GRAND FORKS -- Jordan Kawaguchi has piled up a bunch of impressive numbers in the first three months of the season.

The University of North Dakota junior forward is the third-leading scorer in the nation with 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in 21 games, while leading UND to a 17-2-2 record through 21 games.

But a deeper dive into his numbers reveal something even more impressive.

Of Kawaguchi's 20 assists, 18 of them are primary assists. He has just two second assists all season -- and both came in October. The last 24 points he's tallied (nine goals, 15 assists) have all been primary.

For the season, Kawaguchi has 28 primary points, which ties Providence forward Tyce Thompson for the national lead.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

Because of his big start, UND announced Thursday it has nominated Kawaguchi for the Hobey Baker Award, making him eligible for fan voting. The move isn't a significant one -- you don't actually have to be nominated to win the award. But it is symbolic in this sense: UND didn't bother to nominate anyone the last two years.

In addition to his offense, Kawaguchi also has been responsible defensively. He ranks fourth nationally in plus-minus with a plus-18 rating. One of the three players ahead of him is his linemate, Collin Adams (plus-21).

Kawaguchi enters this weekend's series at Miami (5:30 p.m. Friday, 6:05 p.m. Saturday) on a five-game point streak and with points in nine of the last 10 games. Kawaguchi leads the country with five game-winning goals and 10 game-winning points.

Poolman out for weekend

UND will be without its captain this weekend.

Senior defenseman Colton Poolman did not make the trip to Oxford, Ohio.

It will mark just the fourth and fifth games Poolman has missed in his four-year career. He missed one other game earlier this season -- the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game against Michigan Tech in Ralph Engelstad Arena. UND won 3-1 with an empty-net goal.

Poolman suffered an apparent upper-body injury Saturday against Omaha late in the second period. He did not return for the third as the Fighting Hawks grabbed a series split with a 4-1 win.

Poolman, who skated in Grand Forks this week, has two goals and 11 points in 20 games this season.

Poolman's regular defensive partner, sophomore Jacob Bernard-Docker, did make the trip to Oxford.

Bernard-Docker was held out of last Saturday's game against Omaha after sustaining an injury on a knee-to-knee collision with Omaha forward Nolan Sullivan. Bernard-Docker returned to practice Wednesday.

UND also will be without senior forward Zach Yon, who sustained an injury in practice last week.

Fast starts key to UND success

UND has given up a goal on the first shift of the weekend in its last two series.

First, it happened against Alabama Huntsville just 18 seconds into the weekend. It happened once again last weekend against Omaha just 49 seconds into Friday night's game. On Saturday night, UND gave up a 2-on-0 rush to Omaha on the first shift, but goalie Adam Scheel made a save.

Those poor starts irked UND coach Brad Berry, whose team has been used to dominating first periods this season.

"A thing we have to shore up is the first minute or two of the periods, giving a team a Grade-A opportunity," Berry said. "It's one thing to give up a shot on net early on in the game, but to give up a quality opportunity to put you on your heels is something we have to make sure we get better at as a group."

As a whole, the Fighting Hawks have been the best first-period team in the country.

UND is plus-18 goals in the first period (30 goals for, 12 against). The next closest team in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference is Minnesota Duluth, which is plus-3 in first periods this season.

"I think it's just kind of a mindset, making sure you play in the offensive zone in the first five minutes," UND forward Jackson Keane said. "It's a big part of momentum. It's a part of building confidence in the game, I think. If you start in your own zone, it kind of puts a damper on your confidence. So, it's important to get a good start, obviously."

NCHC first-period goal differential

+18 -- North Dakota

+3 -- Minnesota Duluth

+2 -- Colorado College

+1 -- Miami

E -- Omaha

E -- Western Michigan

-2 -- St. Cloud State

-6 -- Denver

Best first-period goal differential in college hockey

+18 -- North Dakota

+18 -- Sacred Heart

+15 -- Providence

+13 -- MSU-Mankato

+13 -- Boston College

+13 -- Harvard

+12 -- Penn State