Omaha vs. Arizona St: What to watch for

Courtesy of UNO athletics
Courtesy of UNO athletics

By Jackson Taylor

After a week off, the Omaha hockey team will host Arizona St. on Dec. 19-20 at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. This will be the first matchup in history for the two teams, as the Sun Devils are in their first season as a Division I hockey program.

No. 5 UNO comes into the game at 12-3-1 and 6-0 at Baxter Arena. The Mavericks are coming off of a split series with No. 6 St. Cloud State. Omaha fell in the first game of the weekend 4-1 be-fore firing back with a 7-2 win in the Saturday game.

Omaha is led offensively by junior forwards Jake Guentzel and Austin Ortega. Guentzel has 10 goals, 14 assists and a team-lead-ing 24 points on the season. Ortega leads Omaha in goals scored with 12 and has 5 game-winning goals

In the net for Omaha will likely be freshman phenom Evan Weninger. The 19-year-old from
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan has to-taled 322 saves on the year, good for a .947 save percentage and a 9-1 record. Opponents are averaging just 1.92 goals against Weninger on the year.

In their first year in the NCAA, Arizona St. is 5-10 on the year and 2-10 on the road. The Sun Devils average 2.3 goals per game and give up an average of 3. ASU is coming off a sweep at the hands of Rensselaer this past weekend.

The Sun Devils are led by Jordan Masters who has 5 goals, 11 assists and 16 points on the year. Masters has also sat for 28 penalty minutes on the year, a team high that has led to the team giving up crucial short-handed goals.

Ryland Pashovitz will likely be in the net for ASU this weekend. Pashovitz has made 351 saves on the year for a save percentage of .919. The freshman, who also hails from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, allows an average of 2.99 goals per game and is 4-7 on the year.