Each team in the NCHC has four games to play, but it may very well be next weekend’s St. Cloud State / North Dakota series in St. Cloud that determines the first NCHC regular season champion.
|1||St. Cloud State||20||12-5-3||39||71-53||30||18-7-5||109-80|
We learned this past weekend that even the teams that have struggled for much of the season — namely, Miami and Colorado College — can’t be taken lightly. On Friday night, the RedHawks toppled St. Cloud, energized by the return of Blake Coleman, who scored two goals in his first game since December 6. More importantly, Miami survived the first several minutes without allowing a goal and enjoyed steady goaltending from Jay Williams for the first time in a while. Colorado College, meanwhile, is suddenly 4-2-2 in its last eight games, including a three game win-streak after sweeping archrival Denver thanks to goals over the weekend from six different goal-scorers.
North Dakota swept Minnesota-Duluth, dropping the Bulldogs to sixth place in the standings, and Dave Hakstol’s team — as they often do this time of year — is peaking, and may just be the favorite to finish the season in first place. Again, though, if St. Cloud or North Dakota has to play Miami or Colorado College in the first round of the playoffs, we saw this weekend that neither will be an easy task.
This week on CHN look for a feature about the St. Cloud/North Dakota showdown, and we’ll also look into Nebraska-Omaha’s roller-coaster February.