When Tyler Weiss got the puck just inside the Mavericks zone, it looked as if game two between Omaha and Colorado College was destined for a shootout. However, the junior forward had other plans, scoring with just .2 seconds left in overtime for the 3-2 win.
The Colorado Avalanche 2018 draft pick now has points in seven of his last nine games and 4-6-10 overall. Three of his four goals this season have come against CC and 4 of his 11 career NCAA goals have come against the Tigers.
“Whenever Tyler Weiss elevates his compete-level, his game elevates,” said Omaha Head Coach Mike Gabinet. “When he’s focused and competing hard, he’s a real dangerous hockey player. I thought he had a really good third period for us and he got rewarded for that, so it was nice to see him get a big-time overtime goal for us.”
Similar to Monday, game two featured a scoreless opening period, but Omaha broke the ice in the second once again. Weiss and Taylor Ward entered the Tigers zone with a 2-on-1 before Weiss’s pass deflected off of CC defenseman Zach Berzolla’s stick and in. The goal was his third of the season and the first of two on the night.
Unlike game one though, the Tigers responded. Ben Copeland skated around the top of the Omaha zone and wristed one from the top of the right circle past Austin Roden, knotting the game up 1-1. Copeland assisted on both of the CC goals in game one. He momentarily had a goal of his own Monday night, but that was ruled offside and overturned.
The Tigers controlled most of the play in that second period, outshooting Omaha 17-5 in the frame. CC outshot the Mavericks 36-19 overall in game two.
“Obviously dealing with COVID and the layoff, that’s a tall task against a good Colorado College team to begin with,” Gabinet said. “We were only playing with five defensemen for most of these games too, and with that altitude and the size of the rink, they got some chances in the second.”
Three of the Mavericks defensemen were cleared to return just before the start of the series. Nolan Krenzen was cleared yesterday before the game and slotted in for Jordan Klehr in game two. Multiple defensemen hadn’t even participated in a full practice coming into the series.
Gabinet joked it was one of the first times in his coaching career where guys were asking for shifts off in order to get properly recovered. Omaha even used multiple line combinations with three forwards in the overtime.
Speaking of players who were on the scoresheet in game one, Kevin Conley gave the Mavericks the lead back with his second of the series and fourth of the season. Conley weaved through the CC zone, firing one back far side and over the glove of Matt Vernon. The captain’s goal came at the 7:56 mark of the third period, putting Omaha back ahead, 2-1.
Just over two minutes later, the Tigers struck back. Logan Will fired a shot from the faceoff dot high-blocker side on Roden, tying the game 2-2. Will’s goal came with just 9:43 left in regulation. The freshman has three goals on the season.
For the third time in 12 games, the Mavericks needed overtime Tuesday night.
After going back-and-forth for the early parts of the overtime, the Mavericks cashed in on a literal last second chance. After having his initial pass attempt broken up on a 2-on-1, Weiss grabbed the loose puck and snuck a backhand under Vernon. After a review, NCHC referee Tim Walsh deemed it a good goal, sending the Mavericks back to Omaha with six points and a sweep of CC.
The official time of the goal came with just .2 seconds left in the overtime period.
“I think 3-on-3 is one of the best environments for Tyler,” Gabinet said. “He’s a guy that can handle the puck and make plays at high speeds. He has the ability to be dynamic with space out there.”
With Tuesday’s win, the Mavericks run their win streak to four on the season and they haven’t lost in their last six. Omaha currently sits third in the NCHC standings at 8-3-1.
They’ve now won four straight against Colorado College and seven of eight overall. They’ve also won eight of their last nine at Broadmoor World Arena, including back-to-back sweeps in the building.
The Mavericks are also unbeaten in their last six overtime games overall, going 3-0-3 in that stretch. Omaha was winless in the previous 12 games that required overtime.
“Our players are making plays out there,” Gabinet said. “They’re finding ways to score goals and get things done. We’ve been on the other side of it, and especially in our league it comes down to who can make one more play than the opposition.”
Gabinet and his group will take the wins any way they come. More importantly, it’s a strong way to open the second half. Especially considering the circumstances.
“I thought the weekend was good for us,” Gabinet said. “Lots of adversity, both mentally and physically, and to be a great team you have to be able to handle that. It’s a big step for us too to find ways to win compared to the past couple years.
“We were under siege in the second period and were trying to find ways to be better in our own zone and keep pucks to the outside. Austin (Roden) made some timely saves too. It’s kind of that bend don’t break mentality and we found a way.”
Now the Mavericks will be tested once again as it’s a short week coming up. Omaha welcomes Denver to Baxter Arena Saturday and Sunday. From a physical standpoint, they’ll only have four days off before Saturday’s contest. Mentally, the Mavericks come into this series riding an 18-game winless streak against the Pioneers. They haven’t beaten Denver since Jan. 10, 2015.
Both games will faceoff at 6:07 p.m. CT. It’s the first of six consecutive scheduled home games for the Mavericks.