Five highlights from around the country:
1. Omaha continued to stay hot early this season, sweeping Western Michigan on the road. The top line of Jake Guentzel-Dominic Zombo-Austin Ortega now has 21 points in four games this season. Guentzel leads the way with nine of them.
2. In Denver’s first weekend without NCHC goalie of the year Sam Brittain, the heir apparent, Evan Cowley, stopped 40 of 41 shots (.976, 0.51) in leading Denver to a sweep of RPI. The lone goal allowed by Cowley was a power-play tally with :35 left in the game.
3. As expected with so many new players, Wisconsin is off to a tough start, dropping to 0-4 after getting swept by Northern Michigan. The Badgers have just 3 goals in 4 games this season. The Badgers now have two weeks to prepare for UND.
4. Union finished off a sweep of Maine with a 5-2 victory, setting up a key nonconference showdown against St. Cloud State next week in upstate New York. Union will take a 16-game winning streak and a 21-game unbeaten streak into that series. Its last loss came in January.
5. The Alaska schools are a combined 7-0-1 to start the season after the teams went 3-0-1 against Penn State and Air Force this weekend in Fairbanks.
In Colorado Springs, UND was dominant in its 7-2 win over Colorado College from the start to the end of the game. Game stories:
- On Friday night, I thought Colorado College played a fairly even game with UND and that goaltender Zane McIntyre was a huge difference-maker. Saturday was completely one-sided from the start as UND won nearly every puck battle. The lack of compete from CC is likely why they held a players meeting after the game.
- UND used the Olympic ice sheet to its advantage on the power play, going 5-for-11 on Saturday and 6-for-16 on the weekend.
- Mark MacMillan will surely be the NCHC offensive player of the week with his five-point night and seven-point weekend. On top of that, MacMillan went 14-4 on faceoffs as UND dominated that category 34-21.
- In the first period, CC had just one shot attempt between the dots. It came from Hunter Fejes, who was ejected by the end of the frame. In the second period, the Tigers got one shot on goal between the dots. It was the easiest 40 minutes that McIntyre has had in a while.
- Johnny Simonson registered his first college point and came so close to getting his first goal. He rang two shots off the post. Simonson, a scratch in the season opener, is starting to leave the coaches no choice but to play him, much as Mario Lamoureux did as a youngster. Simonson now has worked his way onto the second power-play unit.
- Tucker Poolman, who scored his first-career goal, also has worked his way onto the power play.
- In past years, I’ve written about UND’s inability to score on five-minute major power plays. That obviously was not the case Saturday as UND tallied four goals on the two majors. MacMillan said after the game that the key is playing with urgency, instead of relaxing because of the extra time.
- The seniors came up big this weekend for UND, combining for 6 goals and 14 points.
- The biggest area of concern is the health of Drake Caggiula, who left the ice after a hit by Christian Heil, who was penalized for contact to the head. Caggiula did not return and there were no updates available at the end of the game.
- Colorado College now has to go on the road for 13 of its next 14 games. It has just one home game between now and January 16. That’s a tough way for a young team to start the season.