The first weekend of the NCHC was largely a pretty successful one. All eight of the league's teams were at home on Saturday, and the league used all that home ice advantage to skate to an impressive 8-3-3 record on the weekend.
Here are a few things we learned about the NCHC in the first weekend of the season.
1. Miami is Gong to Be Tough to Top
Miami's sweep over Ohio State in itself wasn't all that surprising. But the fashion in which Miami dominated the Buckeyes was certainly impressive. While other top contenders in the league like North Dakota and St. Cloud sputtered to ties against weaker opponents on Saturday night, Miami never looked seriously threatened.
2. Denver Isn't Going Away Just Yet
After George Gwozdecky was fired, and the Pioneers suffered a number of departures to the pro ranks, some thought Denver might take a step back this year. But they showed no signs of weakness last weekend with a pair of shutouts against Merrimack. Perhaps the most positive sign in the wins was Sam Brittain returning to pre-knee injury form and looking spectacular all weekend.
There are still some question marks up front. Pioneer forwards only contributed one goal last weekend, but if Brittain continues playing at that level, he may be able to smooth over a lot of those issues.
3. Nobody Knows Much About Colorado College
Colorado College is the only team to have not played an official game yet, and they're still largely a mystery. Most expected the Tigers to be among the bottom of the league, but their two exhibition results actually look pretty strong. There haven't been any clues as to which way they're leaning in goal, either, with all three of their goalies seeing action in both games. The offense has been good, but it looks like Alex Krushelnyski has moved around the lineup a little bit, and whoever he's playing with ends up being the beneficiary.
We should get some more answers this weekend when the Tigers open up NCHC play in what could be a pretty important early season series against Minnesota-Duluth.
4. Rough Starts for Western Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha
Offense was expected to be a problem for Western Michigan this season, but failing to score a goal in their first two games is an ugly start to the season. Notre Dame may have figured out the recipe--and more importantly had the personnel to implement the strategy--to shutting down Western Michigan by keeping extremely close tabs on Chase Balisy and taking their chances with the rest of the Broncos.
Meanwhile, Nebraska-Omaha looked like a mess last weekend, barely salvaging a weekend split against Bentley on Saturday. Bentley is a better team than their reputation would suggest, but still probably somebody UNO should be able to beat at home if they're going to be serious contenders in the NCHC this year.