Almost five months ago, the college hockey powers that be pegged UNO to finish eighth and ninth in two preseason conference polls. Few, if any, thought the Mavs could do better than average during their first season in the ultra-competitive WCHA.
As one would expect, much of the UNO hockey roster is compromised of athletes from traditional hockey regions. Four members are from Canada, five hail from Minnesota and a total of three from both Wisconsin and North Dakota.
Any defender worth his own salt can block shots, clear pucks, protect his goalie and throw a hit with the best of them. However, much of a team's offensive success depends on the vision and play-making ability of a skillful defenseman.
Saturday wins have been few are far between for the UNO hockey team. Since their 3-1 win over Michigan Tech on Dec. 10, UNO hadn't won a Saturday game or the second game of a series in almost two months.
For college hockey teams the magic number for success is 20 wins. Achieving that goal qualifies a team for the NCAA tournament and puts you in good standing within your conference, while often earning you a spot in the top-15 rankings.
After the first 12 games of the season, UNO hockey led the nation in scoring at 4.17 goals per game, resulting in a 9-2-1 record. Since then, scoring has been hard to come by.
After two road losses that left many UNO hockey fans scratching their heads, the Mavs will try to regroup from their recent sweep at the hands of Bemidji State. For UNO, a team that has begun the year 9-4-1 and 6-4-1 in conference, the two losses last weekend equaled as many as they had suffered the previous 12 games.
Freshman forward Johnnie Searfoss scored UNO's only goal of the series as the Mavericks got swept in last weekend's trip to fellow conference newcomer Bemidji State. It was the Mavs' first weekend without a single conference point since last year's December trip to Ferris State. The two losses at the hands of the Beavers equal the total number of losses UNO has suffered in its first 12 games of the season.