It's the unofficial halfway point in men's college hockey so we wanted to check in and see who has the best penalty kill in the nation.
So far it's Minnesota Duluth, the only team that has a percentage above 90%. Here is a look at the Bulldogs and the other NCAA men's hockey teams who can get it done when they are a skater down:
*Stats through Dec. 20, 2018
1. Minnesota Duluth (NCHC)
The Bulldogs have killed off 92.1% of opposing teams’ power plays. That’s a pretty impressive number; the best NHL teams right now rank in the high 80’s for penalty kill percentage. Minnesota Duluth has only allowed five power-play goals from opponents this season, otherwise killing 88 penalties, and running down the clock for 231 minutes on the penalty kill. It helps that the Bulldogs have one of the best scoring defenses in college hockey, tied for fourth, allowing an average of just 1.88 goals per game. Starting goaltender Hunter Shepard has been strong with a .921 save percentage.
2. St. Cloud State (NCHC)
Currently the top-ranked team in the nation, St. Cloud State has a .897 kill percentage. The Huskies have allowed only 6 goals on 58 power play opportunities. St. Cloud State has worked its way through 72 penalties this season, totaling 169 minutes on the kill which averages out to about 10.6 minutes per game. Huskies starting goalie David Hrenak has made 228 saves this season, and backup Jeff Smith hasn’t let in one power play goal all season.
3. Air Force (Atlantic Hockey)
Third on our list is Atlantic Hockey competitor Air Force. The Falcons have allowed just seven goals on 66 power-play opportunities, giving the team an 89.4% success rate on the penalty kill. Air Force has been penalized for 72 penalties - all of them minors. Goaltender Billy Christopoulos has allowed 27 goals in almost 702 minutes of playing time.
4. Vermont (Hockey East)
Vermont sits just below Air Force (.0003 behind) in the top five. Although the Cats find themselves with a 5-8-1 record, the team still boasts one of the best penalty kills in the country, stopping 89.4% of opponents attempts with the man advantage. This means Vermont has allowed just five power-play goals from opponents through 47 opportunities. On top of that, Vermont has two short-handed goals this season. Both goals came in a 5-3 win over Dartmouth on Nov. 24th when Joey Cipollone notched one over the shoulder of Dartmouth’s netminder and Jake Massie tucked in a rebound.
RELATED: Complete college hockey stats
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5. Quinnipiac (ECAC)
The fifth-ranked team in the nation, Quinnipiac also comes in at number five for its penalty kill. The Bobcats are 14-3 and have a .889 penalty-kill percentage. Quinnipiac has thwarted 56 attempts from opponents, allowing only 7 power play goals on 63 opportunities. The team has killed 198 minutes of penalty action, roughly 11.6 minutes per game.
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Here are the top five teams, in chart form:
|Rank||Team||Opp. PPG||opp. PP att.||Pct.|
|2||St. Cloud State||6||58||.897|
And the next five:
|rank||team||opp. ppg||opp. pp att.||pct.|
*Teams are ranked based on Penalty Killing Percentage, which is calculated by subtracting power play goals against from power play opportunities against, then dividing by power play opportunities against.
Callan Sheridan is a graduate of Saint Peter's University and has produced content for The Press Enterprise, the American Junior Golf Association and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Follow her on twitter at @calsh_13.