Trivia question: Of the 59 college hockey teams, how many of them have finished in the top half of their league’s standings (or home-ice position as we call it in the West) for each of the last five seasons?
Answer: Only six.
In another stat the shows the remarkable parity in college hockey these days, only six teams have had top-half finishes for each of the last five years, and two of those streaks are guaranteed to end this season.
Most consecutive top-half finishes
1. North Dakota – 11 (clinched 12th straight)
2. Denver – 10
3. Boston University – 9
4. Miami – 8
5. Air Force – 7 (clinched 8th straight)
6. Yale – 6
Boston University and Miami will both see their streaks end. Neither can finish in the top half. Denver, currently in the bottom half, could see its streak go by the wayside, too.
Boston College, Ferris State and Union all will reach their fifth straight top-half finish this season.
UND officially extended its home-ice streak to a nation-leading 12 years in a row thanks to a 6-2 win over Minnesota Duluth on Saturday night. Come March, UND’s streak of top-half finishes will double every other team in the country outside of Air Force and maybe Denver and Yale.
Must be nice for UND/The Ralph to be able to budget to have that every year.
Anyway, UND clinched home ice with an impressive performance in front of a record AmsOil Arena crowd. Game stories:
- UND climbed to No. 10 in the Pairwise Rankings after the weekend sweep of the Bulldogs. That’s exactly where Jim Dahl’s weekly Pairwise forecast pegged UND if it swept.
- Since the 0-for-10 power play performance against Omaha, UND has scored a power-play goal in four straight games, going 7 for 21 (33.3 percent).
- Goalie Zane Gothberg is 11-0-1 in his last 12 starts. The last time he lost a start was Nov. 9 at Nebraska Omaha.
- Paul LaDue is +11 in the last six games. He has been outstanding on both ends of the rink for UND.
- In the first eight games after Christmas, UND’s Rocco Grimaldi tallied five points (0.63 ppg). Since being put on a line with Stephane Pattyn, Grimaldi has seven points in four games (1.75 ppg). His production has more than doubled.
- Grimaldi led the team with six shots on goal on Saturday. And he led the team in the physicality department, too, throwing two huge hits including a hip check that upended a Bulldog player.
- Mitch MacMillan, somewhat surprisingly, went back into the lineup this weekend. He finished his weekend with a two-point (1 goal, 1 assist), +3 night. Mitch had 1 point in 11 games this season and hadn’t played since Dec. 7. The coaches must have seen something in practice.
- UND’s top faceoff guys had another nice night. Mark MacMillan went 16-8. Grimaldi went 14-9.
- UND has the most productive D-corps in the nation, averaging 2.93 points per game. New Hampshire’s is second at 2.74 points per game. UND’s D had seven points on Saturday and 10 points for the weekend. It has 18 points in the last three games.
- Very strong showing from UND fans on Saturday night in AmsOil.
- The team that couldn’t do anything easy early in the season suddenly has been on cruise control in the third period during the last three games with big leads.