By Andrew Nelson
The Nation’s No. 6 hockey team traveled north to St. Cloud, Minnesota to take on a squad of conference rivals that also notch a Top 10 ranking stopping in at No. 7. The Huskies are rolling not against the other competition but against the Mavs as well, dating back to last season.
That trend continued last Friday as the Mavs lost for the first time in over a month 4-1 and saw the No. 7 Huskies earn their fifth-straight victory against them at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. However, the Mavs got a much-needed win, and in dominant fashion, beating, St. Cloud Saturday night 7-2.
On Friday, St. Cloud scored near the end of the first period off of a Maverick turnover at the blue line that the Huskies’ Robby Jackson slapped past Omaha’s Kirk Thompson in net. Just 44-seconds later, the Huskies scored again to take a two-goal lead in the second period.
Later in the second, Omaha’s Jake Guentzel scored UNO’s NCAA leading sixth short-handed goal of the year to pull within one. The Huskies would regain the two-goal lead before the end of the second, and Jackson would go on to score his second goal of the game in the third to put it away.
Charlie Lindgren, the NCHC leader in GAA, finished Friday’s game with 26 saves, while Thompson stopped 22 shots for Omaha. The loss was the first for the Mavs since a pair of early road losses to Western Michigan to start NCHC play.
Saturday night told a different story, as the Mavs earned themselves a big statement win to split the series against a Huskies team currently tied for first in the NCHC standings. Once again, junior Jake Guentzel got the scoring party started for the Mavs, the first of seven different goal-scorers for them Saturday night.
David Pope, who’s been on a bit of a hot streak scoring four in his last five games, made it 2-0 for the Mavs in the second.
Brian Cooper, the leading “offensive-defensemen” for Omaha slapped one from a ways out right underneath Lindgren to make it 3-0. After a quick Huskie score, Ryan Galt scored his first ever collegiate goal for the Mavs to regain the three-goal advantage.
The third period saw Justin Parizek score on a power play, and saw another Maverick earn their first ever collegiate goal. Mason Morelli scored his first goal for Omaha just under five minutes into the third. Robby Jackson scored his third goal of the weekend for the Huskies on a power play just before Ian Brady notched his first goal of the season to earn that “seventh goal” Maverick fans are always looking for.
Evan Weninger finished the night in net for the Mavs allowing two goals with 31 saves. Omaha was lights-out on the power play taking advantage of three of five chances, the second time they’ve been that efficient on the power play in three games.
The Mavs currently sit fourth in the NCHC standings, while St. Cloud State (12-4, 6-2 NCHC) still sits atop the conference standings.
Omaha (12-3-1, 4-3-1 NCHC) will get the next week off before returning to Baxter Arena on Dec. 19 and 20 for a pair of match-ups with Arizona State.
The Sun Devils are in their program’s first season of NCAA hockey. The games are scheduled for 6:07 p.m. Dec. 19, and 2:07 p.m. Dec. 20 afternoon, which is the only Sunday game schedule for the Mavs this season.