Omaha Hockey off to hot start in new season

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Jack Hoover
SPORTS EDITOR

Several hockey players battle for the puck on the ice
Omaha Hockey faces off against Alabama-Huntsville. Photo by Avery Cook/the Gateway

Last year, it took Omaha hockey 11 games in order to get three wins on the season.

While it’s still early on in the season this year, things seem to be looking up from last season, as the Mavericks have managed get three wins in their first four games.

After an offseason of uncertainty, the Omaha hockey team has given Maverick fans a reason to be optimistic, especially after the woes of last season, where the team finished with a record of 9-24-3.

In the first two games of the year, the signs of progress from the Mavericks were already evident as Omaha defeated Alabama-Huntsville by scores of 6-1 and 5-0. Against the Chargers, the Mavericks demonstrated their balanced scoring attack, as eight different Omaha players grabbed at least one goal over the two games.

While the Chargers are far from the most difficult opponent that Omaha will play this season, the emphatic wins provided a strong base for the young Maverick team to build confidence.

The next series that the Mavericks played came against slightly more difficult competition. On Oct. 18 and 19, Omaha travelled to Columbus, Ohio, to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes provide the first nationally-ranked competition of the year for the Mavericks, as they came into the weekend series ranked No. 12/13 in the national polls.

It seemed hard to pick a winner in the first game of the series, as the Mavericks and Buckeyes traded goals throughout the night. With the scores tied 2-2, it would be the Buckeyes who would just edge the game as they got the go-ahead point in the third period. Ohio State’s Quinn Preston was the game-winner, taking advantage of a power-play to score against Omaha.

The second and final game in the series would flip in favor of the Mavericks. After another close game, this time it would be Omaha who would get a late winner. Freshman Joey Abate put away his shot in the third period to break a 1-1 tie. The late goal helped the Mavericks earn a hard-fought series split against a top 25 team.

With the team already showing signs of progress from last year, the Mavericks now turn to their next game, as they make the journey north to take on Alaska-Anchorage on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. After that, Omaha will return to take on their first Top 10 test of the season, playing No. 6 Wisconsin on Nov. 8 and Nov. 9.

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