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NCHC Week 5 Round-Up: Stars, Highlights, and Thoughts

Three stars of the week, highlights you should probably know about, and my thoughts before we head into this weekend's action.

Colorado College vs Minnesota | 2013 WCHA Final Five
Colorado College vs Minnesota | 2013 WCHA Final Five
Matt Christians

With mainly conference games taking place, the only non-conference series was held at Western Michigan who hosted Northern Michigan, finishing without a win against the Wildcats. Denver came pretty close to sweeping Colorado College, but other than the series in Colorado, the NCHC was full of splits.

With that being said, it's hard to go streaking... but Colorado College is struggling, as they haven't found a win in the last 7 games.

Weekend Scoreboard

Home Away Friday Saturday Sunday Notes
Colorado College Denver 1-1 OT (DU in SO 2-0) 2-1 DU - home-home
St. Cloud State Miami 2-0 MU 2-1 SCSU - -
Nebraska Omaha North Dakota - 4-2 UNO 3-2 UND -
Western Michigan Northern Michigan (WCHA) - 5-4 NMU 2-2 OT NC

Three Stars

Kyle Novak - F - Western Michigan

Despite falling to Northern Michigan, Novak tallied two goals and an assist on Friday's 5-4 loss. The freshman's goals came in the first period, while his assist came later in the final period, which gave the Broncos a strong a chance to win the game. The 5-11 forward from Missouri has 4 points on the year, as he entered the game with a single goal (OT winner against Colorado College).

Matt Joyaux - D - Miami

Joyaux tallied the game winning goal on Friday against the St. Cloud State Huskies, but that isn't the only reason he's a top star. The freshman stands at only 5-7, but played neither like a freshman or a guy his size. As a member of an incredibly talented defensive core, Joyaux and the Redhawk blue-liners did a fabulous job at keeping pucks from getting to netminder Ryan McKay by blocking shots and pushing developing plays to the boards.

Sam Brittain - G - Denver

The Florida Panthers prospect played 124:44 minutes against Colorado College, while allowing just two goals on 67 shots. Most impressively, he denied both of the Tiger's shootout chances and gave the Pioneers the extra point in conference play. Brittain stands with a superb 1.64 GAA and a .945 save percentage in 9 games between the pipes for the Pioneers.

Highlights & Thoughts

The wheels are spinning, but the Colorado College Tigers are stuck in the mud. With a record of 1-6-1, it marks the worst 8-game start for the Tigers in the last decade and only the third time in the last 11 years the Tigers have gone this far into the season with a losing record (2006-07 & 2010-11: 3-4-1). Having one of the worst winning percentages isn't the only bad statistic for Colorado College, as the Tigers have the second-worst scoring offense (1.25) and the worst power play percentage at 5.26% in the nation. Although last week gave CC a little more momentum by pushing Denver into an overtime shootout, it's clear there is plenty left to be worked on in Colorado Springs.

Power play blues have struck more than one team in the NCHC thus far this season. Combined, Colorado College (5.1%), Minnesota Duluth (10.5%), and St. Cloud State (11.5%) still wouldn't reach NCHC's man-advantage leader, Denver, with an outstanding 30.4%.

After starting 2-4-0 in their first six games, I'm hesitantly starting to believe Nebraska Omaha is beginning to make things click. At first it was a question of "Is North Dakota really that bad?", but how can one draw that conclusion so easily... Of course they're not "bad"... First off, this is college hockey, and secondly, everyone hits a bump in the road. The Mavericks are making strides in the right direction, although hosting some of the best college hockey teams in the next two weeks may make that statement difficult to observe.

After last week's series against the infamous "bye", Minnesota Duluth will resume their away-game stretch by heading to Grand Forks to play North Dakota and then to Minneapolis to take on the #1 ranked Minnesota Gophers. Back to back weekends against difficult opponents won't be an easy task for Scott Sandelin's team, but they've proved to be a contender weekend after weekend behind their NCHC leading 1.88 scoring defense. If the Bulldogs can come back to Duluth with 2 wins, they would deserve a successful road trip nod.

NCHC Standings

Team GP Wins Losses Ties Points
Nebraska Omaha 4 3 1 0 9
St. Cloud State 4 3 1 0 9
Miami 4 2 2 0 6
North Dakota 6 2 4 0 6
Western Michigan 2 2 0 0 6
Denver 4 1 2 1 5
Colorado College 6 1 4 1 4
Minnesota Duluth 2 1 1 0 3

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Matt Christians covers Minnesota Duluth and the NCHC for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also give him a follow here ->