Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Road Trip: Hockey in the Cloud and Other Fun Stuff


Hockey trips are the best. 

If you haven’t had the chance to go watch the University of Nebraska at Omaha Hockey program play on the road, you’re missing out. 

There is something enlightening about watching the team play outside the confines of Baxter Arena. It gives you insights on our competition and the facilities those opponents have to offer.

We’ve been on dozens of road trips while following the UNO Hockey program over the past 21 years. The past three seasons we have made the trek to St. Cloud, MN, each year to watch the Mavericks take on the St. Cloud State Huskies.


Why St. Cloud? Well, our 19-year-old niece/goddaughter Lauren is in her second year at St. Cloud State University (she’s not a sophomore...I think she’s a junior...then again, she might already be in graduate school). It’s also a pretty easy drive from Omaha. It has become one of our favorite hockey trip destinations. 

We traveled up on Thursday, Dec. 6 for the weekend series. Per our nascent tradition, we took Lauren to dinner at Granite City. (Doesn't that cake look amazing??)


The temperatures in St. Cloud didn’t get above the low 20s during the duration of our stay. Omaha has had similar temps, but everything just felt colder for some reason. 

Lauren was able to take time off from her job so she could hang out and attend the games on Dec. 7 and 8. We don’t see as much of her since she’s been away at school, so it was nice to be able to enjoy the weekend together. 

We drove down to the Twin Cities on Friday and went to the Mall of America. It wasn’t our first trip and it won’t be our last visit to the hive of retail grandeur. (Anybody else worried about the guy standing directly underneath the giant ornament that probably weighs a couple hundred pounds?)


Lauren enjoys looking at the Hockey Minnesota store when she visits the mall, and she pointed out this “lovely” North Dakota hockey shirt:


I checked out the LEGO Store (because I like LEGOs). I’m never really inclined to spend money on the sets, because they are super pricey. But it’s fun to browse.


We visited the Apple Store (yes, I know we have one in Omaha) because Bridget is still trying to figure out what phone she wants to purchase to replace her 4-year-old iPhone 5S. The current debate is whether or not she needs a “home button,” or if she can adjust to the the world of FaceID. (Comments and advice welcomed!)


We had lunch in one of the mall’s food courts, and got treats at Carlo’s Bake Shop:


We also went to IKEA (which is across the street from the Mall of America). Lauren wanted me to get a picture of her with this lamp that looks sort of like Pixar’s Luxo Jr. 


(She’ll be so upset that I posted a pic of her with a semi-deranged look on her face, but it is the best one I had!)

We decided to head back from Minneapolis to St. Cloud early for the series. It’s a good thing we did, because the traffic on I-494 and I-94 was a ridiculous mess. The good news is that we made it back in time and got to the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center with plenty of time to spare. 


Despite the fact that UNO lost 2-0 in the Friday contest, we had a good time. 

Bridget and our friend Amy posed with their purses — since Baxter Arena has basically outlawed women’s purses at hockey games. It’s nice to know there are places in college hockey where women can still be women, and bring regular purses to games. 


Saturday morning saw us at St. Cloud State’s Newman Center (it was a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church). It was an interesting setup for the Mass, and we dubbed the priest “Saint Cloud Jesus” because of his beard and long locks:


We also went down to look at the Mississippi River (the campus is nestled alongside it) and grabbed this selfie:


I also took this “Christmas card” picture of Lauren. Sadly, my iPhone 6S Plus doesn’t have “portrait mode,” so we couldn’t “blur” the evergreen branches behind her:


Let’s talk about Val’s Rapid-Serv. Some of my fellow hockey fans are going to be mad at me (or already are!) because I was “underwhelmed” by Val’s (don’t @ me). 


But compared to Omaha’s Bronco’s Burgers & Fries, or Stella’s in Bellevue, I wasn’t floored by the experience. 

Don’t get me wrong, the food was good and I loved Val’s local flavor, but I think everyone overhyped the place for me (but I’ll definitely recommend it to any fellow travelers who visit St. Cloud). We decided it might be better in the summer when you can eat in the parking lot or car (there's no dine-in option).

After lunch, we went downtown to rendezvous with our friend Amy. St. Cloud was having a “Winter Festival” and the activities featured free carnival rides. 


Amy had been trying to find someone (anyone) who would be willing to brave the frigid temps and ride what became known as “the purple dragon” — a tilt-a-whirl ride with multi-colored dragon pods. 

We’re hearty souls — so we obliged. Bridget recorded a Facebook Live video of the experience for the MavPuck page:


We also went on the carousel (which seemed to go around forever):


The Capital One Cafe across the street had a setup where you could get free hot chocolate and sugar cookies. Everyone there was super friendly. 


Another one of our friends — Connor — was also along on the trip. He spent the afternoon sampling various craft beer selections at a local brewery. As a result, we don’t have pictures of him enjoying the chilled festivities for the blog, but he was a special guest on our podcast — the “Mavpuckcast with Jason & Jon” — this week

We dropped Lauren off at her apartment after our downtown excursion. On the way to her place, we stopped by WJON radio station so I could get a picture with the sign (since, ya know, my name is Jon). No, I am NOT giving the station "the finger."


By the way, the room we stayed in was the same room we had the last time we were at the hotel in Dec. 2016 — I knew it seemed familiar and we got confirmation during our stay. 


The Saturday tilt against St. Cloud featured a “teddy bear toss.” We found a stuffed husky to toss (at IKEA), Connor found a bear at Target, and Amy chose to toss a dalmatian. We also had a stuffed sloth and a unicorn we found at Five Below. 


(There was a semi-crazy St. Cloud fan who was super impressed that I threw a husky on the ice... and gave me a hug. That's in Bridget's Facebook Live of the Teddy Bear toss...with 1:13 left in the video...)

Sadly, the Mavs lost 7-1, and the Huskies completed the weekend sweep. 

Road trips provide a great opportunity for fans to build camaraderie. I love to reminisce on the fun we’ve had following the UNO Hockey teams over the years. 

While the games serve as the hub on hockey trips, it is all the spokes that make the ride special. 

It was nice to hang out with our niece, and it was also good to spend time with our fellow fans. It’s the sense of community that makes a fan base what it is, and hockey trips are terrific bonding experiences. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

UNO Hockey Press Conference Notes - Dec. 11, 2018


UNO Hockey Coach Mike Gabinet answered media questions as part of the “Omaha Athletics Weekly Media Availability” on Dec. 11, 2018. Players were not a part of this week's video stream. 

Gabinet fielded questions regarding the UNO Hockey team’s series at St. Cloud State on Dec. 7-8, and the upcoming series against Alaska-Anchorage on Dec. 29 and 31 at Baxter Arena. 

NOTE: Early on in this week’s media availability, Coach Gabinet fielded questions about the sudden death of his sister in Canada last week (from a brain aneurysm). Those comments aren’t transcribed in this post. Our sympathies go out to Mike and his family during this difficult time.

If you would like to watch the news conference, you can do so here.

TAKING STOCK OF THE FIRST HALF OF THE SEASON HEADING INTO THE HOLIDAY BREAK...

GABINET: “Nobody likes to hear it. Everybody is results-driven. Just to focus on one week at a time and continue to work with our guys. I believe in this group. I believe in the guys we have. Sure, certain guys have to be better. We all have to get better. They’re coming to work everyday. They’re trying to get as good as they can be.”

GABINET: “We just talked beforehand here we’ve had the second-strongest schedule in the country. Fourteen out of our first 16 games are against a team that’s ranked 17th or higher. When you’re playing teams like that every weekend, and you make a mistake... I thought we were playing really well on Saturday... came out against St. Cloud and all of a sudden we make our first mistake of the game and it’s in the back of our net... and then you battle back to tie it. Then boom, they come back.”

GABINET: “I believe in what we’re doing here, and I know nobody’s going to work harder than our guys, and nobody’s going to outwork our staff. You’ve just gotta keep moving forward. You gotta keep grinding.”

THINGS YOU NOTICE ABOUT “RESET” POINTS...MOMENTS WHERE THE TEAM HAS TO FIGHT BACK DURING A GAME...

GABINET: “That’s the level that is the area of growth for us and our players is just how dialed in you have to be every shift.”

GABINET: “You gotta break it down into smaller segments. If we play like certain times in the game against St. Cloud, we’ll be okay...we’ll be competitive. But it’s those lapses that happen — and then the lack of confidence when something bad happens and not being able to respond to it.”

GABINET: “Whether it’s your first three shifts of the game, or right after a goal, you have to have a certain mindset where you can’t have a mental lapse or not be engaged to 100 percent of your capabilities. Against teams like St. Cloud, they’ll make you pay for it. So that’s something we’re working on still is shortening the segments up so you’re not worried about the game. You’re not worried about the period. You’re working one shift at a time. One habit at a time.”

GABINET: “It can’t just be three good shifts and then one bad shift. And then three good shifts and one bad shift. You gotta get to that consistency where you’re able to play a certain way for 60 minutes.” 

HOW DID THE TEAM REGROUP AFTER ST. CLOUD’S FIRST GOAL ON SATURDAY?

GABINET: “What can you do, right? I mean, it’s out of your hands.”

GABINET: “Trust me. We’ve yelled. We’ve screamed. We’ve been upset — and at the end of the day, it’s about getting better and moving forward.”

GABINET: “As much as you want to reflect on the past — and make excuses or point fingers — it doesn’t do you any good.”

GABINET: “Like I said, I believe in these guys and I know they’re going to put the work in that is necessary. I know our staff is going to do the work that’s necessary. That’s what we’re focused on.” 

GABINET: “It’s demoralizing when that happens to you. You battle back to tie, and ‘boom’ — 30 seconds later they get it.” 

GABINET: “We have to develop that consistency — that mental toughness. At the end of the day, it’s going to serve our program well. Because when you’re playing 14 out of the 16 games against top 17 opponents and you haven’t even got to the hardness of your schedule yet, there’s not room for non-mentally tough people. So, we’ve gotta keep grinding.”

HOW DO YOU TREAT THE HOLIDAY BREAK?

GABINET: “For me, being in college hockey the last four or five years, it’s a second season a little bit because of the extended break over the holidays that you get in college athletics. So it’s really important that we give the guys a chance to go home and refresh, and I think that’s always good for everybody — including the staff.”

GABINET: “I think it’s good for everybody to step away for a little bit and reenergize and come back with a focus and a hunger to keep getting better.”

GABINET: “[Important] to work on their fitness level, and to work on some individual things and the mental side of things, too.” 

GABINET: “It’s a little bit negative term, but ‘What are you doing if you’re not scoring goals?’ So, what part of your game can you bring every game that’s going to contribute? I think that’s a big, big question for our team, and for our players. They need to be able to bring certain things to the table, if it’s not involving goal scoring. If you only think you’re contributing by scoring goals, then it’s going to be a long season. Because there is so much more to the game.”

GABINET: “When you’re playing against these top opponents, sometimes a win is not letting them score. It’s something we’ve challenged our players and our staff to do over the break here.”

ON THE SUBJECT OF UPPERCLASSMEN — SPECIFICALLY THE SENIORS — WHAT SORT OF LEADERSHIP CAN THEY SHOW, IN ADDITION TO GOAL SCORING?

GABINET: “For instance, one of the guys — I’ll single him out — is Zach Jordan. He’s been struggling a little bit the last eight games or so. We had a great talk on Friday night. He’s just a great example of a guy that recognizes he’s not playing well, and talks about it.”

GABINET: “A lot of guys at this age will always come up with excuses why it’s somebody else’s fault and ‘Well, if I’m playing with different guys, it’s going to be different’ and things like that.”

GABINET: “The type of kid [Zach Jordan] is he says, ‘Coach, I gotta be better. I gotta be better to help the team out.’ We talk about how to get better and we pick three things that don’t involve goal scoring. Whether that’s hard in the forecheck or hard in the neutral zone, being ready on faceoffs. Some things that don’t involve a lot of confidence to execute at a high level, but are in your control. So he started basic things like that.” 

ON THE FACTOR THAT ST. CLOUD’S OLYMPIC-SIZE ICE SHEET PLAYED...

GABINET: “You can see some of the individual ability on their players that they’ve obviously recruited well for that ice sheet. They know how to use the five-man cycle. They know how to manage the puck. They know how to do all those things out there.” 

GABINET: “I thought at times we were better on Saturday than on Friday. But again, it’s not good enough.” 

GABINET: “Five minutes or seven minutes of good hockey doesn’t last against a top team in the country. You’ve gotta be able to do that consistently for 60 minutes and then you have a chance at success.”

ON THE OPPORTUNITY TO ATONE AGAINST ST. CLOUD IN FEBRUARY...

GABINET: “I think you’ve gotta get hungry. That’s the competitive nature that you have to have. If you want to be successful at this level, you gotta be competitive. You gotta want to win.” 

GABINET: “I believe in our guys and we can be good too. We just have to do things that most teams won’t want to do for a chance at success.” 

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE ALASKA-ANCHORAGE SERIES AFTER THE BREAK?

GABINET: “I think it’s important. Obviously, it’ll be a quick turnaround. I think we play on the 29th. The guys are coming back on the 26th.”

GABINET: “That’s why it’s important that our guys take care of themselves over the break, and come back ready to roll here.”

GABINET: “Very, very important that we recharge in the break, but we’re focused and ready to roll here in the second half — because it’s going to go fast, and it’s going to go quick, and we gotta be ready.” 

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAYERS GOING HOME OVER CHRISTMAS BREAK...

GABINET: “I’m one of those guys that loves to work. I think I’ve seen my family — I’ll probably get emotional talking about it — but just not enough. I think I was gone for — I did the math — I saw my kids for like 18 hours over the last two weeks with the recruiting and the travel schedule. It’s crazy.”

GABINET: “Same with our guys here, they’re away. In Omaha, we’re not in a hockey hotbed where there’s a lot of people from an hour or two away, like in some other colleges. We’ve got guys from all over the world here.”

GABINET: “Very, very important that they go and spend time with their family. Those are the people that love you the most, and they know what’s really going on. I’m really excited for guys to get some time at home with their families and enjoy it.” 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Series Preview: Omaha at St. Cloud State, Dec. 7-8, 2018


UNO Hockey faces another tough test this weekend as they travel to Minnesota to face St. Cloud State on Dec. 7-8.

The Mavs are 4-8-2 overall and 2-3-1-1 in the NCHC. The Huskies are at the top of the NCHC standings and are 4-0-2-1 in conference play and 11-1-2 overall.

Coach Gabinet may not be behind the bench for the Mavs this week due to a family emergency, so Coach Jerrard filled in at the Tuesday Weekly Media Availability. 

Saturday night is also the Teddy Bear Toss.

The Mavs received some conference love this week, with two players being named to "Players of the Month" honors: Mason Morelli as Player of the Month and Taylor Ward as Rookie of the Month.



Series preview articles:

Preview article from omavs.com: 

Preview article from SCSU:
When:
Friday, 7 p.m. CT
Saturday, 6 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 NCHC.tv ($). Friday's game will be on Fox Sports North+ while Saturday's game will be on FSN. 

From Mike Jaixen's post in the MavPuck Group on Facebook:
Fox Sports Midwest will be picking up the FS North feed of this weekend's UNO at St. Cloud State series. Due to NBA and NHL coverage, Friday night's game will be on FSMW+, their overflow channel. CenturyLink Prism customers can see Friday night's game on channel 1749, while Dish Network will have it on channel 650. I'm pretty sure that DirecTV will have it somewhere, but their online guide doesn't indicate where. AFAIK, Cox does not carry FSMW+.


Saturday night's 6 pm game is scheduled to be on the regular FS Midwest channel.

Another fan chimed in that if you have the DISH sports package, it's on 412-38.

Live Audio and Stats:
Live Audio: Click here.
Live Stats: Click here.



Also be sure to check out the tenth episode of the "MavPuckCast with Jason & Jon," 
recorded last Sunday after the Colorado College series:



Next up: The UNO Hockey team will be on winter break until after Christmas. The team will face Alaska Anchorage at Baxter Arena Dec. 29 & 31.

Wrapping Up the Weekend: Colorado College Series (Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2018)


It was a mixed weekend for the Mavs. The team picked up an extra point in the NCHC standings with a shootout win on Friday night (the game was officially recorded as a 3-3 tie in NCAA standings), but lost 6-3 on Saturday night.

Taylor Ward picked up Rookie of the Week honors:

He was also named NCHC Rookie of the Month:

And Mason Morelli was named NCHC Player of the Month:




In addition, Morelli made the NCHC's Top 5 Plays of the Week:




You can hear what Jason & Jon thought about the series on the tenth episide of the MavPuckCast: 



Poll Results:
The Mavs finally got a vote in a poll this week, garnering a single vote in the USCHO poll:


USCHO poll for Monday, Dec. 5:



The Mavs haven't cracked the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine weekly poll at all this year:



Media Roundup:
Here's the OMavs story about Friday night's tie and shootout win:
https://omavs.com/news/2018/11/30/hockey-mavericks-pull-off-gritty-shootout-win-over-colorado-college.aspx

Here's Tony Boone's Friday night Omaha World-Herald article:

https://www.omaha.com/uno/hockey/uno-hockey-edges-colorado-college-in-shootout-after-skating-to/article_e7dd664e-3489-5e10-93c1-15114bb14694.html

Here's the Omavs story about Saturday night's loss:

https://omavs.com/news/2018/12/1/hockey-mavericks-drop-6-3-decision-to-colorado-college.aspx
And here's the Boone's Omaha World-Herald writeup of Saturday's win:
https://www.omaha.com/uno/hockey/mavericks-take-step-back-as-colorado-college-rolls-from-start/article_8e435380-72ab-5244-ac6c-918d939184ac.html

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

UNO Hockey Press Conference Notes – Dec. 4

Looking Ahead to This Weekend:

The Mavs go on the road to St. Cloud State University this weekend. The Huskies are currently on top of the NCHC standings, so this will be a big test for the Mavs.




Tuesday, December 4, 2018

UNO Hockey Press Conference Notes - Dec. 4, 2018


UNO Hockey Assistant Coach Paul Jerrard, senior forward Ryan Galt, and senior defenseman Jalen Schulz answered media questions as part of the “Omaha Athletics Weekly Media Availability” on Dec. 4, 2018.   

Jerrard fielded questions regarding the UNO Hockey team’s series against Colorado College on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and the upcoming series at St. Cloud State on Dec. 7 and 8 at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, MN. 

(According to Omaha World-Herald beat writer Tony Boone on 590 AM, Coach Gabinet wasn’t at the presser due to a family emergency.)

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

ON TEAM DEFENSE...

JERRARD: “My big thing on the defensive game: it’s not just the defensemen, it’s a ‘team defense’ with all five players on the ice. We’ve worked on a lot of that. We have to be stronger in some of the individual areas, defending-wise, and just some of the little subtleties — defending with the sticks and body positions are a huge thing. So those are the things that we try to promote. Again, we’ve been getting better and better at it, but it’s a work in progress.” 

HOW HAVE THE PLAYERS HANDLED THE “TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK” NATURE OF THE 2018-19 SEASON?

JERRARD: “I guess it’s kind of like all of us. You think you’re making progress some days — you never like to take that step back. But we just kind of keep pushing forward and keep drilling the same things — the same basic principles day in and day out. Hopefully — like every team in the country — you’re just trying to find that consistency. Hopefully, we’ll get that consistency as we keep moving forward.” 

FEELINGS ON THE PLAYERS RESPONSE TO THE TEAM’S DEFENSIVE GOALS — ARE THEY PICKING UP THE THINGS BEING TAUGHT?

JERRARD: “Very much so. It’s very evident in our play. As I watch the game — and as I re-watch it on video — you can see a lot of really good things happening. We’re trying to build off all the positives that we have in the games.”

JERRARD: “When there are some low-lights in the games, we use those as teaching points for the group to get better.” 

ON WORKING WITH A NEW TEAM THIS SEASON — REALITY VS. EXPECTATIONS...

JERRARD: “The reality is the reality of what we have. I knew exactly what I was getting into, expectation-wise. I was in the college game when I first started. I really cherish the opportunity to teach and help the players get better. That’s the big challenge for me — I think it’s making me a better coach. Because now I have to break down my teaching, and some of the finer points of the teaching, and have to relate it to the players who aren’t quite as experienced as the players I’ve previously coached.” 

JERRARD: “It’s a lot of fun. To me, it’s all about seeing the players grow. Wherever I have been — not so much in the National Hockey League — but when you’re talking about my previous college stint or in the American Hockey League, it’s always great to see the players get better and better.”

JERRARD: “For me, the biggest reward to the job is seeing guys get an opportunity to advance on.”

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE CEILING FOR THE MAVERICKS THIS SEASON?

JERRARD: “I think there is a lot of improvement that certainly can happen. They took over last year — Gabs’s first year — and they’ve done a great job — with him and Bernie — putting in a great foundation. We’re just trying to build upon that.”

JERRARD: “And, hopefully, as we continue to build upon that, the message has been pretty consistent throughout all three of us, day in and day out. And eventually you’re going to see the consistency of our game get better.”

THOUGHTS ON THE SERIES AT ST. CLOUD...

JERRARD: “We have to go in and focus on playing our game and doing the things that we do well. If we do that, and just focus shift-by-shift, I think we’ve got a good chance.” 

THOUGHTS ON THIS YEAR’S FRESHMEN...WARD IN PARTICULAR...

JERRARD: “Ward has been a great surprise. He’s showing his hockey smarts and his offensive ability. He’s certainly earned his spot in the lineup where he is at.”

JERRARD: “When you look at the other freshmen, they are all continuing to work. These kids are really like sponges to learn. They’re spending the extra time after practice. Extra time in the video room with either myself or Coach Noel-Bernier to get better.”

ON THE BENEFITS OF HAVING TYLER WEISS BACK IN THE LINEUP...

JERRARD: “Any time a guy gets behind a little bit in such a fast-moving league — that every team is so good in — he’s a little bit behind due to his injury, but he’s working hard to play catch-up. We expect he’ll have little growing pains like all the freshmen, but we expect him to be a real good player here as we move forward.”

ON THE IMPACT OF PLAYING ON THE OLYMPIC-SIZE ICE SHEET AT ST. CLOUD...

JERRARD: “I think a lot of the little things that we talk about day in and day out are going to be very, very important.”

JERRARD: “I think one of the big things that we have to be careful not to do — especially in our own D-zone — is not get over-extended by chasing these guys around.”

JERRARD: “We want to be real strong getting our initial contacts down low and bringing in some help. But if they start cycling around, I think we have to just play a little bit more pass and just clog up the middle of the ice on these guys.”


PLAYER THOUGHTS ON THE ST. CLOUD SERIES...

GALT: “We’re excited. There’s a different feel. I think it helps a little bit that Christmas break is coming up. We’ve been working our tails off. We worked our tails off yesterday. We came together as a group and decided that we’re gonna try to ride this one out and get a couple wins up there. Obviously, it’s St. Cloud, they are a tough team to play. So we’re doing things accordingly this week so that we prepare ourselves the best way we can.” 

SCHULZ: “It’s exciting. Especially going up against a conference team that’s number one. You always want to be the best. So to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”

SCHULZ: “It’s a good challenge for us. Especially to end out this first half.”

SCHULZ: “If we can go up there and play well, and execute, I think that’ll wrap up a decent first half.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE ST. CLOUD SERIES GOING INTO THE BREAK...

GALT: “It’s very important. Especially with the long break that we have — I think it’s 10-12 days. So you’d rather be — on those 10-12 days — on a high note, or a good mindset coming back. Rather than being down — whatever you are — coming into the second half.”

PLAYER THOUGHTS ON THE OLYMPIC-SIZE ICE SHEET AT ST. CLOUD...

SCHULZ: “We knew that St. Cloud was the only bigger sheet that we’d play on. It does add a different element to the game, because it’s their home rink, so they’re used to that extra space and time with the puck. I think everybody growing up has played on an Olympic sheet.”

GALT: “Defensively, it’s more of a challenge because they have more space to utilize. But also, offensively we still have a highly skilled offense — including the D(efense) and forwards. So that’ll benefit us as well.”

DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO PLAYING THE TOP-RANKED TEAMS?

SCHULZ: “Absolutely. These are the kind of games that it’s easy to wake up for because you’re excited to play the number one team in the country. If you can play well against them — and get a win or two — it’s definitely good for your rankings.” 

THOUGHTS ON THE TEAM LOOKING BACK AT THE FIRST PART OF THE SEASON... AND THE SATURDAY GAME AGAINST COLORADO COLLEGE...

GALT: “If Saturday didn’t happen — say Saturday wasn’t a thing — I would be talking differently, obviously. We took a few steps back there.”

GALT: “We just weren’t ready for that game. But we’ve regrouped, we’re back together. We had a meeting directly after that game — saying that literally just isn’t us as a team. So, I think we took a few steps forward in that sense, but we have to keep working on understanding who we are as a team. And work together as a unit.”

SCHULZ: “I don’t think we were really surprised at how good they were. We had talked about — after the weekend — we thought we played ‘okay’ [on Friday], but not as much on Saturday.”

SCHULZ: “Everybody had kind of talked about, ‘Well, they’re on like a four-game losing streak’ or whatever it was... yeah, they were playing some of the top teams in the country. It’s not just any other team. We knew they were a good team coming into it. I thought we were decently prepared, but we need to be better.”

GALT: “We knew they were going to be a lot better than our past three years. We did look at their schedule — and who they’ve played.”

GALT: “I would say they compare pretty well to us, CC does.”

WAS THERE A LETDOWN AFTER WINNING THE SUDDEN DEATH SHOOTOUT AGAINST CC ON FRIDAY?

SCHULZ: “That’s a huge thing in any sport. The momentum you gain from the night before — that game before — can lead into that next night. We always say that, too. Whether it’s a win or loss, your third period leads into the next night. I think they played well in that third period — and even in overtime they had some chances as well. The momentum bled over to Saturday for sure.” 

ON THE TEAM BALANCING GAME PREP AND ACADEMICS GOING INTO THE HOLIDAY BREAK...

SCHULZ: “Especially for the younger guys — it’s a bigger group, like we’ve talked about. So, this is kind of their first go-round with finals, and planning everything out accordingly. Any questions they have, they’re always coming to the older guys.”

GALT: “It’s definitely a tougher time that people don’t realize that we go through these last two weeks. During the regular season — not counting finals — it’s not too tough to balance what you’re doing with schoolwork and everything. These last couple weeks are tough just because everything starts building up. Your road trips start building up the work that you may not have completed, or didn’t get a chance to. And you kind of have to catch up a little bit. So, we’re trying to teach [the freshmen] and also teach ourselves how to balance everything.”

WILL PLAYERS GET TO GO HOME OVER THE HOLIDAY BREAK?

GALT: “It was nice. Gabs let everybody know way early — in like August or September — the times and the dates. So even the Finnish and Swedish guys get to go home — and Czech, obviously. So that’s good.”  

Friday, November 30, 2018

Series Preview: Omaha vs. Colorado College, Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at Baxter Arena


Coming off a sweep of Arizona State, the Mavs return to action at Baxter Arena for the last home series before the team's holiday break. (They will be on the road next week at St. Cloud.)

NCHC teams return to conference play this weekend. The Mavs are .500 in conference play (2-2-0) and 4-7-1 overall. The Tigers are 1-5-0 in the NCHC and are 5-6-1 overall.

Don't forget that Saturday night is the annual Sheila Leahy Toys for Tots Collection Drive. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate (or give cash) to the Marines and volunteers collecting donations.

Series preview articles:

Preview article from Omavs.com:
https://omavs.com/news/2018/11/29/hockey-mavericks-back-in-nchc-play-against-tigers.aspx

Preview article from Colorado College athletics:
https://cctigers.com/news/2018/11/28/mens-ice-hockey-tigers-travel-to-omaha-to-face-mavericks.aspx


Preview article from Colorado Springs Gazette:
https://gazette.com/sports/after-wholesome-holiday-colorado-college-tigers-hit-the-road-to/article_12fc5bde-f43c-11e8-95db-73f177ac9c37.html

Preview article from the Omaha World-Herald:
https://www.omaha.com/uno/hockey/poor-start-behind-them-mavs-enter-series-with-colorado-college/article_1efd3e67-f571-55f5-a972-e8e12b50e33c.htmlWhen:
Friday, 7:05 p.m. CT (Harry Potter Night – kids in costume get in free with paid adult admission)
Saturday, 7:05 p.m. CT (Toys for Tots night – bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate, or give cash!)

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 NCHC.tv ($).

Live Audio and Stats:
Live Audio: Click here.
Live Stats: Click here.

Also, be sure to check out this week's episode of the MavPuckCast with Jason & Jon:




Next up: UNO Hockey continues in conference play next weekend at St. Cloud State.


UNO Blue Line Club’s “Dinner With The Mavs”: Fellowship and Fun With Our Favorite Team

Photo credit: Roger Humphries

Fans had an opportunity to dine with the University of Nebraska at Omaha Maverick Hockey team on Nov. 29 at Anthony’s Steakhouse.

The evening event — dubbed “Dinner With The Mavs” — was reminiscent of Blue Line Club luncheons of yore. 

Terry Leahy served as emcee for the event. Leahy provides color commentary on UNO Hockey radio broadcasts, has an encyclopedic knowledge of local hockey history, and is a good friend. 

Photo credit: Roger Humphries

UNO Hockey Blue Line Club President Roger Humphries also addressed the attendees. Humphries is a passionate fan who is involved in civic organizations throughout the Omaha area. He serves on Bridget’s marketing/membership committee and on the Omaha Press Club Board of Directors.

Photo credit: Chris Humphries

Coach Mike Gabinet traveled around the dining hall and greeted fans as they settled in at their tables. He thanked participants for coming out the the event. 

Photo credit: Roger Humphries

One of the things I think is crucial for the health of a collegiate athletic program is for the fan base to feel invested in the team. 

All too often, the “fan experience” in major athletics is relegated to what happens in the arena of competition — the experience doesn’t typically extend beyond the games. 

The “Dinner WIth The Mavs” gave fans an opportunity to dine with the team (a player or two sat at each table). We felt fortunate to have senior goaltender Alex Blankenburg at our table, and enjoyed visiting with him during the event. 

My apologies for this blurry selfie I tried to take in the dim light of Anthony's:


The buffet-style dinner is the first of two the BLC will hold this season. The next event will be on Thursday, Feb. 28. 

There was a 50/50 raffle at the door, and fans were able to bid on silent auction items, which included this autographed helmet:


I know the UNO Blue Line Club has been attempting to do an “in-season” dinner event like this for a few years now. The nice thing about an evening event (as opposed to a luncheon) is that it gives busy professionals a chance to attend. 

With work, meetings, and family commitments, we haven't been able to attend the luncheons in recent years, so an evening format worked out well. 

Bridget and I had a nice time. I hope that the UNO Blue Line Club (and the UNO Hockey program) continues to do events such as this — giving fans a chance to learn more about the program and commune with the team. 

It makes a difference knowing the young men you are cheering for on a perennial basis.