By Nate Tenopir, Sports Editor
After failing to notch a victory in six chances against Bemidji St. last season, the UNO hockey team went to northern Minn. last weekend with an understanding of the challenge before them. Frustration Friday night gave way to a blowout Saturday night, and the Mavs snapped their seven-game winless streak against the Beavers.
On Friday, UNO gave up a 3-2 lead with just 59 seconds remaining in the game. Neither team could come up with a goal in the five-minute overtime period, and the Mavs had to skate away with a frustrating 3-3 tie.
Saturday, UNO exploded for three goals in the third period and emptied the Sanford Center early, dropping Bemidji St. 5-1. Though it may have started as another here-we- go-again series with Bemidji St., the Mavs were able to put Friday behind them and leave the weekend with three out of a possible four WCHA points.
UNO Captain Terry Broadhurst once again led the way, scoring three goals in the series. The freshmen class also came through in a big way.
Jayson Megna stayed hot, scoring a goal and adding three assists. Josh Archibald had a goal and two assists. Up to this point in the season, Jayson Megna and Archibald had been the only two freshmen to have recorded any points.
That all changed when Jayson’s brother Jaycob put the Mavs ahead 1-0 Saturday night. Jaycob Megna ripped a shot from the slot at the blue line to beat Beaver goaltender Dan Bakala for his first career collegiate goal.
Jaycob Megna’s marker at 12:59 of the first period was assisted by none other than brother Jayson. Junior Brent Gwidt, who has been coming on as of late, put in two assists on Friday, and then followed that performance with a goal on Saturday.
Ryan Massa got the start in goal Friday, stopping 22 of 25 shots and running his record to 1-2-1. Normal starter John Faulkner was between the pipes Saturday. Faulkner surrendered just the one goal on 20 shots and improved to 4-3 on the season.
UNO started the scoring in both games. Friday, Gwidt found Jayson Megna and Archibald up ice for a two-on-one opportunity. Megna put a pass across to Archibald who finished the play with his fourth goal of the year at 7:48 of the first period.
Bemidji St. tied it 1-1 with 4:09 left in the period, then took a 2-1 lead 45 seconds into the second. Broadhurst responded on the power play seven minutes later, and Jayson Megna’s goal with 2 seconds left sent UNO into the second intermission up 3-2.
With less than two minutes to go, the Beavers pulled goalie Bakala for the extra attacker. Mav defenseman Bryce Aneloski had the puck just past the center red line with an empty cage, but slid his chance just wide.
That miss loomed large when Bemidji St.’s Jordan George got a knuckler past Massa with under a minute to go. George came in the offensive zone on the right wing, held up and fired a shot that deflected into the UNO net.
After the game, Head Coach Dean Blais told the Omaha World Herald that although it was a lucky bounce, it could have been avoided.
“A bounce of the puck beat us,” Blais said. “It goes off a defenseman 30 feet from the net and the goaltender didn’t make the save. They scored because we were standing around in the neutral zone watching.”
Saturday, Bemidji’s hold over the Mavs came to an end; at least for the time being. Jaycob Megna’s goal had UNO up 1-0 after 20 minutes. Both teams scored in the second. Terry Broadhurst broke a 1-1 tie at 8:02 of the second, giving the Mavs another one-goal lead into the intermission.
UNO took to the power play early in the third and Broadhurst scored his second of the night, taking a pass from Alex Hudson and beating Bakala. Down two goals, the Beavers gambled and pulled Bakala with under four minutes to go.
Archibald made Bemidji pay, finding a loose puck and firing it into an empty cage. Gwidt finished on another Archibald chance just 56 seconds later; scoring Archibald’s rebound to seal the victory 5-1.