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UND back at No. 1 in hockey rankings after holiday wins

GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota men's hockey team is back atop the national rankings.North Dakota regained the No. 1 spot back from Providence after the Fighting Hawks swept Alabama Huntsville in a two-game series, while the Friars ...

GRAND FORKS - The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team is back atop the national rankings.
North Dakota regained the No. 1 spot back from Providence after the Fighting Hawks swept Alabama Huntsville in a two-game series, while the Friars fell twice in overtime during the holiday season.
UND has spent four weeks at No. 1 this season, last holding the distinction on Nov. 2.
Since that time, defending national champion Providence has been in the top spot.
The Fighting Hawks are off to a fast start this season, posting an 18-2-2 record. Their only losses have come at home to Wisconsin and at St. Cloud State. They haven’t lost a game since Nov. 21 against the Huskies. Since that time, UND has reeled off eight consecutive victories.
Goalie Cam Johnson has started all eight of those games, allowing just four goals as he moved into the national lead in goals-against average (1.07), save percentage (.957) and winning percentage (.950).
UND takes on the U.S. Under-18 team Saturday night in an exhibition game at 6:07 p.m.
UND coach Brad Berry confirmed U.S. World Junior Championship team members Nick Schmaltz and Brock Boeser will not play in Saturday’s exhibition, giving them rest after playing in the worldwide event.
The Fighting Hawks get back into regular-season action Jan. 15-16 against No. 6 Nebraska Omaha in Ralph Engelstad Arena. The Mavericks are one of many top-end teams in college hockey this season.
Although there has only been one college hockey team in the last seven seasons that has finished the season with an .800-plus winning percentage (Union’s national championship season of 2014), there are several teams that could threaten that mark.
Currently, five teams have a winning percentage that is better than .800 - Quinnipiac, UND, Providence, Harvard and St. Cloud State.
Johnson’s run ends
For the first time in his career, Cam Johnson is not the National Collegiate Hockey Conference goalie of the week after playing a full weekend. Johnson previously was four-for-four in such honors.
Instead, the honor went to Western Michigan’s Lukas Hafner, who posted a shutout in his only action over Christmas break.
Johnson allowed just one goal in 34 shots over the weekend. The goal came as an attempted pass went off of the stick of UND defenseman Keaton Thompson and between Johnson’s legs.
That goal ended the second-longest scoreless streak in college hockey history - and the longest in 22 years - at 298:25.

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