It seems some of the old UNO swagger is back at Baxter Arena.
Behind a complete defensive effort and exceptional play by the two starting goalies, Saville and Roden, the Mavericks dominated Alabama-Huntsville from beginning to end. UNO only gave up one goal for the entire weekend compared to 11 goals by the Chargers.
Roden especially was a bright star on the weekend. In his collegiate debut on Saturday, Roden did his best brick-wall imitation, stopping all 18 shots he faced and becoming only the second true freshman in Omaha hockey history to have a shutout in his first game.
It wasn't just the defense that was dominant. Led by Zach Jordan, who had three goals on the weekend, the Maverick offense had little trouble finding the net.
Granted, Alabama-Huntsville is a less-than-stellar team, but nevertheless the complete games UNO played on Friday and Saturday are a promising sign from this young team. It seems their confidence is finally there and UNO is ready for more.
The Mavs face a tougher test this weekend as they travel to Columbus to face THE Ohio State Buckeyes. Last weekend the Buckeyes faced off in the Ice Breaker Tournament, tying their first game against Western Michigan despite a 51-shot onslaught from the Broncos. THE Ohio State then went on to win against RIT 3-1. Ronnie Hein was the first start of that game with two goals.
Both games will be played at Value City Arena in Columbus. Friday’s game will be at 6 PM, while Saturday’s game will be at a quite early 4 PM. Both games will be on BTN+, which does require a paid subscription. You can also listen on the radio at 1180 AM or on the TuneIn Radio app. Because this is an away non-conference battle, it will not be part of your NCHC.TV package.
The Mavericks have a bye weekend next week, followed by a matchup in Anchorage with Alaska-Anchorage. Alaska-Anchorage were swept by Maine (a future UNO opponent) 7-1, 2-1. They will have a bye this weekend before facing the Alaska Nanooks the following weekend.
Both games in BTN, great! Agree with the test, but if we can skate with them it bodes well. Take one on the road from OSU, take both from Alaska and we enter NCHC with some decent creds.
As Quinn mentioned in the "NCHC 2019-2020" thread, UNO "didn't play down to their competition" during their season opening series against UAH.
That's a good sign heading into Columbus this weekend.
This series will be a good barometer of where the team is at during the early stages of 2019-20 play. The team is still a work in progress, but they are playing with a lot more jump out of the gate.
I keep beating this drum, but this recruiting class reminds me of Coach Kemp's 2004-05 freshman class.
At that point in UNO Hockey's history, the Mavs had just come off an 8-26-5 season in 2003-04.
They took advantage of some early-season opportunities in the 2004-05 season, and the team finished 19-16-4 overall (earning a trip to the CCHA Super Six at Joe Louis Arena).
A lot of the current crop of freshmen — players like Abate, Boyer, Brushett, and Scanlin — remind me of players like Scero, Thomas, Marshall, and Lawrence.
Obviously, the NCHC is a much tougher beast — top to bottom — than the CCHA was 15 years ago. So there might be more potholes in the road.
That said, the team we've watched the past three games looks different than the team we watched during the 2018-19 season.
Since these players will make up the core of the roster for the next four seasons, my hope is that they'll gel fairly quickly — and make it a fun race.
They just have to keep chipping away...
“Series Preview: Omaha at (The) Ohio State University, Oct. 18-19, 2019”
(Includes links to media previews and viewing options for the series)