Mavs split home series with North Dakota, win on Homecoming night
Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Updated: Thursday, January 16, 2014 14:01
With a goal from Tanner Lane halfway through the third period and 28 saves from goalie Ryan Massa, University of Nebraska at Omaha went ahead 3-2 and later 4-2 on an empty net score to defeat 11th ranked North Dakota on homecoming night.
“Tough game, good one to win. It had the making of a 3-2 game again. It appears that’s the magic number in this league, first one to three wins,” said Head Coach Dean Blais, following the game Saturday.
The Mavs came out to a hot start scoring within the first three minutes on a goal from James Polk. UNO was whistled for only one penalty in the first period, Archibald for 5:00 charging call. The Mavs killed the penalty before N.D. was whistled for their own to even the strength.
“It was a hard fought game, good up and down well refereed game,” Blais said. “So intense and their bench was the same way, at times one little hook and one little slash it’s easy to come unglued. You can’t come unglued as a team, there was [intensity] all the way through the 60 minute game.”
The second period was a different story. Although Zombo connected with an odd-angled shot from the corner to put the Mavs up 2-0. UND scored on a 3-4 power play advantage and a breakaway goal by UND’s Jordan Schmaltz, who scored top shelf to make tied at 2-2 entering the 3rd.
“We talked about that in-between periods,. We said we have to go out, play a smart 3rd period, no undisciplined penalties, Blais said. “Get it in, get it out, keep the game simple, don’t get frustrated.”
UNO held strong in the third and battled until Lane scored from a blind pass feed inside from Ryan Walters after Walters took it behind the net to set him up.
“Especially when they took the momentum from us, and it’s 2-2, everybody’s on their heels and anything can happen.” Walters said. “It seemed like we were going back and forth so when we popped that third one in I know that their guys on the bench were pretty jacked up about it. We had some confidence, and I think that helped us seal the deal tonight.”
On Sunday, it didn’t quite swing the Mavs’ direction. Kirk Thompson got the start at goal for the Mavs and faced an early deficit when USD scored two minutes into the game.
From then on, UNO battled to tie the game at 1-1 on power play goal from Ian Brady towards the end of the first period.
UND then scored twice before UNO responded with a goal at the end of the second period by Josh Archibald to come back within one.
In the third, the two sides went back-and-forth, yet neither team managed to score, with the game ending in UND’s favor 3-2. UNO did score on a shot that was later waived off because a whistle had blown, which was followed by a huge scrum between both teams.
UNO now sits at 3-1 in the conference, tied for the league leader in points with nine, shared with St. Cloud State.
Despite falling to UND, a 1-1 split with a nationally ranked team is nothing to feel down about.
“Whether we’re 0-3 or 3-0 we come to work every day Monday-Thursday. Guys aren’t taking short cuts. We’re taking care of our bodies and paying attention to detail,” Massa said. “When you pay attention to those details, you find yourself in successful positions.”
UNO will move on to face number two ranked Michigan this weekend at home in another perennial matchup at home. Despite beating Denver twice on the road and getting a good win against UND, coach Blais sees the same team on the ice that’s been there since game one.
“We’ve played pretty much the same, I mean that from the time we played the exhibition game. We haven’t changed a whole lot.” Blais said. “We’re in better shape, obviously change a few things to improve on, but hopefully everything’s coming together.”