Good morning! The Mavs were able to grind out a win last weekend against the F’n Hawk. My managed expectations is to at least win or tie one game a series for the remainder so they can jump a couple spots in the NCHC standings. Note that these are better managed expectations than a month ago.
So, this GAME WEEK, the UNO hockey team (7-13-2, 3-8-1-1) are heading to Duluth to take on the Bulldogs of Minnesota-Duluth (14-6-2, 7-4-1-0). The Bulldogs, 4th in the Pairwise, look set to make a repeat appearance to the NCAA tournament and have a decent shot at the national championship. Minnesota-Duluth handily swept a weakened Miami (of OHIO) this weekend.
Friday and Saturday’s games will be at 7:07 PM CT at AMSOIL arena in sight of the famous Lift Bridge. Both games will be on NCHC.TV. Additionally, Saturday’s game will be on Fox Sports North+ (DirecTV 657, DISH 444) so it has a chance of being shown locally on Fox Sports Midwest. You can also listen on the radio at 1180 AM or on the TuneIn Radio app. There will be a large UNO presence there as well as students will be busing from Omaha to Duluth for the weekend.
OPPONENT WATCH: Western Michigan was swept by St. Cloud State. As indicated above, Miami (of OHIO) was swept away by Minnesota-Duluth and are now playing like the NCHC writers predicted they would.
STANDINGS: UNO is 7th in the NCHC, 41st in the Pairwise
If UNO could win or tie a game each remaining series it would be terrific.
You might be a little more optimistic in that regard than I am at this point. Eleven or twelve wins this season would be pretty decent, considering how things went in the first half. So, I’d be okay with that.
If UNO can get a split at Duluth, then I think there is an opportunity to have a bit of momentum headed into the series against WMU and Miami. Since we split in the November series against those two teams (when we weren’t playing great hockey), there is an opportunity to improve on that.
Right now, UNO and CC just “feel” like similar programs. They both have played top opponents tough this season, but it’s still a struggle to get Ws.
For example, CC was up 4-2 on DU and couldn’t hold.
I go back to the 2014-15 season (since it was the most successful in recent memory) and that UNO team was able pull out come from behind wins in the third — and in certain instances it looked like they did it with a certain amount of ease.
It’s easy to get “up” for Denver and North Dakota — and give them your best. I’m more interested to see how they do against the RedHawks and the Broncos.
Since we’ve only one a single game on the road (in a split at Western back in November), I’ll be interested to see if the team can win more games on the road. Miami is a possibility... not sure what we can do at Duluth and North Dakota.
The other factor (and I know I’ve rambled on for too long) is whether or not we reach a point here where UNO is essentially “out” of getting one of the top 4 seeds, and how that might impact performance.
At 11 points in the NCHC standings (sitting 7th overall), we’re 3 wins (9 points) out of 4th. If we fail to get any points next week at Duluth, the best we might be competing for is 6th place the rest of the way.
It’s frustrating because we’re just starting to play better hockey...
Series Preview: Omaha at Minnesota Duluth, Jan. 25-26, 2019
Tough 7-2 loss in game 1 of the series at Minnesota Duluth.
Unfortunately, things looked similar to the series in St. Cloud back in Dec. That’s what can happen when you run into an NCHC buzzsaw.
We allowed a season high 56 shots on goal. The last time UNO gave up 50+ shots on goal was Oct. 27 at Arizona State (53 SOG).
UNO can’t give up that many shots and expect to win. Weninger has played well in net the past three series, but the best NCAA goalies are going to have trouble when facing that sort of barrage.
Moreover, UNO only produced 17 shots on goal during the Friday tilt. That is a season low (the previous low was 18 at St. Cloud on Dec. 7).
We also lost ground in the NCHC standings. Obviously, we’ve known for a while now that our likely path to the NCAA tournament involves running the tables in the NCHC playoffs.
The best way to do that is to avoid traveling to St. Cloud or Duluth in the first round. That pretty much means UNO needs to find a way to stay out of 7th/8th place in the conference standings when the dust settles at the end.
We lost ground to Colorado College last night. The Tigers put up impressive numbers at Miami, beating the Redhawks 6-1.
I’ll be interested to see what happens for UNO in Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs. If we can salvage a split against Duluth, we’ll be right back in the thick of things.
What I’d hate to see is a scenario where we fall too far behind North Dakota, CC and Miami (not because I hold much hope of finishing in 4th place).
Rather, I just believe being within “spitting distance” of those teams (in the conference race) will at least assure the Mavs don’t “throw in the towel” before March (which is something teams in that position are apt to do).
I’d rather we at least be in the mix the next few weeks.
Saturday night ends in a 2-1 loss.
Better outing for the Mavericks. We were able to generate some chances and had 34 SOG. But the team allowed UMD to put up 52 shots on them last night.
(FYI... the 56 and 52 SOGs Duluth put up on UNO is a season high for the Bulldogs in the 2018-19 campaign).
The scary thing about the defending national champs is that a lot of their key contributors (Perunovich, Roehl, Richards, Swaney, Koepke) are freshmen and sophomores. They’re going to be a good team to contend with for a long time.
Can’t allow Western Michigan to put up those sorts of shot totals next series or it’ll be a long weekend for the Mavericks.
One interesting note...
Miami (which currently sits ahead of UNO in the NCHC at 7th place) hasn’t won a game (other than an exhibition on Dec. 30) since Nov. 17.
The Redhawks have tied three in that time (at UNH, against SCSU, and at Providence), but have not come out victorious.
The cruel reality is that they are still one point ahead of us (at 12 points) in the NCHC standings.
After the weekend of NCHC play, the Mavs are 9 points out of fifth and 10 points out of fourth.
1) The defense took a step back. One of the goals for the second half was to slow the pace of the game, allowing the offense time to get scoring. It worked against Denver and North Dakota. UMD, however, dominated possession, having 56 and 52 SOGs.
2) Winnie continues to keep UNO in games, a spectacular feat of skill. That said he is showing signs of tiring, especially Friday where Tomek had to stand in for the last third. Having 50+ SOGs doesn't help. Again, defense is key to lessening pressure on Winnie.
3) Saturday was more organized for the Mavs and our Power Play continues to be productive, with one PPG each game. Morelli continues to play well, as well as a few others. Mavs need to figure out how to score more in even strength situations (again, possession would help a bit).
4) I'm done commenting about the officiating. Done. The NCAA knows what needs to be done here.
5) As Recovering Ops mentioned on Twitter, leadership of this team is strong. It has been a tough season yet these young men have shown time and time again resiliency. In this department I have no worries.
6) Overall, a disappointing weekend. I was expecting closer results (not necessarily wins), even though UMD is a darn good team, on their way to another NCAA berth. Mavs will need to regroup quickly against a strong Western Michigan team.
I agree with your sentiments, Connor.
It will be interesting to see how they do against Western. That team is sort of an enigma. They’re one of those teams we should be able to be competitive with (if we play like we did against North Dakota and Denver).
On the other hand, they’ve been racking up wins, and dismantled Denver in Kalamazoo this weekend.
How did Tomek look? What was it about the officiating?
How did Tomek look? What was it about the officiating?