NCHC Hockey: North Dakota and Omaha Lead the Way

After three weekends of play, the University of North Dakota and the University of Nebraska-Omaha are still unbeaten and off to great starts. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding both programs and rightfully so.

At the present time, UND and UNO are the only unbeaten teams left in the National Collegiate Hockey. This weekend, both teams begin their season-opening conference schedule.

While both teams have gotten off to great starts, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, no one has ever won an NCAA title in October, November and December.  Moreover, there’s no trophy for the best record in the aforementioned months.

Good teams are expected to win a majority of the games on their schedule. Before we get too excited about either teams’ start, let’s take a look at their numbers. You will see, for the most part, that both teams are mirror images of each other.

UND forward Drake Caggiula (Eric Classen / UND Athletics)
UND forward Drake Caggiula (Eric Classen / UND Athletics)

Breaking Down UND’s and UNO’s Numbers

The UNO Mavericks have gotten off to a fast 6-0-0 start by beating Minnesota State, Vermont and Air Force Academy. At the present time, none of those three teams have a winning record and have a combined record 5-12-1 (.305). The Mavericks have outscored those three opponents 20-9.

For the fans that are interested in fancy stats, UNO’s current Corsi number is 43.6. UNO fans should be semi-concerned with that number. The Mavericks Corsi number is near the bottom of Division I hockey. The Mavericks will need to improve on their possession numbers if they want to continue to be successful on the ice.

Leading the way on the score sheet for the Mavericks are junior forwards Austin Ortega (7g-2—9pts) and Jake Guentzel (2g-7a—9pts). Ortega is closing in on the NCAA record for game-winning goals.  (College Hockey News Stats)

UND has enjoyed a quick start as well going 4-0-2, beating Lake State, Bemidji and Vermont (x2). They have ties against Maine and Bemidji. Those four teams have a combined record of 5-13-4 (.318). Just like UNO’s opponents, none of those teams have a winning record and none of them made the NCAA tourney last year.   UND has outscored their opponents 22-11. UND’s current Corsi number is 61.5. That’s fifth overall in Division I hockey.

Leading the points race for UND is senior forward Drake Caggiula (2g-6a—8pts). Senior forward Bryn Chyzyk (5g-1a—6pts), junior defenseman Troy Stecher (2g-4a—6pts) and freshman forward Brock Boeser (4g-2a—6pts) are right behind Caggiula in second place . (College Hockey News Stats)

UND and UNO, Mirror Images of Each Other

Like I mentioned earlier, UND and UNO are mirror images of each other. Both teams are tied for sixth nationally in scoring margin (1.83). Offensively, UND and Omaha are again, very similar, UND is ranked 14th (3.67 G/PG) and UNO is ranked 17th (3.33 G/PG). Defensively, UNO is fifth (1.53 GA/PG) and UND is tied for seventh (1.83 GA/PG).

In the special teams department; UND’s power play is ranked 21st nationally (5/25, 20.0%). UNO’s power play isn’t quite as good, the Mavericks are ranked 44th nationally (2/21, 9.6%). On the penalty Kill, UNO is ranked 13th nationally (23/26. 88.5%). UND has struggled early on the penalty kill and is ranked 48th nationally (13/18, 72.2%).  (College Hockey Stats Net)

Again, it’s very early in the season. Both teams have a brutal conference schedule in front of them. Both teams have areas of concern that will need to be addressed. That being said, it should keep fans of both teams from being excited about their prospects this season.