McManus, Weiss lead Omaha as Mavericks hang on for 4-3 win over Tigers

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Jordan McAlpine
SPORTS EDITOR

Brannon McManus celebrates with his teammates after his second-period goal, which ended up being the game-winner. McManus had a goal and an assist in the win and notched his 100th career point. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

When Brannon McManus decided to transfer to Omaha last spring, the Minnesota transfer started looking for a place to live. An opening in the house that Brock Bremer and Tyler Weiss shared and a Minnesota connection with Bremer led the fifth-year forward to his new home for the year.

“They had an open spot, so I kind of just put myself in there,” McManus said. “It’s been great and obviously the connection is there.”

That connection and chemistry were on display Friday night as McManus and Weiss teamed up to score two of the Mavericks’ four goals in a 4-3 home win over Colorado College. The roommates were the first and second stars respectively.

Even with three first-period goals and a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes, the three points didn’t come easily. The Mavericks clung to a one-goal lead in the final minute, but were able to hang on for win No. 12 on the season.

“Always tough, as we knew it would be,” said Omaha head coach Mike Gabinet. “Tough to get three points in the NCHC and no different tonight. Great start to the game, and they clawed their way back into the game. We’ll take the three points and get prepared for tomorrow.”

After a sloppy start, the game turned on a dime just past the midway point of the opening period. Jimmy Glynn, Jack Randl and Weiss scored three goals in less than three minutes to give the home side a 3-0 advantage.

“Anytime you get one, the building gets into a little bit and you calm your nerves too,” Gabinet said. “Getting that first one was big for us and I thought we fed off that.”

Glynn, who hadn’t scored since Oct. 30, fired an initial shot at Colorado College goaltender Matt Vernon from the top of the far circle and followed his rebound, potting one over Vernon’s shoulder for his second goal of the season. Glynn’s goal gave Omaha a 1-0 lead 11:08 in.

Just over a minute later, Randl fired a Cameron Berg one-time feed home for a goal Vernon would surely like back. Weiss stretched the lead to three, as the senior buried a beautiful McManus feed with 6:37 left in the opening frame. Ty Mueller also picked up an assist on the goal.

“I was getting ready to back-check, but then I saw (McManus) make a nice play off the wall and just turned around,” Weiss said. “He made a great pass and (I had) a wide-open net.”

The goal was the sixth of the season for Weiss, which ties him with Berg for second on the team. Gabinet credited the forecheck by McManus on the play after the game, which set up the goal, but he also lauded Weiss’ play on the goal and as of late in general. McManus did the same.

“He’s a good player and he’s going to make a play there,” McManus said of his linemate and roommate’s goal.

With 2:11 left in the second period, it was McManus who was credited with his fourth goal of the season and his first since Oct. 29. What ended up being the eventual game-winner, CC’s Brian Hawkinson attempted to clear a puck that went off Niklas Andrews’ skate and in. McManus was the last Maverick to touch the puck.

“We thought we’d seen it all, but I’ll take it, for sure,” McManus said.

The fifth-year forward finished the night with a goal and an assist. From that point on though, the scoring was all Tigers. Hunter McKown spoiled Isaiah Saville’s shutout bid 5:39 into the third period. What initially looked to be a relatively meaningless goal in what was still a three-goal game, McKown’s third of the season gave his squad life.

Logan Will cut the Omaha lead in half with 7:05 left to make it 4-2. With 31 seconds left, Matthew Gleason fired a shot off the faceoff past Saville for a power-play goal to make it 4-3 — but the Tigers’ furious comeback bid fell short.

“The biggest thing is you’ve got to keep that consistency going and play a certain way,” Gabinet said. “It’s always difficult when you get up in a game sometimes to play with the same intensity, but you have to find ways to continue to elevate your game, continue to play consistently, and that’s something we’ve got to continue to grow.”

The Mavericks have now taken seven straight from the Tigers and 10 of the last 11 between the two schools. Game two will get underway at 7:07 p.m. on Saturday. It’ll be the Mavericks’ final game at Baxter Arena until Jan. 7, 2022.

McManus notches No. 100, plays one of his best games in Omaha

With his assist on the Weiss goal, McManus notched the 100th point of his collegiate career. McManus added career point No. 101 with his late second-period goal.

“I’ve played with a lot of great players so can’t thank them enough,” McManus said. “Can’t thank Weiss (enough) for burying that one either. But it feels good.”

The Mavericks’ bench boss was very complimentary of McManus after the game, but for more than just the goal and career milestone. 

“Tremendous accomplishment and obviously 100 points in college hockey is no easy task,” Gabinet said. “Just in general, he was good tonight. That’s the best I’ve seen him skate. He was hard, he was winning puck battles and sure enough, it results with some point production.

“We’re going to need him to do that. We know what he can do offensively, but as he continues to evolve and grow — good things are going to happen.”

Third-period scare

The Tigers scored three goals over the final 15 minutes of regulation and made it interesting down the stretch, especially when Gleason’s shot found its way past Saville with 31 seconds left.

“I think we just got away from our game a little bit,” McManus said. “The key is to stay with it and keep playing our game and not get too complacent. Another area of focus to build off tomorrow.”

Gabinet said after the game it comes down to cleaning up some little details and not letting off the gas. At the same time, the players in the Omaha locker room know the momentum was on the opposite side in the third and the Tigers will come out strong in game two.

“We kind of gave them life there, so they’re going to build off that tomorrow. And they’re going to come out flying,” Weiss said. “We’ve just got to stick to our game, stick to what we do and get back to our identity.”

Saville back between the pipes

After missing the last three games with a lower-body injury, the Omaha netminder returned Friday night and made 27 saves in the win. That included some key saves to keep it scoreless early, and Saville was also up to the challenge once the momentum had shifted in the third.

“I thought he was really sharp early,” Gabinet said. “Looked really composed and made a couple key saves at the right time.”

Saville improves to 8-3-0 on the season.

Tychonick returns

For the first time in exactly two months, Jonny Tychonick returned to the Omaha lineup. Tychonick has been dealing with a lower-body injury since he last appeared in a game on Oct. 3. The 2018 second-round pick of the Ottawa Senators was listed as Omaha’s seventh defenseman on the line chart, but he did get some regular minutes early on with Davis Pennington.

Tychonick also had some power play time on the Mavericks’ second unit. At the same time, after missing 12 games, the idea was to ease him back in.

“I thought he did some good things out there,” Gabinet said. “Got some good minutes — I think he kind of got shut down near the end of the game with things being so tight, but a good step back for him getting back in the lineup.”

News and Notes

  • Chayse Primeau returned for his first game since the Nov. 5 loss to Miami. Primeau took a shot to the knee late in that game.
  • The Weiss-Mueller-McManus line all finished the night a +2.
  • Jimmy Glynn led Omaha with four shots on goal.
  • Colorado College outshot Omaha 30-28. The Mavericks led in that department 13-8 after 20 minutes.
  • The Mavericks were without a power-play goal and went 0-for-4 on the night. Omaha came into the weekend with the fifth-best power play in the nation at 28.9 percent. The Tigers were 1-for-4.
  • Omaha now leads the all-time series against Colorado College 25-10-5.
  • NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton announced early Friday afternoon that he will be taking over as commissioner of the Summit League at the end of this hockey season. Fenton will speak on Tuesday.

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