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UND-Omaha series postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak

No official date has been set for a makeup series yet.

GaberPod.JPG
North Dakota defenseman Jake Sanderson (26) and forward Riese Gaber (17) celebrate Gaber's goal on Miami in the third period Wednesday, Dec. 2, at Baxter Arena in the NCHC Pod in Omaha. (Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com)
Tyler Schank

For the first time during the coronavirus pandemic, an outbreak among the UND men's hockey team will wipe out games.

This weekend's UND-Omaha series, which was scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Ralph Engelstad Arena, has been postponed due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases within the Fighting Hawks program.

No makeup date has been set yet.

After a relatively smooth first half of the season, the highly transmissible Omicron variant has been wreaking havoc with the second half.

Last weekend, two National Collegiate Hockey Conference series were postponed because of COVID-19 outbreaks. Minnesota Duluth had to postpone its series at St. Cloud State because of cases within the Bulldogs' program and Omaha had to postpone its series against Denver because of cases within the Mavericks' program.

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Omaha was scheduled to begin its trip to North Dakota on Wednesday, but it was called off.

UND's next series is scheduled for Jan. 21-22 at Western Michigan.

The NCHC will look to reschedule the UND-Omaha series, but it won't be easy.

Omaha's lone bye week scheduled in the second half has now been filled up with the rescheduled Denver series. The Mavericks are scheduled to play every weekend until the playoffs.

UND's lone off weekend is Feb. 11-12. The Mavericks are scheduled to play at Miami that weekend.

"Our policy is that we'll attempt to reschedule anything that has been postponed," NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton told the Herald earlier this week. "If, ultimately, we don't have the ability to make up games, we have the ability to render them 'no contest.'"

UND is currently leading the NCHC with 24 points — six ahead of second-place Western Michigan. The Fighting Hawks are searching for an unprecedented third-straight Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champions.

Last season, UND's COVID-19 outbreak happened in the early fall long before the team went to the NCHC Pod in December. It is believed that no UND players contracted COVID-19 during last season.

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The Fighting Hawks did have a couple of schedule changes due to COVID-19 outbreaks on other teams during the 2020-21 season.

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