Omaha came into the weekend with a chance to show that it belonged on the national stage for college hockey.
Instead, Notre Dame departed Omaha on the evening of Oct. 20 with two wins and a likely number one national ranking, after #1 Ohio State’s loss to UMass on Oct. 19.
Over two games, Notre Dame would score 12 goals, winning the first match 1-4 and the second 2-8. Omaha dropped to 0-3-1 on the season, leaving them winless through four games.
“Little adversity here. Can’t feel sorry for ourselves, no one’s gonna come and save us,” said Head Coach Mike Gabinet after the second match. “We’re gonna get to work and get better.”
In the Oct. 19 match, Omaha had a good showing in the first period of a nationally-televised game. Despite falling short immediately to Notre Dame, the Mavericks tied the game at 1 apiece from a goal courtesy of Fredrik Olofsson. The team would not score again all evening.
“Had a little bit of success there early… I thought they got two fortunate first goals,” said Gabinet.
“We had a hot start in the first… thought we were skating right with them,” said Oloffson.
Notre Dame would follow with a goal late in the first period from Tory Dello. The second period was drastically worse for the home team, as the Fighting Irish out-shot the Mavericks 24-8. One of those shots would find its way into the net when Michael Graham would slip the puck past Weninger to bring the score to 1-3.
“(We were) dying a slow death a little bit… not getting pucks, not advancing pucks,” said Gabinet.
Despite improvement from the Omaha defense in the third period, Notre Dame would add one more goal before the game concluded.
In the following evening, Notre Dame started strong: Joe Wegwerth and Dylan Malmquist would each score two and one points respectively in the first period to put Notre Dame up 0-3 in the first period. These three scores were in Notre Dame’s first ten shot attempts.
Cal Burke added two of his own in the second period, bringing the score to 0-5 in the favor of the Fighting Irish. And in the first two minutes of the third period, Notre Dame tacked on yet another two goals from Malmquist and Bobby Nardella before Omaha could finally answer back with a score of their own from Captain Mason Morelli.
“You feel for the goalies. We outshoot them, we lose 8-2,” said Gabinet. “We’ve got to get better if we want to have a chance to beat these guys.” Omaha outshot Notre Dame 33-27 on Oct. 20.
Nardella would score again for Notre Dame, as would Kevin Conley for the Mavericks, bringing the match to its penultimate score of 2-8.
“When you play a good team like Notre Dame, you give them chances and they’re going to capitalize on them,” said Omaha Captain Mason Morelli. “I don’t think we’ve done a very good job of responding when we’ll go down a goal or two or even three,” he added.
The winless Omaha squad will travel to Tempe, Arizona to play the Arizona State Sun Devils on Oct. 26 and 27.