NCHC stumbles in nonconference

In case you haven’t noticed, I started a new column this year running on Tuesdays that’s kind of a weekend-in-review thing.

In this week’s column, I touch on the tough nonconference weekend for the NCHC, which stumbled to a 4-7-1 mark over the weekend.

Members of the league were hoping that they could annually get four teams — or maybe even five on a good year — into the NCAA tournament. But weekends like the last one could kill any chance of that.

Looking further into the NCHC’s 14-13-5 nonconference mark, league members are…

2-0 vs. Big Ten
4-3-3 vs. WCHA
4-4-2 vs. Hockey East
2-2 vs. Atlantic Hockey
2-4 vs. ECAC

It’s certainly strange to see those records against Atlantic Hockey and the ECAC, two leagues that NCHC members have dominated over the years. But both AHA and the ECAC had great seasons a year ago and it wouldn’t be shocking if they both get more than one team in the NCAAs.

When the NCHC started, the thought by most (myself included) was that the league would beat up on each other and that it needed to make its hay in nonconference play. That certainly hasn’t been the recipe so far.

Because the league is only playing a 24-game schedule, there are many more opportunities to improve that nonconference record. But with some of the struggles NCHC teams are having early this season, you have to wonder…. is the league as good this season as we thought it would be?

*****

On Sunday, UND recruit Tucker Poolman achieved a rare feat — a hat trick by a defenseman. Poolman scored three goals to lead Omaha to victory.

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At the end of the High School Elite League, there’s the CCM Invitational. Two all-star teams are made up from Elite League participants.

A number of local uncommitted players made the all-star team, including East Grand Forks’ Colton Poolman, Grafton’s Jade Miller, Warroad’s Jared Bethune and Roseau’s Cole Bjugson.

*****

UND recruit Trevor Olson will play for Sioux City until he has surgery for a lower-body injury on Nov. 13. Olson is making sure that he makes the most of his limited time this season. He had two goals, one assist for the Musketeers on Saturday night.

12 thoughts on “NCHC stumbles in nonconference

  1. The Big Ten record is about the same. Omaha sure hasn’t helped themselves or the league in the past years in non-conference play. The AHA record is absolutely terrible.

  2. If any one thought UNO was going to be good they were delusional. Would have been better adding Bemidji instead. If Blais wasn’t at UNO they never would have been admitted to the conference.

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