By Jackson Taylor
The Omaha hockey team found over the weekend that all streaks must come to an end, after they were swept by Denver, ending their perfect 8-0 mark at home this season. The Mavericks were blanked on Friday night, 3-0 and lost a tough battle on Saturday, 4-3. With the sweep, Omaha falls to 14-5-1 (4-5-1) on the season.
No. 6 Omaha struggled to find their way offensive in their first game with No. 17 Denver. The Pioneers jumped out to a quick lead on Friday, as Will Butcher netted a goal at 3:57. This marked the first time Omaha had surrendered the first goal of the game at Baxter Arena.
Less than 30 seconds later, Denver’s Blake Hillman placed his first collegiate goal past Omaha goaltender Evan Weninger to put the Pioneers up 2-0.
Shortly after at 10:19, Weninger had to be taken off the ice due to an injury and junior Kirk Thompson took his place.
Relatively even play ensued until Butcher slapped his second goal of the night, a top shelfer past Thompson, to extend the lead to 3-0.
UNO struggled to convert on any of its six power plays and looked out-of-sorts on both ends of the ice. All of Omaha’s 35 shots were stopped by Denver’s Tanner Jaillet — the first time the Mavericks had been shutout all year.
Denver was outshot and had more penalties than Omaha on the weekend, but made the most of their chances during the NCHC series.
Tanner Lane battles for the puck against a Denver defenseman Evan Janssen during Omaha’s 3-0 loss at Baxter Arena on Friday.
Saturday night’s series finale started off similarly to Game 1 with Denver jumping out to 3-0 lead that they held into the third period.
Omaha was able to climb back in thanks to two quick goals from Justin Parizek during a powerplay and from Jake Randolph just 39 seconds later. Jake Guentzel earned his 100th career point on his assist to Randolph.
After a DU goal extended their lead to 4-2, UNO’s Mason Morelli netted a rebound with 4 minutes to play in the game.
Despite outshooting Denver 28-18, Omaha could not find the equalizer and fell to 0-5 when surrendering the first goal of the game.
Omaha returns to action on Friday when they take on rival North Dakota. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:37 Friday in Grand Forks, N.D.