The First Two Seasons Of The NCHC: Who’s On Top?

St. Cloud State won the inaugural season of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, with North Dakota hoisting the Penrose Cup this year. But beyond that, which teams are making their mark as frontrunners in the NCHC and which programs are quickly headed in the wrong direction?

For comparison’s sake, I have the teams ranked in order of their average league finish (2013-14 and 2014-15). There was one tie (Denver finished 6th and 4th over the past two seasons; Miami, 8th and 2nd), and I settled that by looking at the combined conference record for both schools.

Season and combined records are for conference games only.

Team 2014-15 record 2014-15 finish 2013-14 record 2013-14 finish Combined record Average finish
North Dakota 16-6-2-0 1st 15-9-0-0 2nd 31-15-2-0 1.5
Nebraska-Omaha 12-8-4-3 3rd 13-9-2-1 3rd 25-17-6-4 3.0
St. Cloud State 11-12-1-0 6th 15-6-3-0 1st 26-18-4-0 3.5
Minnesota-Duluth 12-9-3-0 5th 11-11-2-2 4th 23-20-5-2 4.5
University of Denver 13-10-1-1 4th 10-11-3-2 6th 23-21-4-3 5.0
Miami University 14-9-1-1 2nd 6-17-1-1 8th 20-26-2-2 5.0
Western Michigan 6-13-5-4 7th 11-11-2-2 5th 17-24-7-6 6.0
Colorado College 2-19-3-1 8th 6-13-5-1 7th 8-32-8-2 7.5

What stands out to you? Who are North Dakota’s biggest rivals, year in and year out? Which conference series do you most look forward to? And who do you expect to make the biggest jump next season?

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