SENIOR STAFF WRITER
The Omaha Men’s hockey team opened the 2018 season with a two-game series on the road against Union College.
Game one of the series took place on Friday, Oct. 12, and UNO was able to jump out to an early lead in the first period. Omaha’s Dean Stewart scored his first goal of the year (it was also Omaha’s first goal of the year) about halfway into the first period to give the Mavs a 1-0 lead. UNO was able to withstand Union’s offense throughout the entire first period, not giving up a goal, and entered the second with the same 1-0 lead.
Mason Morelli quickly added to UNO’s advantage during the second period. Assisted by Zach Jordan and Fredrik Olofsson, Morelli was able to stretch the lead to 2-0 four minutes into the second. However, the Union Bulldogs were quick to answer, and Liam Morgan cut the lead to one goal six minutes later. Taylor Brierley scored the equalizer only three minutes after Morgan’s goal to tie the game back up at 2-2 before the end of the second period.
The Mavericks continued to fight as senior Ryan Galt was able to continue his performance at UNO, scoring his first goal of the year and giving them a 3-2 lead with only 15 minutes remaining in the third period. Union’s Cole Maier answered only a few minutes later and tied it up 3-3 for the Bulldogs with 10 minutes left. The game ended as a 3-3 tie as neither team could capitalize in overtime, and UNO’s first game of the season was a draw.
Game two of the series took place the next night, on Saturday, Oct. 13th. After trailing early 1-0, Omaha broke out for two quick goals off the sticks of Zach Jordan and Kevin Conley to make it 2-1 before entering the second period.
The Bulldogs’ Anthony Rinaldi scored two goals and Liam Morgan scored one for Union while holding UNO to zero during the second period to give them a 4-2 lead entering the third period. Omaha needed only 38 seconds before Teemu Pulkkinen scored for the Mavs to give them hope for a comeback, but Morgan answered again for his second goal of the night to stretch the lead back to two. UNO pushed back with a late goal from Zach Jordan but fell short in a 5-4 loss on the road.
After opening the season 0-1-1, they returned home to play 2018 national runner-up Notre Dame at Baxter Arena. Omaha will next play series with Arizona State (in Tempe, Arizona), Miami (in Omaha), and Western Michigan (in Kalamazoo, Michigan).