As October came, the UNO hockey team began preparing for its first season of WCHA hockey. Becoming the newest member of a storied conference with a record of 36 national championships and over 90 current NHL players left most to assume that for the Mavs, the 2010-11 season would be an uphill battle.
Almost five months ago, the college hockey powers that be pegged UNO to finish eighth and ninth in two preseason conference polls. Few, if any, thought the Mavs could do better than average during their first season in the ultra-competitive WCHA.
As one would expect, much of the UNO hockey roster is compromised of athletes from traditional hockey regions. Four members are from Canada, five hail from Minnesota and a total of three from both Wisconsin and North Dakota.
Any defender worth his own salt can block shots, clear pucks, protect his goalie and throw a hit with the best of them. However, much of a team's offensive success depends on the vision and play-making ability of a skillful defenseman.
Saturday wins have been few are far between for the UNO hockey team. Since their 3-1 win over Michigan Tech on Dec. 10, UNO hadn't won a Saturday game or the second game of a series in almost two months.
For college hockey teams the magic number for success is 20 wins. Achieving that goal qualifies a team for the NCAA tournament and puts you in good standing within your conference, while often earning you a spot in the top-15 rankings.
After the first 12 games of the season, UNO hockey led the nation in scoring at 4.17 goals per game, resulting in a 9-2-1 record. Since then, scoring has been hard to come by.