Making a Statement: UNO wins a blazing shootot against the 5th ranked Huskies

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Fourteen is typically a number defining shots on goal. Saturday it was the number of goals scored in the second game of the series between University Nebraska-Omaha vs. St. Cloud State in Omaha. After losing to the Huskies 5-4 the night before, UNO out-shot St. Cloud State 44-32 and got a hat trick from UNO’s Dominc Zombo, to split the series with no. 5 ranked Huskies, winning 8-6.
The first period was telling of what would be goals gone wild. UNO started the first period in quick and aggressive fashion with an odd angled strike from Justin Parizek for his first career goal at 17:27. Just a few minutes later, another UNO goal came from Brock Montpetit assisted by Austin Ortega at 4:36 into the period.
Less than a minute later at 5:19, UNO’s Jono Davis got nailed with a five minute major penalty for misconduct and things began to go south for the Mavs in the period. St. Cloud State went on to score during the penalty on a goal by Kalle Kossila. Jimmy Murray scored the next goal and then Kossila scored another for three unanswered goals to put the Huskies up 3-2 at the end of the first period.
“The guys weren’t intense coming into the game,” UNO Head Coach Dean Blais said. “We knew we had to finish checks, and you can’t give St. Cloud any time and space. But when it’s 2-0, we take a five minute major they score one, but you’re tiring out eight penalty killers.”
The second period started much like the first- with goals. Freshman goalie Reed Peters came in to replace UNO’s other freshman goalie Kirk Thompson, who had allowed three goals on 12 shots.
“I didn’t necessarily think Kirk had played all that bad but disappointed that…he had to make one of those two saves on the second or third goal. He’s got to make one of those two saves,” Blais said. “It’s three goals in 12 shots. I’m going to pull anyone. I would pull an NHL goal tender.”
Nick Seeler shot a rocket from the blue line that hugged the ice all the way to the back of the net to tie the game at 3-3 16:32 in the second period. Moments later, Brock Montpetit had a great chance on a breakaway look but the shot was blocked by goalie Charlie Faragher.
Minutes later Dominic Zombo scored on a rebound assisted by Jake Guentzel and Josh Archibald. The goal gave UNO a 4-3 lead. After sloppy sequences on both ends at 10:10, the puck barely crept in as David Morley finishes his rebounded effort for the St. Cloud State score to re-tie it at 4-4.
With 7:24 to play in the period, Zombo scores his second goal on a bizarre odd angled shot, shooting midway between the faceoff dot and UNO’s bench that bounced around and found its way in the net. St. Cloud pulled Faragher following the goal. UNO led 5-4 entering the 3rd period.
“I have no idea how we got the momentum back and then had such a poor second period,” St. Cloud State Head Coach Bob Motzko said. “That was the disappointment, of how poor of a second period we had, and we lost every Battle. They beat us to the point of impact, and we were just not moving our feet at all. We made it very easy for them, and then you see in the third, we’re moving our feet and came out with a much better attitude in the third.”
In the third, the Huskies got the first goal of the period as Kossila got his hat trick at the 3:12 mark. Zahn Raubenheimer scored on a shot similar to Parizek’s and UNO retook the lead at 6-5. St. Cloud pulled Lindgren and put Faragher back in. A penalty occurred on St. Cloud’s Kevin Gravel on a near UNO breakaway from Josh Archibald.
Zombo scored to get his hat trick at 10:03 to put UNO at 7-5. Brock Montpetit then scored his second goal of the game three minutes later to give UNO their eighth goal of the game. UNO turned it over on their own end and allowed a St. Cloud goal from Cory Thorson at 17:57, but UNO hung on to lead for the remainder of the game to win 8-6.
“There was a lot of questionable goaltending going on, that’s for sure. You’ve got to tip your hat to Omaha because they came out and played really hard, and we weathered the storm in the first,” Motzko said. “(But) in the second period, we just were disinterested. We wanted it to be an easy game, and we came out in the third ready to play. We played hard in the third, but you give up a couple goals like we gave up, and that was demoralizing for us.”
UNO’s eight goals mark their highest total of the season, with their previously highest being six. The highest amount goals the Huskies had allowed prior to Saturdays matchup against UNO was five.
“It’s really the bounce of the puck Sometimes. Sometimes you have very little puck luck, and tonight we got a few bounces and a few breaks hard to blame the goal tending because we hit three pipes too. Funny game up and down the ice,” Blais said.
The 14 combined goals marked the highest total in program history, with 13 being the previous high in a game against Alabama-Huntsville in 2005. It was a game where anything was going to happen.
“It really doesn’t happen too often, but when you get in games like this and everything’s going in- bounces, weird angled shots- I mean it’s really not the position you want to be in,” junior Josh Archibald said. “You want to keep those tight close game.. things happen. It’s happened in the past, it happened tonight and we’re just thankful that we were on top tonight.”
Zombo’s hat trick marks the first of his career for the junior.
“It was nice. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that in my career ever. Jake and Arch did a really good job of getting me the puck, and I just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Zombo said.
Kosilla had four total goals in the weekend with one Friday and his hat trick Saturday. Despite the Huskies responding to equalize the game three times and taking the lead early on, Blais was never worried.
“I never really felt in danger of losing that game even when they cut it 5-5. We thought ‘5-4- get it in, get it out, keep the game simple, don’t take penalties and give them any momentum.’ Obviously guys battled hard. It was a tough tough game. And we managed 43 shots on net,” Blais said.
UNO joins North Dakota and Denver for a three way tie of second place in the NCHC at 24 points. The Huskies have a two point advantage sitting in first with 26 points. The Mavs bounced back and got their first home win since Nov. 23.
“You’ve got to watch the standings week by week,” UNO senior Zahn Raubenheimer said. “We know we want to get home ice Advantage. [It] is a huge positive, and that’s what we’re trying to shoot for. We have a great Opportunity. We have a great squad and guys with a lot of vision guys with a lot of talent, and I’ve been here for four years and I know how quickly it can go by and losing that opportunity that you had, and hopefully we can grab this opportunity and make a run with it.”
UNO will hit the road to face North Dakota next weekend in Fargo Feb. 7 and 8. Look for updates on Twitter from @Gateway_Mavs

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