Three things: Dec. 4

Denver sweeps on the road…
Top-ranked Denver will likely hold onto that ranking through Monday after picking up a pair of road wins this weekend against No. 16 Minnesota Duluth.

Both games were tight, but in the end UMD came away empty-handed from a NCHC series for the second time this season. Logan O’Connor scored Friday’s only goal for Denver 2:51 into the second period, and the Pioneers got another game-winner Saturday with 4:04 left, this time from Jake Durflinger.

Neither team found much offensive success. They went a combined 0-for-10 on power play chances in the series, and UMD came up short again Saturday despite limiting Denver to just 15 shots.

Denver is currently tied with Western Michigan for third place in the NCHC standings. UMD is nine points back of a home-ice playoff spot.

Same with St. Cloud…
The only team below Duluth in the conference standings is Omaha, which conceded 12 goals this weekend as the Mavericks were swept at home by second-ranked St. Cloud State.

The Huskies went 0-for-2 on the power play Friday but hit often 5-on-5, winning 7-4. SCSU was busy at its own end of the ice, too, with goaltender Mike Smith making 40 saves.

On Saturday, SCSU moved into sole possession of first place in the conference thanks to a 5-0 win. Five different players scored, and David Hrenak matched Smith’s 40-save mark from the night before.

The Huskies’ (11-2) offense has been very impressive so far, scoring at least five goals in nine of their 13 outings. UNO has conceded 25 in its last league games.

Hawks defend home ice
After being held to a loss and a tie at home against Union on Thanksgiving weekend, sixth-ranked North Dakota bounced back with a sweep of No. 10 Western Michigan.

The Fighting Hawks’ 4-3 win Friday came after a hectic five-goal first period. Collin Adams scored the game-winner midway through the second, and Cam Johnson ended up with 18 saves and a victory in his first game back after a lengthy injury spell.

On Saturday, he stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced in a 4-1 victory. Western’s Austin Rueschhoff opened the scoring eight minutes into the second period before UND scored four unanswered. The winner came from Cole Smith just seven seconds into the third period, tying a school record for the fastest goal scored in said frame.

After sweeping the Broncos, UND sits one point behind SCSU. Western, now 1-5 on its travels this season (but 8-2-1 at home), gets Miami next in Kalamazoo, Mich., prior to the holiday break.