What a couple of weeks it has been for Maverick Hockey! The Mavs played what many consider to be their best pair of games in quite some time, and came away with a decisive 5-1 win against then-number 5 UMass Lowell on Friday night, and stayed with the River Hawks through two-and-a-half periods on Saturday, giving up the go-ahead goal with only about five minutes left in regulation. UML then added an empty-net insurance goal to seal the score at 4-2.
This weekend, the Mavs open the NCHC conference play at home against Colorado College. The Tigers have struggled during their time in the NCHC, often finishing at the bottom of the conference standings. Despite this, the Tigers have often had UNO's number -- UNO is 10-6-3 all-time against CC, with most of those victories coming in games in Omaha. The Mavs are 3-2-1 coming into the weekend, and the Tigers are 2-4-0, including a win over New Hampshire two weeks ago. (CC had a bye week last weekend.)
So while it would be easy to predict a UNO sweep this weekend, there are a couple of factors that will likely come into play. One is the absence of Captain Justin Parizek this weekend. He suffered a pre-season concussion and is being held out due to health precautions both Friday and Saturday. Parizek has two goals and two assists in six games played so far in the 2016-17 season, so it will be interesting to see how this impact the Mavs, especially on special teams.
Finally, the other factor impacting the Mavs is something I brought up in last week's series preview -- previous Maverick teams have overlooked lower-ranked so-called "easy" foes, playing down to their competition. In Tony Boone's Omaha World-Herald article this week, the Mavs acknowledged this, and Coach Blais said they know "every point counts" in the toughest conference in college hockey.
Speaking of points, senior Austin Ortega needs just one point become the 15th player in UNO Hockey history to amass 100 career points. He's also chasing the NCAA record for most game-winning goals. He currently has 8 game winners. Ortega needs just two more to set the NCAA record.
The atmosphere should be electric on Friday night, as it's Homecoming for UNO students. UNO graduates are encouraged to stop by the UNO Alumni booth at the game and pick up a free pair of socks too.
Media Roundup Leading to the Series:
OMavs series preview:
Colorado College series preview:
Joe Paisley's Colorado Springs Gazette preview:
Tony Boone's Omaha World-Herald series preview:
OMavs Weekly News Release:
There are plenty of tickets available to this weekend's series, particularly on Saturday night.
Friday tickets on Ticketmaster ($20-$27):
Saturday tickets on Ticketmaster ($20-$27):
Ticket Express has Saturday tickets still available ($5-$8):
And there are tickets for sale within the MavPuck Group on Facebook (must be approved for group membership to see the posts):
Friday and Saturday night's games will be available by subscription ($) on NCHC.tv.
Radio coverage begins with the First National Bank Pre-Game Show at 6:30 p.m. both nights. Dave Ahlers will have the play-by-play, Terry Leahy will give color commentary and analysis, and Lester St. James will report from ice level.
Live Audio and Stats:
Live audio link here.
Live stats (Friday) here.
Live stats (Saturday) here.
The Mavericks take their games on the road after being at home at Baxter Arena for three weeks. They will travel to Oxford, Ohio to take on Miami on Friday, Nov. 11 at 6:35 p.m. Central and Saturday, Nov. 12 at 6:05 p.m. Central.