By Nate Tenopir, Editor-in-Chief
Ten goals are the most UNO has allowed in a series this season since the Mavs went 0-1-1 at Denver in early January. In that series the Pioneers won 7-4 then the two teams tied the next night 3-3.
“We didn’t get a lot of bounces but give Wisconsin credit, they were a better team than us this weekend. They won a lot of puck battles. We had our chance last night and you never know, sometimes Friday night carries over to Saturday and puts a little more pressure on you. But I thought our guys didn’t quit. It’s not an easy game obviously when we get down like we did, but we’ll be a better team hopefully next weekend and in the playoffs.” -Head Coach Dean Blais
In Saturday’s 6-2 loss, UNO had an opportunity late in the first period and early into the second to break a 1-1 tie. Wisconsin’s Brendan Woods was whistled for checking from behind and given a game misconduct, disqualifying him from the rest of the game. The Mavs would have five minutes with the man advantage to score as many as they wanted. UNO got none and Wisconsin broke the tie with a goal by Ryan Little just 13 seconds after the five-minute major expired.
“They killed (penalties) really well tonight. The whole game I don’t think we played our hockey, just like last night. It wasn’t really our weekend. I don’t really have any excuses for us we just didn’t play well in all aspects of the game.” – Ryan Walters
Coming into the weekend UNO was sitting at second place in the WCHA standings, three points from first place and three points clear of sixth place, the final spot for home ice. After the sweep by Wisconsin the Mavs have dropped all the way to sixth, just one point ahead of Denver.
In the final weekend Denver hosts last place Alaska Anchorage at home while UNO goes on the road to Minnesota Duluth. It’s likely the Mavs will have to sweep the Bulldogs to earn home ice for the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
UNO’s one saving grace may be St. Cloud State is playing at fifth place Wisconsin for a chance to win the MacNaughton Cup.
“You want to have that (home ice) but you look at our road record, we’re pretty good on the road.” – Dean Blais
“We know down the stretch every game is important. We’re not hitting the panic button or anything. Before the game, before this weekend I thought we had a really good week of practice. I thought we executed pretty well I just don’t think it followed through to the games this weekend. [We need] another good week of practice and just finish out this regular season because ultimately we’re probably looking at home ice, if that’s what we want the most right now.” – team captain Brent Gwidt
The team was in a similar situation last year where it would have taken just one point in the last four games for UNO to secure home playoff ice. The Mavs had four straight home games, two against Minnesota and two against Denver. UNO dropped all four and was forced to travel to St. Cloud, getting swept in the first round. Last year ended with a six-game losing streak and the end of 2013 is becoming alarmingly similar.
“I don’t think that’s going through anybody’s head. We’re not looking at last year, comparing this year to last year. We have to turn around next weekend. It’s coming to playoff hockey and we’re not following in those same footsteps as we did. We got good leaders this year and we just had an off weekend. We’re gonna get back to it. I think our team knows what it takes to get home ice and I think we’re gonna accomplish that goal.” – Ryan Walters