ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The top-ranked University of North Dakota (14-2-2-2 NCHC, 23-3-3 overall) men's hockey team has led the NCHC regular season race since the opening weekend and has a commanding eight-point lead over Minnesota Duluth in the battle for the Penrose Cup.

St. Cloud State (8-9-1-0, 11-12-5), the two-time defending Penrose Cup champion, started NCHC play with four straight losses, but has clawed its way back within three points of fourth place. The top four teams in the conference will play host to a best-of-three playoff series after the regular season.

The Fighting Hawks swept a series against St. Cloud State (4-2 and 2-1 in overtime) on Nov. 22-23 at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.

Follow Game 1 of the series live here.

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