All-division preview: St. Cloud State, Denver set to meet in key NCHC clash
The muddled mess at the top of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference could become a bit clearer this weekend after No. 6 St. Cloud State hosts No. 15 Denver for a two-game series. The Huskies currently lead the conference with 26 points while the Pioneers are in the middle of a three-way tie for second with 24.
Denver leads the all-time series against St. Cloud State 41-37-4 but is 1-5 in the previous five road meetings against the Huskies. The Pioneers last posted a victory at the National Hockey Center on Dec. 16, 2001 by a 3-2 margin in overtime.
St. Cloud State has posted a mark of 2-4-1 during its past seven games beginning with a 5-2 loss at Denver on Jan. 11. The Huskies opened the season 12-2-3 prior to that loss.
Denver has posted a mark of 10-3-5 since Nov. 8 -- after opening the season 3-5 in the first eight games. During the recent 18-game run, Denver has outscored its opponents 49-38 and has not dropped consecutive games. Freshman Trevor Moore paces the offense with 16 points (10 goals, six assists) during the stretch, while senior Sam Brittain has started every game while compiling a .936 save percentage and a 2.01 goals-against average.
The Pioneers are 4-3-1 this season versus ranked opponents and has outscored those opponents 21-19 coming into Friday's game.
This Huskies are led on offense by Jonny Brodzinski, who has 14 goals and 12 assists this season. Kalle Kossila and Nic Dowd each have added 12 goals to support Brodzinski. SCSU goalie Ryan Faragher owns a 13-5-3 record this season, which places him 10th in the nation with a winning percentage of 69.0 percent.
Boston College has not lost to Merrimack since Oct. 31, 1997 -- a span of 27 games. ... Quinnipiac is currently one of two teams whose defense has accumulated 70 or more points. ... For the first time in the teams' histories, Michigan and Penn State will square off. ... Massachusetts-Lowell sophomore goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is first in the nation with a 1.76 goals-against average.
Norwich suffered a weekend sweep last weekend for the first time since the 2006-07 season. ... Babson sophomore goaltender Jamie Murray became the sixth Beaver in program history to be named a semifinalist for the Joe Concannon Award. ... Last Friday marked the sixth time in St. Norbert history that the Green Knights had five power-play goals in a game. ... Wisconsin-Stevens Point is the top scoring team among all divisions, averaging 5.21 goals a game. ... St. Thomas (Minn.) is 11-0 in games when Tyler Gubb has scored a goal during his 31-game UST career.