Sunday, November 18, 2018

2020 Recruit: Vincent Nardone (F) - Flin Flon Bombers

In the flurry of 2019 recruits signing NLIs this week, a couple new verbal commits surfaced. 

Earlier this week, I profiled forward Brock Bremer of the Muskegon Lumberjacks. While Bremer hasn’t yet signed a National Letter of Intent, he is listed by as a 2019-20 UNO recruit. 

The Mavericks also received a verbal commitment from forward Vincent Nardone of the Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL). He is listed by as a 2020 recruit. 

Nardone caught the eye of scouts this season at the SJHL Showcase, according to the Flin Flon Bombers website ( His play made an impression, and he cracked the NHL Central Scouting List as a “player to watch.” 

Bomber head coach Mike Reagan praised Nardone on

“One school last week said to me, ‘he catches your eye on every shift.’ He’s creative and plays with a lot of pace and energy,” said Reagan. “He hounds pucks and doesn’t mind going to the tough areas.”

“You don’t see these things very often in an 18-year old and he has a late birthday so he’s almost a 2001 born player. He’s provided our team with an additional threat that makes us very hard to defend against.” 

As of this writing, Nardone ranks 7th on Flin Flon in total points (20) and 4th on the team in goals (12). 

He is ranked 19th in the SJHL in goals, and 35th in total points.  

Last season Nardone played for the Saint-Eustache Vikings (AAA midget hockey league located in Quebec). 

I looked at the Saint-Eustache Vikings Facebook page (my high school French classes helped me decipher some of the information in there). In 40 games with the Vikings, Nardone had 13 goals and 22 assists (35 total points) with the club. 

There is always a degree of uncertainty about a future recruit until a NLI is signed. 

It sounds like Nardone is set to have a productive season with Flin Flon. If Nardone lands at UNO in 2020, he should be an exciting player for Maverick fans to watch. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

2019 Recruit: Brock Bremer (F) - Muskegon Lumberjacks

The period to sign National Letters of Intent (NLI) began on Wednesday, Nov. 14. 

The University of Nebraska at Omaha Hockey program has seen a number of the recruits I mentioned in last week’s “UNO Hockey Recruiting Update (Nov. 2018)” story sign NLI’s this week (Noah Prokop, Nolan Sullivan, Joe Abate, Josh Boyer, and Alex Roy at the time of this writing). 

There is a new player (likely not the last) in the mix of recruits — forward Brock Bremer of the Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) verbally committed to the Mavs this week.

Because Bremer isn’t a player we’ve focused on the past few months, he is a bit of an unknown commodity to UNO fans. Be that as it may, he looks like he’ll be a welcome addition to UNO’s recruiting list.

Here’s what we do know...

Bremer is currently 57th in overall point production (49th in goals) in the USHL. He plays with fellow UNO recruit Nolan Sullivan for the Lumberjacks. Sullivan is ranked 4th on the team in goals (8th in total points) and Bremer is 5th in goals (6th in total points). 

I’ve mentioned how important it is for UNO to recruit solid talent out of the Minnesota high school hockey ranks. Bremer played for Hill-Murray (one of the top prep programs in the state), and had 19 goals and 21 assists during the 2016-17 season with Hill-Murray. 

Before joining Muskegon, Bremer played a season with the Camrose Kodiaks in the AJHL. He tallied 19 goals and 43 assists — he was the point leader for Camrose, and 15th overall in the AJHL. Those numbers suggest a skilled puck handler who can make things happen in the offensive zone.

Bremer appears to have a considerable amount of upside potential. 

I’ll be interested to see if Bremer’s commitment means one of the other future recruits (who we’ve had on our recruiting list) doesn’t make it to Omaha, or if one or more of the juniors currently playing departs after the season. 

The following video will give you an idea of Bremer’s ability (Camrose Kodiaks vs. the Brooks Bandits — Nov. 17, 2017):

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wrapping Up the Weekend: Western Michigan Series (Nov. 9-10, 2018)

Well, the Mavs got their second win of the season, earning a split at Western Michigan. After splitting the series with Miami at Baxter Arena (earning the Saturday night win), I was hopeful they would build on that momentum. But the Mavs were flat on Friday night, losing 7-2. The team played better on Saturday night and earned the win, 4-2 over the Broncos.

You can find out what Jason & Jon think about the series on the seventh episode of the MavPuckCast:

Poll Results:
Yeah, still not anywhere close to being mentioned in any polls.

USCHO poll for Monday, Nov. 12:

Absent from the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine weekly poll too:

Media Roundup:
Here's the OMavs story about Friday night's loss:

(Also, I take issue with this headline: Broncos "Bump" Mavs? How about THUMP???

Tony Boone once again stayed in Omaha, so "staff" reported on Friday night's loss in this Omaha World-Herald article:

Here's the Omavs story about Saturday night's win:
And here's the Omaha World-Herald writeup ("from staff reports") of Saturday's win:

Finally, here's our MavPuck writeup of Tuesday's news conference:

Looking Ahead to This Weekend:
The Mavs enjoy a bye this weekend before Arizona State comes to Baxter Arena on Thanksgiving weekend.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

UNO Hockey Press Conference Notes - Nov. 13, 2018

Coach Mike Gabinet, senior forward Ryan Galt, and junior forward Zach Jordan answered media questions as part of the “Omaha Athletics Weekly Media Availability” on Nov. 13, 2018.   

Gabinet & Co. fielded questions regarding UNO Hockey’s Nov. 9 & 10 series at Western Michigan, the team’s bye week, and the upcoming series against Arizona State at Baxter Arena on Nov. 23 & 24. 

The following quotes are excerpts from the news conference. To view the press conference video in it’s entirety, click here.


GABINET: “Not the start we wanted... and again, I think as Dave and I talked about, good first few minutes there, then they [WMU] get a couple goals, and we’re chasing the rest of the night.” 


GABINET: “Very good response by the guys on Saturday. I thought we have to play a certain way to be successful and I thought we did that on Saturday. Really proud of the guys for sticking to the game plan for 60 minutes, and really playing smart.”

GABINET: “Just listening to Andy Murray’s post [game] press conference. He thought we ‘out teamed’ them. Which is always a high phrase for our team to get a nice compliment from an opposing coach.”


GABINET: “Looking forward to the bye week here. We had a really hard practice yesterday. We’ll have another one today. We gotta keep getting better and keep making sure we’re taking steps in the right direction.”


GABINET: “Anytime you play a team again, it’s always nice to see if you’re improving... and vice versa. If you were successful the first time you played a team — are you maintaining that standard or raising that standard. We have something to prove after the first go-around.”


GABINET: “I think we’re gonna pick a couple things to make sure we have some specific focuses for the week... at different times of the week. Obviously, with the injuries we’ve had this season — I think we’re only skating right now with 12 forwards — a lot of guys are banged up and have been out, with Pulkinnen and Weiss."

GABINET: “Some rest for some guys. Some work for some guys. But it’s nice to have that option.”


GABINET: “If [Tyler Weiss] has a good week of practice this week, and is firing on all cylinders next week. He was questionable for Western Michigan. I wasn’t comfortable trying to speed up his process there. It’d be nice to get him back in the lineup, but he’s also a young man we care about, and want to make sure he’s completely healthy before we put him back in the lineup.”

GABINET: “I’m sure [Weiss] is looking forward to getting back in the saddle, and getting more time with the team, and getting that bond even tighter.”


GABINET: “We need to make sure we capture the way we played Saturday on Friday. That’s something we’re focusing on this week, too — to make sure we talk about it, and help prepare our guys, because it’s very important. As we’ve said thousands of times: in our conference, if you’re not ready to go, you've got no chance. Especially with the makeup of our team.”

GABINET: “On Saturday night we had 22 blocked shots to their seven. We had a ton of finished checks and eliminated players in the play, which we didn’t do the previous night.”

GABINET: “We need to find a way to capture that on Friday night, and then continue that on Saturday night, and then continue that for three periods.”

GABINET: “I don’t look too far behind or to far ahead because there are so many things that can change... whether it’s a player from one year to the next or a team from one year to the next. It’s such a results business, and that’s why it’s so much stress, because it’s hard to not look at the results.” 


GABINET: “The first 10 games here they’ve been given some more opportunity of late, and I think they’ve done a good job accepting that. On Friday night, you saw some freshmen get some more minutes.”

GABINET: “The more experience they get and the more they can build from it and draw on it — and if we can set them up to have some success here — then you’re looking at those guys to build throughout their careers.“

GABINET: “We need our older players too... if they’re an older player in the lineup, you gotta play at a certain level. Because you should be a little bit ahead of some of some of the younger guys with how your performance is out there.”


GABINET: “Especially us. I think we have to really play — you don’t want to say 'a perfect game' because that’s a tough task to do — but you have to play a certain way consistently, and doing the right things over and over and over again.”


GALT: “It was a pretty good weekend, I thought. Western is a really hard place to go play. Last year we got swept there. It’s just a hard environment to play in. I think Friday night we just weren’t ready to play. We didn’t play very well. They played good, but we also didn’t play well. Saturday, we showed good resilience. Came out, played as a unit, played as a full team.”

JORDAN: “It was a big team game on Saturday. I think if we can just keep building off that — especially this week, with practices to focus on us and not having to worry about who we’re playing this weekend — will be good for us.”


JORDAN: “I think it is a good week just to take care of ourselves — get better for the upcoming weekend. We’ve got a big weekend next week against Arizona State."


GALT: “I think it’s a really good start for us. Splitting against two good teams — Miami is a good team this year... Western, especially in Western. We’ve started off really well in the NCHC. So if we’re gonna get any wins, those are good wins to get.”

JORDAN: “So far, with my time being here as a junior, I think this is our best start to NCHC play that we’ve had. I think it’s good for us. Normally, we start off a little slow with NCHC play, but I think getting two wins off the bat — two splits against two good teams — is going to be helpful for us down the road.” 


GALT: “People are being negative and stuff. I even had to delete Twitter for awhile, because there are fans who don’t understand what is going on behind the scenes here. But it’s actually been really fun. You can tell our team is growing a lot. We’ve grown a crap ton since the start of the year. I know we only have two wins and all that, and the stats. But we’ve had a couple good wins. You can see when we play the right way — and play the way we can — we would have probably a winning record right now in the season.”

GALT: “It was a tough start, but at the same time, sometimes adversity leads to a really good team. Obviously, it’s harder to become a good team with adversity, but if you have the right makeup, it makes you an incredible team at the end of the year when you need to be good.”


GALT: “It’s been fun — leading guys and having guys ask questions.”

GALT: “It’s been fun leading it with my nine other seniors as well. We have a huge class. I think we’re the first class to graduate as (a) full (class) since freshman year for the [first time] in 8 years.”

GALT: “It’s special for me, and also to be close to my parents, and have them not have to travel so far to watch me play."


JORDAN: “The past couple of years I’ve lived with guys that have been in that class. So I’ve really gotten close to them. I’ve learned a lot from them. They’ve really helped me grow a lot as a person on the ice and off the ice.”

JORDAN: “They’re going to be missed — with everything they’ve done for this program.”


JORDAN: “I think for the most part you kind of just have to block it out. Everybody is going to have their opinion. They’re on the outside looking in. We’re on the inside knowing everything that is going on. So, they can have their opinion and they can think whatever they want. Hey, sometimes we get down on ourselves too, but we’re still trying to fix it. We’re not just giving up on ourselves. We’re trying to figure out what to do to get this team where it should be and represent the logo and the school well.”

GALT: “They’re not wrong that we’re losing. Obviously, everybody knows that we’ve been losing. But they’re wrong in the sense... I saw one tweet — I don’t care about tweets — I just ran across it that they said the team didn’t play to the end of the game, or they weren’t trying in the third period. I don’t remember what it was, but it was something in that sense. I don’t care who it was, or what it said. It’s just a fact that they don’t understand what’s going on behind the scenes, and what we’re doing, and what we’re working on, and what the coaching staff is putting time into, what we’re putting the time into."

GALT: “Me and [Zach] were talking about it before we even got in here, like our legs are tired, because we had a heavy lift yesterday. We’re not making this a week off. It’s not a week to just relax and get our muscles right, we’re still working and doing things that other teams wouldn’t be doing. So, just to the fans — and people that are still believing in UNO — we’re working on what we need to do, and I promise you the team is going to be a lot different come February and March than what it is now, and I think we’re going to be a progressive team to where once we get to that time, we’re going to be a team that people don’t want to run into.”

JORDAN: “It’s something we haven’t been a part of yet here. And its a growing experience. We have a team this year that just has to grow together.”

JORDAN: “Guys gotta start doing the right things on the ice all the time. The group we have, we don’t have the superstars that are putting up 40-50 points. We’re going to have guys that come to the rink everyday, ready to work, and that’s how we’re going to win games.”


GALT: “We are 10 games in, which is about one-third of a college hockey season, so it goes quick. But when we were playing ASU that weekend — there are a lot of different factors that went into it — but we also weren’t playing our best game. You can put different things on it — reffing, the environment that we were playing in, the travel, all that stuff — so it will be good to have them come here and experience what we do at home, and be in front of our home fan base.“

GALT: “I think we’re finally on a roll a little bit here. I think we’re figuring ourselves out a little bit more. And like I said previously, adversity always challenges people, but it makes people stronger once they come out of that adversity. I’m actually really excited and hopeful for this entire team and university to be behind our backs when we do come out of the adversity as a whole. Because we’re going to be a team you don’t want to run into after that.”


JORDAN: “It’s kind of like when you’re a player, and you go through a little bit of a goal drought, and you pop one in after a couple of games. It’s like getting that monkey off your back.” 

JORDAN: “We knew we had a lot of work to do still, and that’s something to build off of from that game — how we played that night to get the win.”

GALT: “A big part of that whole drought of not winning was the fact that after the third, and then the fourth, and the fifth... it keeps building on you. So then it becomes even harder to win. Not necessarily the team that you’re playing, but even just yourself. It’s draining on you, it’s draining on the coaching staff, and everybody watching. You keep losing, so once you get to the third and the fourth and the fifth loss, you’re like, ‘Oh man, I don’t even know if we’re going to get one.” That’s where your mindset is at. So, finally to get that one puts all that away. And you’re like, ‘Okay, now we can get back on track and we can keep doing what we need to do.’”

Monday, November 12, 2018

2019 Recruit: Ryan Brushett (F) - Powell River Kings

The post was positively received, so I decided (going forward) that I would do a blog post outlining each of the incoming recruits.

I found out today (via Kevin Neubauer in the MavPuck Facebook Group) that Verdun, Quebec, native Ryan Brushett of the Powell River Kings (BCHL) has given a verbal commitment to UNO for 2019. 

The 20-year-old forward is currently 6th in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League in goals, and 6th in total points. 

Brushett is a third-year BCHL veteran. Prior to his tenure in the BCHL, he spent a season in the USHL.

Fun Fact... Brushett was involved in a trade in 2015 involving current Maverick Teemu Pulkinnen: 

Brushett was originally a Providence College recruit, and appears to have been slated to join the Friars in 2017. As we discussed in Episode 6 of the “Mavpuckcast” last week — and as I discussed in my “Recruiting Update” blog post last week — recruiting can fall through for a variety of reasons. 

If Brushett joins the Mavs in the fall of 2019, he will be 21. 


With UNO’s woes this season (the team is nearly 1/3 of the way through the regular season slate), some have speculated about the possibility of bringing a player or two in at semester break — having them available for the second half grind. 

While that might not be the direction Gabinet & Co. are headed with him, the possibility of Brushett arriving at UNO this December is intriguing. 

Powell River Kings GM and Head Coach Tyler Kuntz says of Brushett: “We’re getting a guy with a reputation of someone who can score, put pucks in the net and I think you can never have too many of those.”


While Brushett might not be one of the more “youthful” UNO prospects we’ve seen on recruiting lists, he looks to be a dependable veteran who can come in and fill a need on the roster — putting pucks on net.  

Here is a video clip (from the Powell River Kings YouTube channel) showing Brushett scoring a pair of goals vs. the Nainamo Clippers earlier this season:

Here is a 2015 video interview with Brushett when he was with the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL):

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Series Preview: Omaha at W. Michigan, Nov. 9-10

The UNO Hockey program is hoping to build on its split against Miami (OH) when they play Western Michigan on Nov. 9 and 10 at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, MI. 

The Mavs are 1-6-1 overall, and 1-1-0 in NCHC play. 

The series at WMU will be UNO’s first conference road swing of the 2018-19 season. The Broncos are 3-5-0 overall, and 0-2-0 in NCHC. 

Unfortunately, UNO didn’t hold its “weekly media availability” for hockey on Tuesday. As a result, we don’t have a write-up of coach/player comments from the news conference. 

UNO freshman forward Taylor Ward earned some “conference love” when he was named the Bauer NCHC Rookie of the Week:

Series preview articles:

Preview article from 

Preview article from

Friday, 6:05 p.m. CT
Saturday, 6:05 p.m. CT

Radio/TV Coverage:

Radio: Both games will be broadcast live on 1180 AM (Zone 2). Dave Ahlers will provide play-by-play and Terry Leahy will give color commentary. 

TV: Both games will be streamed on ($). 

Live Audio and Stats:
Live Audio: Click here.

Also be sure to check out the sixth episode of the "MavPuckCast with Jason & Jon," recorded last Sunday after the split vs. Miami (OH):

Next up: UNO Hockey is off next weekend, but returns Thanksgiving weekend to face Arizona State at Baxter Arena. The Sun Devils swept the Mavs in Arizona a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

UNO Hockey Recruiting Update (Nov. 2018)

Each hockey season, people ask about the recruits coming to the UNO program in the future. 

While we are always diligent on MavPuck reporting on any new player verbally committing to the school, we haven’t always taken the time to give an in-depth overview. 

Part of that is due to the fact that player recruitment happens earlier and earlier (something addressed on this week’s episode of the Mavpuckcast). That creates more uncertainty as to whether a prospect will ultimately become a Maverick by the time the NLI signing period arrives. 

A recruiting resource I have followed for the past decade is Chris Heisenberg’s exhaustive college hockey recruiting list — an Excel spreadsheet he has dutifully updated throughout the years (housed online in a Google Doc). 

What I appreciate about Heisenberg’s effort is that he tries to be comprehensive, and will even “slash out” recruits who de-committed from a school (allowing fans to see “what might have been”).

Heisenberg currently has the following UNO recruits listed on his site. Some players have switched team/leagues, so I worked to update the information below as much as possible:


Josh Boyer - Madison (USHL)
Joe Abate - Youngstown (USHL)
Davis Pennington - Wilkes-Barre (NAHL)
Nolan Sullivan - Muskegon (USHL)
Noah Prokop - Green Bay (USHL) 

Alexandre Roy - Jamestown (NAHL)
Brandon Scanlin - Brooks (AJHL)
Colby Enns - Central Illinois (USHL)
Jack Clement - Des Moines (USHL)

Isaiah Saville - Tri-City (USHL)

(Heisenberg’s site has Grant Anderson listed as a UNO recruit, but we heard last year that he wasn’t going to be joining the team. Heisenberg also doesn’t include Joe Abate, who is listed on the USHL site as an incoming recruit.)


Lukas Sillinger - Penticton (BCHL)
Oliver MacDonald - Muskegon (USHL)
Zach Michaelis - Chaska (HS) / Team Northwest (UMHSEHL)
Blaine Warnert - Fargo Force (USHL)

Greg Japchen - Wilkes-Barre (NAHL) 


Cameron Berg - Omaha (USHL)

Griffin Ludtke - Lakeville South (HS) / Minnesota Blizzard 16U (NAPHL 16U)


Of immediate interest are the 2019 recruits (currently 10 of them are listed on various recruiting lists). 

Some of you will remember (from my post on the possibility UNO Hockey heavily mines the Canadian junior ranks in the future) a “major junior” player named Zach Goberis, who has been sitting out at UNO, waiting to see if he could regain eligibility from the NCAA (since “major junior” hockey in Canada is basically the equivalent of professional hockey in the eyes of the NCAA). 

A “source” tells us that Goberis might have to wait two seasons to regain eligibility at UNO, so he might not end up on a future roster. 


Statistically speaking, here is what the 2019 recruits look like (at the time of this writing on 11/7/18): 

Josh Boyer - In 10 games: 2 goals, 2 assists (4th on Madison in points)
Joe Abate - In 12 games: 6 goals, 5 assists (1st on Youngstown in points)
Davis Pennington - In 13 games: 3 goals, 2 assists (6th on Wilkes-Barre in points)
Nolan Sullivan - In 11 games: 6 goals, 1 assist (8th on Muskegon in points)
Noah Prokop - In 13 games has 5 goals, 2 assists (8th on Green Bay)

Alexandre Roy - In 16 games: 0 goals, 7 assists (6th on Jamestown in points)
Brandon Scanlin - In 11 games: 3 goals, 6 assists (17th on Brooks in points)
Colby Enns - In 12 games: 2 goals, 1 assist (13th on Central Illinois in points)
Jack Clement - In 13 games: 0 goals, 3 assists (17th on Des Moines in points)

Isaiah Saville - In 9 games, has a 1.72 GAA and a .931 Save % (stopping 202 of 217 shots)

Only one (1) in the 2019 class is in the top 40 in terms of overall point production in his respective junior league (Abate is 26th overall in points in the USHL). 

Three (3) players are ranked in the top 40 in “goals” in their respective junior league (Abate ranks 18th in the USHL, Sullivan 24th in the USHL, and Prokop ranks 37th USHL). 

Isaiah Saville is currently the “top ranked” goalie in the USHL, has the best “goals against” average (1.72), and the best “save percentage” (.931). 

Fans have yearned for a top-shelf goaltender in net, and I have been told that Saville is the “real deal.”

The question on the minds of UNO Hockey fans is whether the 2019 class will have enough “playmakers” to make a run in the NCHC standings next season. 

Assuming all of UNO’s current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors return next season, the program is looking at 10 newcomers in the lineup. That is an awfully big recruiting class for the Mavericks (which could be bigger if any of the underclassmen depart after this season). 

In my mind, the USHL forwards will likely have the greatest immediate impact on offensive production. I also think defenseman Brandon Scanlin could have an impact on the blue line (and be a key component in the power play unit during future seasons).

That said, we don't see a pair of forwards on the recruiting rolls who put up point totals like former Mavs Jake Randolph and Tyler Vesel did in the USHL in the 2013-14 season (ranking 1st and 3rd in points, respectively). 

Forward Josh Boyer finished the 2017-18 campaign ranked 5th in points (and 5th in goals) in the NAHL. 

To put that in perspective, current UNO forward Travis Kothenbeutel finished 2nd in points (8th in goals) in the NAHL in the 2017-18 season.

The potential jewel of the class will be Isaiah Saville. He is arguably the best junior netminder we’ve had coming in since Dan Ellis in 2000. This program could use a rock in net — something that has been lacking since the departure of Ryan Massa in 2015. 


Can a youthful UNO team be competitive in 2019-20?

Only time will tell. If you analyze where UNO sits statistically at this point in the season, only one of UNO’s top 10 point producers is a freshman (Taylor Ward is 5th in scoring). We’re only 8 games into the season, so it will be interesting to see how things shake out by the time March rolls around.

Some fans have suggested that UNO won’t have a tournament-capable team until the 2020-21 season. Much of that sentiment is likely built on performance (so far) this season. It also has to do with the fact that our team will have 10 freshman and 6 sophomores on the roster in 2019-20. 

The challenge for Gabinet & Co. will be putting a competitive team on the ice — a squad heavy in underclassmen.

It can be somewhat “befuddling” comparing USHL, NAHL, and BCHL players. As we've learned over the years, success in one league might not necessarily translate into success in another junior league, or at the collegiate level.

Most of the recruits aren't statistical giants, but numbers can be deceiving.  

As this season goes along, MavPuck will try to make sense of future prospects for readers, and keep tabs on any personnel changes that take place.