By Compiled by Nate Tenopir, Sports Editor
Brock Montpetit, the Mavs’ third leading scorer, was conspicuously absent from the lineup Saturday night. Asked after the game, Blais said that Montpetit was out because of an injury and wasn’t sure about his status for next weekend’s matchup at Wisconsin.
John Faulkner hasn’t had back-to-back games with only one goal given up since Dec. of 2009 against Minnesota St. With just 40 shots coming from Anchorage all weekend, Faulkner didn’t need to be great. Yet when he was needed he showed good positioning and kept the Seawolves off the board long enough for his offense to come around in the third period.
The Maverick powerplay is at a dismal 12.5% for the season, scoring just three times on 24 chances. Sometimes it’s not about how much you score so much as it is when you score. That was true Saturday night when a power play at the 6:38 mark of the third period gave UNO a chance to get some cushion on their 2-1 lead. Again the Mavs failed to convert. Such bad numbers will eventually cost UNO as league play heats up. “Stats are one thing but that’s a stat that’s really true,” Blais said. “We didn’t move the puck as well as we should have.”
A key to the Mavs getting off to 8-1-1 start and a #4 ranking early last season was the play of the new freshman class. In the first six games of 2010, the freshmen contributed 23 points. So far this year, the newcomers have only added six points to the stat sheet. Is that part of the reason UNO is just 3-3? Was the trip to Alaska too much for a team that is made up of 19 first or second year players? We’ll find out more next weekend when the Mavs go to the always rowdy Kohl Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin.
Getting all four points against Alaska-Anchorage was hugely important to the psyche of the team. As bad as UNO played in Alaska last weekend, it was critical to get some good feelings at home, before going back out on the road to Wisconsin. The Mavs are now one of just four WCHA teams with a perfect 2-0 conference record. No doubt the Badgers will be looking for revenge after being swept away last year in Omaha. Wisconsin never really recovered, going 2-6-1 after both losses to UNO. “We’ve got a team right now that believes in themselves after three losses,” Blais said. “It’s tough not to get the guys to believe in themselves, but confidence is a big part of it and I think our guys are going to Wisconsin with a good attitude.”