Coming off an uplifting series sweep of Western Michigan last weekend, the UNO Mavericks traveled north on February 2nd and 3rd to Minnesota where they would face off with another NCHC opponent in the St. Cloud State Huskies.
UNO would hope to settle the score this time around after St. Cloud State already swept them earlier this year, on December 1st and 2nd, on their home ice at Baxter Arena.
The Mavs’ aggressive play paid off early and David Pope was the first one able to celebrate on Friday night after he found himself assisted by teammates Joel Messner and Tyler Vesel for a power play goal barely four minutes into the first period. The Huskies would try to answer, managing a power play opportunity of their own but came up empty handed and UNO would hold onto that 1-0 lead into the second period.
It didn’t take the Huskies much longer to get their offense rolling, Judd Peterson scored a goal only 58 seconds into the second and tied it up faster than the Mavs would’ve liked. St. Cloud State’s relentless offense paid dividends yet again in the second period and the Huskies quickly made it 2-1 off the stick of Nick Poehling just three minutes later.
Shortly after a slashing penalty by the Huskies, UNO’s David Pope capitalized on another power play opportunity and scored his second goal of the night to even the score with 4:23 remaining in the second period. But just a mere 35 seconds later the Huskies would score again, this time the goal coming from Mikey Eyssimont to make the score 3-2 in favor of St. Coud State entering the third period.
The score wouldn’t stay 3-2 for long, St. Cloud State kept pushing the puck and found themselves ahead 4-2 just a minute into the third after Easton Brodzinski’s shot found the back of the net. UNO’s David Pope would be the only Maverick to score on the night, pulling off a hat trick after scoring his third goal with 12:14 remaining in the period to make it close at 4-3.
The score would remain a nail-biting 4-3 before St. Cloud State’s Robby Jackson was able to help the Huskies pull away 5-3 with a late goal to seal the win for them on Friday night.
Saturday night UNO, now 0-3 against St. Cloud State on the season, would look to avoid another loss and a crucial conference sweep from the Huskies. However, the Huskies would draw first blood on Saturday when Robby Jackson scored for the second night in a row during a power play to give them a 1-0 advantage five minutes into the first period. Down 1-0 UNO aggressively pushed the puck but had no luck, the Huskies would add another goal late in the period off the stick of Mikey Eyssimont to make it 2-0 entering the second period.
It was do or die time for the Mavs, now in a 3-0 hole after Blake Lizotte scored for the Huskies just a minute and 45 seconds into the second period. But UNO seemed to finally wake up and scored two goals of their own in the next four and a half minutes of play to reel them back in the game 3-2. Riley Alferd and Zach Jordan both scored for the Mavs during this push and gave UNO some much needed life. But before the second period was over, the Huskies pulled away with two more goals from the likes of Jake Wahlin and Will Borgen to keep the Mavs at bay 5-2 entering the final period.