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As UND piles up wins, the statistics are following

Jan. 30—GRAND FORKS — UND set a National Collegiate Hockey Conference record earlier this month.

It got lost in the shuffle because it occurred on the heels of a few overtime losses.

But when UND beat Omaha 3-1 on Jan. 13, it became the first team in NCHC history to earn at least a point in its first 10 league games of the season. The league was formed in 2013-14.

Since then, the Fighting Hawks have begun to blow the previous record away.

After grabbing 10 of a possible 12 points in series against St. Cloud State and Denver, the Fighting Hawks have extended their NCHC point streak to 14 games.

The previous record for longest point streak to start a season was nine, set by Denver in 2016-17. The Pioneers won the Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champions that season before going on to win the NCAA national title.

Three other teams had eight-game point streaks to start a season — 2019-20 UND, 2018-19 St. Cloud State and this year's St. Cloud State team.

The 2019-20 UND team won the Penrose Cup, but never got an opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament. The coronavirus pandemic wiped out the playoffs.

The 2018-19 St. Cloud State squad won the Penrose Cup before getting upset by American International in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

St. Cloud State's run this season ended with a loss at Denver earlier this month.

UND is the only team in the country that hasn't lost a conference game in regulation.

Quinnipiac has lost one in the ECAC. St. Cloud State and Michigan State (Big Ten) have lost two. Nine teams have three.

UND will look to extend its record streak this weekend with a two-game series at Miami University (6:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday).

Overall, UND's run is at 19 games without losing in regulation, two shy of the school record.

14* UND, 23-24 TBD

9 DU, 16-17 Penrose

8 UND, 19-20 Penrose

8 SCSU, 18-19 Penrose

8 SCSU, 23-24 TBD

*Active streak

Denver entered last weekend's series averaging 5.25 goals per game, by far the highest clip of any Division-I men's college hockey team in the last 20 seasons.

UND bottled up the Pioneers, though, holding them to two goals a night and limiting their chances.

Denver mustered just 41 shots on goal across the two-game series.

That was Denver's lowest total in a two-game series since the 2019 NCHC first-round playoff series against UND. The Fighting Hawks held the Pioneers to just 35 in that series, but only managed to get two pucks past Denver goalie Filip Larsson.

In the five seasons since then, Denver has struggled to generate shots and score goals in Grand Forks.

Since 2019-20, five of Denver's nine lowest shot totals in two-game series have occurred against UND in Grand Forks.

41 at NoDak (Jan. 2024)

44 at NoDak (Feb. 2021)

44 vs. UAF (Jan. 2023)

45 at NoDak (Nov. 2021)

47 at UAF (Oct. 2023)

50 at/vs. CC (Jan. 2021)

50 at SCSU (Jan. 2023)

52 at NoDak (Nov. 2022)

53 at NoDak (Feb. 2020)

In that span, UND is 9-2 against Denver in Grand Forks and has limited the Pioneers to just 1.82 goals per game.

It's a noticeable contrast to the games in Denver, where the Pioneers hold a 4-3-1 edge and are averaging 3.13 goals per game.

Why has UND bottled up Denver so well in Grand Forks?

Home teams have last line change in college hockey. That means after whistles, the visiting team has to put its players on the ice first. The home team can see who is out there and respond accordingly.

UND coach Brad Berry frequently matches lines in home games to get favorable matchups.

Against Denver, Berry has used physical and puck-possession players like Cole Smith, Mark Senden, Gavin Hain, Louis Jamernik V, Jake Schmaltz and Ben Strinden against the Pioneers' top offensive producers.

The results are apparent.

According to Eli Swanson of The Rink Live, the NCAA's leading scorer, junior Massimo Rizzo, is averaging 1.75 points per game against UND in Denver's Magness Arena during his college career. He's averaging 0.33 in Grand Forks.

Another big reason for UND's success last weekend was the penalty kill.

The Fighting Hawks held Denver scoreless on four power-play opportunities. The Pioneers had five shots on goal during the four advantages, all turned aside by goaltender Ludvig Persson.

The penalty-kill unit, run by associate coach Dane Jackson, went a perfect 9-for-9 during the regular season against Denver.

Thanks to four power-play goals by UND, the Fighting Hawks won the special teams battle 4-0 in the series.

Jackson Blake is working his way into contention to be a Hobey Baker Award finalist.

The award is largely statistical based and Blake is suddenly climbing into the upper echelon of college hockey in points.

The sophomore forward now has 16 goals and 34 points, ranking fifth nationally in scoring. He's only behind Rizzo (42), Denver's Jack Devine (40), Boston College's Gabe Perreault (36) and Western Michigan's Luke Grainger (35).

Boston College's Will Smith and Michigan's Rutger McGroarty are tied with Blake with 34 points.

Several UND players have notable statistical marks.

Here are a few:

* Cameron Berg, who played in his 100th game Saturday, set a new career high in points with 26. His previous high was 24.

* Owen McLaughlin notched his fifth three-point game of the season Saturday. He's already blown past his freshman totals of two goals and 15 points. He's at nine goals and 28 points.

* Defenseman Garrett Pyke has 13 points in his last 13 games. Defenseman Jake Livanavage has 14 points in his last 14 games.

* UND is blocking 13.23 shots per game, most of any NCHC team. UND has five of the top 11 players in blocked shots — Bennett Zmolek (first), Pyke (fourth), Abram Wiebe (fifth), Livanavage (seventh) and Logan Britt (11th).

* Zmolek is opening up a massive lead in most blocked shots in the NCHC. He's up to 55. No other player has more than 40. Zmolek also leads UND with a plus-12 rating.