two goals against CC on Friday before netting Saturday’s game-winner with 2:42 left in the series rematch.
UMD hosts Bemidji State on Tuesday in non-conference action before taking next weekend off. CC is also off next weekend ahead of a home-and-home series against arch-rival Denver.
Huskies, RedHawks share spoils
Third-ranked St. Cloud State could find itself down slightly in Monday’s USCHO Men’s Division I poll following an entertaining split on the road this weekend against Miami.
SCSU stormed to a 5-1 victory in Friday’s series opener in Oxford, Ohio. After St. Cloud’s Ethan Prow and Miami’s Josh Melnick traded goals in the game’s first 20:15, SCSU reeled off four unanswered goals to take all the points on offer in Round 1.
Saturday’s rematch provided a much tighter affair, and Miami needed all three of its second-period goals to come away with a 3-2 win. Melnick, Sean Kuraly and Kiefer Sherwood all scored even-strength goals in that period to put Miami on top.
The RedHawks only have one game this next week, a trip on Friday to former CCHA rival Bowling Green. SCSU is off until it visits Omaha on Feb. 19-20.
SCSU misses chance to jump alone into first place
St. Cloud’s loss to Miami on Saturday kept the Huskies from jumping alone into first place in the NCHC standings. SCSU’s victory on Friday moved the Huskies into a tie for the top spot with second-ranked North Dakota, who was idle this weekend.
Both teams now have 41 points and 13 NCHC wins apiece, although UND now has two league games in hand. Those will come next weekend when the Fighting Hawks visit No. 13 Denver.
DU, also idle this weekend, currently sits in third place with 29 points. That makes the Pioneers’ home series against their rivals from UND all the more important in terms of how the top of the NCHC standings could begin to shake down as the end of the regular season approaches.