There’s only one conference series this weekend, as Denver visits Minnesota-Duluth in the league openers for both teams… but every other NCHC team (except reigning CHN Team of the Week Nebraska-Omaha) is in action in nonconference competition.
DENVER AT MINNESOTA-DULUTH
The reigning NCHC tournament champ Pioneers visit Duluth after a weekend that saw Jim Montgomery’s crew outscore Rensselaer 7-1 in a weekend sweep. The story out of Magness Arena a week ago was the play of Zac Larazza and Quentin Shore, who combined for four goals while playing on a line with highly-touted rookie left-wing Danton Heinen. The trio led the offense, while the Pioneers enjoyed strong goaltending from Evan Cowley, who picked up both wins. On Saturday, he replaced an injured Tanner Jaillet just 2:20 into the Jaillet’s first career start. Cowley and Jaillet will likely split this weekend’s games.
Meanwhile, UMD has seen an inconsistent start to its season, with a pair of Friday night losses coupled with a pair of Saturday night wins. Last weekend, the Bulldogs beat Minnesota State 6-2 a night after falling to the WCHA’s Mavericks in overtime. The player to watch: sophomore Dominic Toninato. The Duluth native scored seven goals last year as a freshman … and already has five this season. The Bulldogs offense has been rolling and will face a tough test against a seasoned and responsible defensive unit in Denver.
Prediction: Denver wins Friday, Duluth wins Saturday