Omaha Hockey picks up big win and a series split versus Wisconsin


Jordan McAlpine

Two players face off on the ice
Two players face off on the ice. Photo by Kylie Squiers/the Gateway

Following the loss Friday night, freshman goalie Isaiah Saville was very confident in his team’s ability to bounce back in game two.

“I have no doubt in my mind that tomorrow night is going to be a different story. We proved it at Ohio State, and I think we’re going to be able to prove it tomorrow night,” Saville said.

The Mavericks did exactly that.

Omaha scored two early in the second to go ahead and tacked on two more in the third to break this one wide open, actually forcing Wisconsin to yank netminder Daniel Lebedeff in the third. The Mavericks saw several young forwards step up all weekend, but Saturday night it was an unlikely source of offense that sparked them—Junior Martin Sundberg. The Swedish forward, who wasn’t in the lineup for game one, finished with a goal (his first since March of 2018), an assist and was in the middle of the action all night long.

“If you look at Martin Sundberg, he doesn’t play last night,” said head coach Mike Gabinet. “And I tell him he’s not playing, which is one of the worst parts of coaching when you tell a kid he’s not playing, and he said, ‘okay coach, I’ll be ready to go when you need me.’ He goes tonight and has a big-time game for us. I think they genuinely care about each other, and they genuinely care about the program and they want to see each other do well.”

The Mavericks jumped out to a 1-0 lead midway through the first period as Taylor Ward fired his third of the season into the top right corner, giving Omaha a 1-0 lead. Ward finished the game with 10 shots, the most by an individual this season.

However, the Badgers would waste no time answering back. Just 27 seconds later Alex Turcotte fired a shot of his own into the top corner, his fifth of the season, evening the score at one, which is how these teams would head to the locker room.

After John Schuldt’s shot missed the net, the Mavericks got a fortunate carrom off of the end board that Joey Abate was able to tap back in front, and Kevin Conley knocked it home. The goal was the second of the year for Conley, putting Omaha back ahead 1:57 into the period.

The Mavericks would continue to build off the momentum, as a little under six minutes later, it was Abate in the middle of the play again, this time the one putting the puck in the net. The goal was the fourth of the season for Abate (all game-winners) as he buried a beautiful feed from Tyler Weiss, putting Omaha up 3-1 with 12:18 left in the second.

Wisconsin would get multiple chances right away in the third period that Saville was able to turn aside, but with 4:52 remaining in the period, Turcotte took a Cole Caufield pass and put home his second of the night, cutting the lead to one.

As a Maverick power play expired, Sundberg cut down the left side with a great chance that was turned aside, but he would not be denied. Just seconds later Sundberg was able to knock home a loose puck in the crease, extending the lead to two with 17:32 to go.

Buzzing around the offensive zone after the goal, Omaha would add another, and Sundberg was involved yet again—this time setting up Josh Boyer for his second of the season with 14:43 left, making it 5-2, the final score of this one.

Since earning the slit against Wisconsin, the Mavericks have since hit the road to earn another split with NCHC foe Western Michigan. Omaha will be home next on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23 as they take on the Miami Redhawks.