By Jackson Taylor
The Omaha hockey team is back in action against Miami (OH) as the team takes to the road for a Friday-Saturday night series this weekend. The Mavericks had the week off after sweeping Minnesota Duluth on Nov. 6-7 and will look to improve to 10-2 on the year after this weekend.
Omaha’s 8-2 (2-2) record is good for a fourth place tie the NCHC conference standings with none other than Miami, who currently posts a record of 5-6 (2-4).
After a little bit of doubt was cast following Omaha’s disappointing sweep at the hands of Western Michigan, Omaha’s rebound series sweep of No. 9 Minnesota-Duluth last weekend put the Mavericks back on track in the NCHC.
Omaha will look to keep with their trend of scoring goals early in the game against a RedHawks squad that often gets off to slow starts. Every goal will be precious in this game that will likely be low-scoring. Austin Ortega and Jake Guentzel have led the Mavericks early this year with eight and six goals, respectively.
Guentzel leads the team in points with 16 points while Ortega has tallied 12. Jake Randolph has also been a major contributor thus far with six goals and eight points.
Omaha goalie Evan Weninger is coming off of a series for the record books as he recorded 80 saves against Duluth. The freshman enters the weekend at 5-1 on the season with a goals-against average of 1.69. Kirk Thompson, who has played five games for UNO in the net, has allowed 3.02 goals per game and has recorded 121 saves on the year.
Scouting the Opponent
Although its overall record may be unimpressive, Miami has played a difficult early season schedule. The RedHawks have played a total of four ranked teams in their first six series’. Miami lost and then tied against then No. 7 Providence, swept Ohio State, split with former No. 17 St. Lawrence, were swept by St. Cloud State, swept Western Michigan, and most recently were swept by No. 3 North Dakota.
Miami’s focus under Enrico Blasi seems to be defense. Senior Ryan
McKay has started a majority of the games in the net for Miami and earned NCHC Goaltender of the Week on Nov. 9 after he stopped 42 of 44 shots over a series against Western Michigan. Over the weekend, McKay was exposed by No. 3 North Dakota, giving up six goals, three of which came in the
On the year, McKay has a goals against average of 2.19 and a .923 save percentage.
The Redhawks, who recorded a second-placed regular season NCHC finish last year, only averages 2.1 goals per game and have yet to score more than three goals in a non exhibition game this year. A majority of Miami’s scoring is generated from a pair of freshmen forwards.
Ohio native Jack Roslovic leads the RedHawks with seven goals and 13 points this season. Josh Melnick has been a regular contributor as well with five goals and nine points.