Thursday, February 28, 2019

Wrapping Up The Weekend: St. Cloud Series (Feb. 22-23, 2019)

By Jon Brooks

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...” 
— Charles Dickens

The UNO Hockey program faced St. Cloud State in its second-to-last home series of the regular season on Feb. 22-23. The Huskies came in sitting in first place in the NCHC, and were ranked #1 in the major college hockey polls. 

Going into the series, Omaha had gone 0-6 against the Huskies in the previous three series the teams played. 

Unfortunately, the losing streak continued. St. Cloud swept UNO at Baxter Arena 4-1 on Friday, and 5-0 on Saturday. 

Despite the team’s struggles, a few hundred fans braved a blizzard warning to watch the Saturday game (in what might be a record-low turnout for a UNO Hockey home game). 

Those of you who know Bridget and I know we’ve never missed a UNO Hockey home game in the program’s 22-year history. By my count, that’s 461 straight since 1997. 

When we arrived to our seats in Section 216 on Saturday evening, someone from UNO had placed these signs on our five seats:

It was awfully nice of UNO to recognize our attendance streak, and the gesture brought Bridget to tears as we walked up the stairs to our seats on Saturday:

You might assume the “fondest memories” come from the seasons where the hockey team does well. While those seasons are terrific, sometimes the most memorable seasons are those where the team struggles. 

When the wins don’t come as easily, they tend to be more special. In a way, the Mavs’ struggles become your struggles when you pour your heart and soul into following the team. 

In order to preserve a 461-game attendance streak, we’ve missed weddings, family events, and have even arranged funerals around hockey. Part of the reason we have the streak is because we want to experience every moment we can as fans. 

Being self-employed has helped that cause. We’ve also stayed healthy throughout the years. It certainly isn’t an expectation we have for every fan. 

There are a few more weekends left in the season. I would encourage fans to cherish those moments — even if things don’t go our way. 

UNO faces Denver on March 1-2 at Baxter Arena — the final regular season home series. As is the case with St. Cloud, UNO has struggled with the Pioneers in recent years. The seniors have never been victorious against DU. 

Even though UNO has struggled this season, there is still a lot for them to play for this weekend. Having success the next two series could put UNO in a better position in the conference playoffs.

Want more analysis of the St. Cloud series? Want a preview of the DU series? Want to catch up on #OldBull Anthony Stolarz and hear about #FutureBull Josh Boyer? Then check out this week’s episode of the “Mavpuckcast with Jason & Jon”...! 

You can read the write-up from this week's Weekly Media Availability here and hear what Coach Gabinet and players Taylor Ward and Dean Stewart had to say about the series.


Goaltender Evan Weninger stonewalled Jack Poehling and made the NCHC’s Top Plays of the week, coming in at #2 (starts at the 1:18 mark):


The Mavericks take on Denver this weekend at Baxter Arena. The Pioneers played a make-up game with Colorado College on Tuesday, coming away with a 1-0 win. It's a short turnaround for DU with the trip to Omaha, but the Pioneers are 18-8-4 overall (10-8-2-2 in conference), while the Mavs are 9-19-2 (5-14-1 in conference play). 

Denver split with Miami last weekend, losing 3-1 Friday before coming back with a 5-2 win on Saturday.


UNO dropped a spot to #42 in the Pairwise after the weekend:

UNO again did not receive votes in either the or USA Today/USA Hockey Coaches’ Polls.

The Mavs are currently in last place in the NCHC standings with 17 points. St. Cloud clinched the Penrose Cup with the UNO sweep. 

2019 Recruit: Kaden Bohlsen (F) - Fargo Force

The UNO Hockey program just received its fourth verbal commitment of 2019 with the announcement that forward Kaden Bohlsen of the Fargo Force will be joining the team. 

Bohlsen was originally committed to Minnesota during Don Lucia's tenure as head coach (he committed in 2016 at age 15).  

Like recent commit Tyler Rollwagen, Bohlsen played for the prestigious Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minn., prior to joining the USHL ranks. He was born Jan. 10, 2001. 

The Wilmar, Minn., native had 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) with the Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep team before joining the Des Moines Buccaneers at the mid-point last season. Bohlsen was picked 10th in the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft (the league’s “underage” draft). 

During his stint with Des Moines, Bohlsen had 8 goals and 7 assists in 52 games (over the past two seasons). He currently has 3 goals and 1 assist with Fargo in 17 games (Bohlsen joined the Force as part of a trade on Jan. 8, 2019).

He also helped Team West to a victory with a goal in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January. 

The Minneapolis Star Tribune predicted (in a 2016 blog post) that Bohlsen would suit up for the Gophers in 2019. Heisenberg’s recruiting database had him listed as a 2020 arrival for Minnesota. We’ll see when he lands in Omaha. 

Bohlsen looks to be a big forward who can be a solid presence on the ice for Omaha (in both the offensive and defensive zones). As the coaching staff tries to refurbish the Mavericks over the course of the next couple seasons, the team needs puck handlers who can create scoring opportunities. It sounds like Bohlsen has that sort of awareness and will bring a strong hockey IQ to the lineup.  

The Mavs need all the help they can get in the “meat grinder” that is the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Bohlsen will be able to showcase his talents in what is currently the best conference in college hockey.

KWLM radio in Willmar has had some nice coverage over the past few years of Bohlsen and his family. 

> “Bohlsen The Buccaneer” (includes audio interview with Kaden):

> “Bohlsen Commits to Playing for the Gophers”:

> “Bohlsen is 10th Overall Pick in USHL Draft”:

> “A Hockey Mom’s Perspective” (insightful profile with Kaden’s mom Shannon):

> “Bohlsen Playing in All-American Prospects Game”:

> “Interview with Des Moines Director of Player Personnel” (interview re: Kaden):

As mentioned, Bohlsen is the fourth new commit for UNO in 2019. Matt Miller, Tyler Rollwagen, and Nolan Krenzen are the others. It is an intriguing group Gabinet, Noel-Bernier, and Jerrard are putting together. 

As always, stay tuned to for all of our recruiting updates. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

UNO Hockey Press Conference Notes - Feb. 26, 2019

UNO Hockey Coach Mike Gabinet, freshman forward Taylor Ward, and junior defenseman Dean Stewart answered media questions as part of the “Omaha Athletics Weekly Media Availability” on Feb. 26, 2019.   

Gabinet & Co. fielded questions regarding the UNO Hockey team’s series against St. Cloud on Feb. 22-23, and the upcoming series against Denver on March 1-2 at Baxter Arena. 

If you would like to watch the hockey news conference (starting at the 21:50 mark), you can do so here.


GABINET: “It’s gone by fast. The season seems like a long season, and then all the sudden you’re in your last home series of the regular season. Excited to finish off on a good note here and get Denver in town. Obviously, they’re a good team and [we’re] looking forward to the challenge.”


GABINET: “It’s a special group. Anytime you have a big group like we’ve had… They’ve done a lot for the program, and so you definitely want to finish on a strong weekend for them here at home.”

GABINET: “We’re thankful and grateful for all they’ve contributed to the program in helping set the foundation moving forward here. We’ll definitely miss a lot of those guys who are graduating.”


GABINET: “As in life, there’s going to be some ups and downs. So, I think, hopefully what they’ve experienced is some good stuff they can move in their careers moving forward here, as human beings and hockey players, and realize maybe how they felt when the highs were the highs and how they felt when the lows were the lows.” 

GABINET: “What I’m most worried about is what their response is to those feelings and how they react moving forward when they face some adversity or they have some things going well for them.”


GABINET: “I can’t think back that far to when I was a senior. First off, it all comes down to what is your definition of success. If you’re just looking at wins and losses, then maybe you’re looking at it as a disappointing season. If you’re looking at it playing the hardest schedule in the history of the program, and are you improving, and are you getting better individually and collectively, then maybe you have a different answer. So, it just depends on what your view is of success and non-success.”

GABINET: “For me, the season is a long ways from over, and we’ve still gotta couple tough practices even before we get going here for Friday night. Again, you have to be short term in some of your thinking, and you have to understand the arena you live in when you play at this competitive level, and you can’t necessarily worry about how people are going to reflect on the season or reflecting back on to my senior season. I think you have to draw on some past experiences from them and move forward.”

GABINET: “But I don’t think you can engulf yourself on what are people going to think about it five years from now. Because then you’re worried about what other people think, and in our line of business, if you worry about other people thinking, it’s gonna be a tough go for you, day in and day out. You’ve gotta really be focused on yourself and not worried about what your ego thinks about what other people think of you, and what are you doing to get better, how are you helping players get better, and it’s a tough task to do. Because you are always susceptible to other people’s opinions.”

GABINET: “For me, the thing the seniors gotta do is not worry about how they’re going to reflect on their senior year, but what they’re doing right now. Hey, they’re still in their senior year, they’ve got another month at least left to go here.”


GABINET: “I’ve definitely been nicer to some of my players because maybe — like with Paul Jerrard — I’ll be working for them one day.”

GABINET: “I think right now, their immediate focus is continuing to play. I think at that age, that’s all our focus was. You’re obviously trying to take care of your schooling and make sure you graduate properly. But, really, you’re probably focusing on your next chapter with your playing career for most of these guys. I think some guys will stick around Omaha, too, which will be exciting to see them around.”

GABINET: “I’m just gonna talk about our leadership group a little bit. Jalen Schulz and Mason Morelli and Freddy Olofsson. I think they’ve really grown in the three years that I’ve gotten to know them. Not only on ice, but off ice. To me, that’s pretty special when they’re learning how to be leaders, and just to see — not only their physical development — but some of the mental development for different individuals.”

GABINET: “I’ve seen Freddy really, really grow in his mental development on how to handle situations in what he’s improving on. You see Jalen Schulz, who is sometimes not a regular in the lineup, yet to me he’s one of my favorite players. That’s because of his day-to-day activity and the intensity he brings to practice and the team-first mentality. That’s a rare trait today. So those are guys that you’re cheering for in life.”

GABINET: “And then Mason Morelli, just his sheer work ethic and we got a lotta guys that I think — freshman guys — that don’t know what hard work means yet. And they’ve got a lot to learn in that category. And all they gotta do is look to the left or the right in the locker room and watch Mason Morelli a little bit in his preparation and his daily habits. So, for those guys, I’m definitely grateful for, and proud of them for all the accomplishments they’ve made.”

GABINET: “And they’re not done yet, though. They’ve got lots of work left to do before their senior year is over.”


GABINET: “It’s interesting when some of these real successful athletes really have that kind of super-competitive mentality that ‘I’m gonna prove people wrong.’ That’s what we need to develop here a little bit, too. Maybe you don’t come in as the highly-touted recruit as some of these other programs do, you’re here, you’re in the same game as these guys, you get to play on the same ice as these guys. What are you doing, though, to give yourself a chance to be better than these guys.”

GABINET: “And if showing up and going through the motions is your answer, it’s not gonna work out for you. But if you’re willing to sacrifice more, out-compete somebody, outwork somebody, get up earlier, train harder, you gotta chance to be better than them eventually down the road. It might not start off right away, but you’ve got a chance to grow and get better. And that’s what our group needs to continue to do. We have to be hungry, we can’t be satisfied by just being in close games, or showing up. Sure, they might have more talent than us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t outwork them or out-compete them. Our work ethic has been good. Now we’ve just gotta keep taking those steps.”

GABINET: “As a head coach, you have to have emotional control. But I really, really don’t like losing, and it’s hard. It’s hard after the game. You’re frustrated, you’re mad. You’re mad at everybody. You can’t pass that onto your players all the time. I don’t want to lose hockey games, I want to win hockey games.”

GABINET: “Now again, when you look at the effort and you look at guys, they’re playing their hearts out and they’re working hard, they’re competing, they’re not trying to make mistakes. That’s where you gotta keep working with them and keep trying to get better. But in the same breath, am I doing everything I can as a coach? No, I can be better.”


GABINET: “Just talking to some people after the games, they were pretty impressed with the way they played the game. Obviously, their talent level and compete level and skill level and 5-mans moving, the way they pass the puck and execute. I mean, shots are 30 to 30 and it’s five-nothing them.”

GABINET: “That’s something that again I think, though, we can learn from. We you see the structure and the makeup of an elite team and what they do well, well that’s a good blueprint to try to model yourself after and take some of those tendencies that they do well.”

GABINET: “For me, each one of their players has at least two high-high skills. Where if they’re highly skilled, they’re also highly competitive. If they can skate, they can think.” 


GABINET: “To me, you have to have a competitive environment. One of the toughest things to do as a coach is to hold guys accountable when there is not somebody there pushing for their next spot. I think that’s something that the great programs have.”


STEWART: “I think we’re excited — especially the older guys. We haven’t really had our way with Denver over the past couple years.”

STEWART: “Obviously, earlier this year, we had a really good chance to beat them the one night there — and even played pretty good both nights — and thought we almost could have swept them.”

WARD: “Coming in, I kind of heard some of the stories about what the seniors have been going through. Now this is their fourth year of not beating those guys yet. It’s a little more about playing for those guys. Obviously, we always want to get the win every night. That series is a little bit more special just because you want to do it for those guys and get a win for those guys. And it’s no different this weekend.”

WARD: “The last series against Denver didn’t really go how we planned, but we’re looking forward to hosting them in our building.”

WARD: “It’s senior weekend, so that’ll be pretty special.”


STEWART: “Just trying to move up as far as we can and hopefully get a good matchup for the first round of playoffs.”

STEWART: “I don’t think we’re too worried. We’ve played against every team in our league now, and we know we can play with anybody.”

STEWART: “Our main focus right now is just to try and get a couple more wins before (the) playoffs.”

WARD: “The next few weekends are going to be pretty important for the standings, going into playoffs. I think that we’re just more worried about how we’re playing rather than about who we’re playing.”

WARD: “Just trying to play 60 minutes of our best hockey. I think that if we do that, then we can beat anybody in our league. That’s just been one of our main problems is not playing a full 60 minutes. So that’s really what we’re focused on right now.”


STEWART: “I think we’re still confident that we can make a good run here. Obviously, if we move up one spot, we’ll be playing (as of right now) Western Michigan. We’re 2-2 against them so far this year.”

WARD: “I don’t think any of us are looking past this year. I don’t think anybody in the room — especially the young guys — are thinking about next year or the summer or anything like that.”

WARD: “We’re not done with this season yet. I don’t think that any of us are giving up on this season yet. Because, like Dean said, anything can happen in the playoffs. We’re just worried about this weekend — trying to string together a couple wins — and then what happens, happens in the standings.”


STEWART: “I think that the biggest thing is some of the stuff that you guys don’t even see, to be honest. Just having guys like Mason Morelli and Ryan Galt and Schul-ly (Jalen Schulz). I mean, all 10 of them are just so good in the locker room. You don’t even have to speak about some of the things those guys contribute to on the ice.”

STEWART: “They’re just such good role models and have just set such a good example and contributed to the culture that we’re trying to establish here.”

WARD: “Obviously, you can see what they do on the ice. But most of the stuff that they’ve taught me has been stuff off the ice. How to present yourself in the community — and the things that they do in the community that nobody else sees — has been really cool to see. They’re a really, really good group of guys.”


WARD: “Those guys are two really, really smart hockey players. But it’s really cool to see how they bounce ideas off of other players and me. We talk about certain things — tendencies that we might think an opponent might do and how we might capitalize on it.” 

WARD: “It’s really cool to see how they think.”

WARD: “I’ve learned so much about taking what the other team does into account and making sure that you capitalize on tendencies or mistakes that you think that they might make.”

WARD: “We do talk about certain little plays, but we don’t worry too much about it. Because we want to worry about making sure that we play the way that we know we can play.”

Monday, February 25, 2019

2019 Recruit: Nolan Krenzen (D) - Sioux City Musketeers

UNO Hockey has its third commitment in 2019 with the Feb. 25 announcement by defenseman Nolan Krenzen that he has verbally committed to the Mavericks. 

We are assuming (based on the information on that Krenzen will join UNO for the 2020-21 season. He is from Duluth, MN, and currently plays junior hockey for the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL). 

He will be 19 when he joins the Mavericks in 2020. 

Fun fact: Krenzen second incoming UNO recruit with the first name “Nolan” (the other is forward Nolan Sullivan). 

This is the second Musketeer player to commit to UNO in 2019. The first commit was forward Matt Miller (read the MavPuck profile of Miller here) who was previously committed to Michigan State University (Big Ten). 

UNO has a number of recruits coming in the next two seasons who were previously committed to other schools. 

Sioux City Head Coach Luke Strand told the Sioux City Journal that Krenzen is a “great skating defenseman that possesses offense and plays with edge as a rookie.”

Prior to joining the Musketeers, Krenzen played for Duluth Marshall School, where he tallied a total of 12 goals and 25 assists in two seasons with the Hilltoppers. 

As of this writing, Krenzen has 4 goals and 5 assists in 44 games with Sioux City, ranking him 17th on the team in points this season. 

Scoring prowess isn’t necessarily what a team is looking for when it comes to a capable defenseman. That said, UNO has struggled this season with limited offensive production from its D-corps. 

We’re hoping have a chance to see Krenzen in action when UNO’s season concludes — checking out how he plays and how he’s used on special teams (Krenzen has a pair of power play goals this season). 

We’ll do a recruiting roundup during the offseason with all the vitals on UNO’s incoming recruiting classes. 

In the meantime, stay tuned for all our recruiting news!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Series Preview: Omaha vs. St. Cloud, Feb. 22-23, 2019 at Baxter Arena

UNO Hockey is 0-6 against St. Cloud State since our niece Lauren started attending SCSU in Fall 2017. She'll be back this weekend to sit in Section 216 with us, probably wearing Huskies gear while cheering for both teams. We watched St. Cloud sweep UNO when we made the trip up to Minnesota in early December.

Buckle up, Maverick hockey fans. It's #HateState week.

But it's hard to hate on the Huskies. They're a really good team this year. St. Cloud State is in first place in the national polls and the conference with an overall record of 21-4-3 and a record of 13-2-3-1/1 in the NCHC. 

The Mavs split a pair of games with Miami two weeks ago, winning on Friday, but losing on Saturday. St. Cloud played Colorado College two weeks ago, and the Tigers put the pressure on the Huskies, taking both games to overtime. SCSU beat CC in a 3-on-3 overtime on Friday, and the Huskies also beat the Tigers on Saturday (but in the 5-minute overtime period).

We'll see if the Mavs can cause similar problems for the Huskies.

You can read what Coach Gabinet and players Ryan Galt and Zach Jordan had to say in an abbreviated "Weekly Media Availability" interview this week.
One note for fans: UNO decided to schedule a “Skate With the Mavs” after all. It will be held Sunday at Baxter Arena. The cost is $5 per child (the event is for kids 12 and under). More information here.
Series preview articles:

> Friday, 7:07 p.m. CT
> Saturday, 7:07 p.m. CT

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. Pre-game coverage begins 30 minutes prior to face off. 

> Friday and Saturday's games will be streamed on ($)

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

Also be sure to check out the 18th episode of the “MavPuckCast with Jason & Jon.” This week's segments: Red Hawk Clippings, Odds & Ends, Mavs v. Huskies

Next up: The UNO Hockey team is back at Baxter Arena on March 1-2 vs. Denver.

UNO Hockey Press Conference Notes - Feb. 19, 2019

UNO Hockey 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 Feb. 19, 2019.   

The three fielded questions regarding the UNO Hockey team’s bye week and the upcoming series against St. Cloud State on Feb. 22-23 at Baxter Arena. 

According to the @OmahaVid Twitter account, the university was not able to live stream the press conference due to another event at the arena. 

So, they posted a heavily truncated 4-minute version instead. 

If you would like to watch the video (starting at the 5:35 mark), you can do so here.


GABINET: "Nice to get a break in the off week there. Hadn’t had a break since Christmastime, so I think it was really good for the guys to recharge and kind of refocus and have a little bit of time to teach and to recover, so definitely used the week to our advantage there and I thought the guys did a great job preparing for this week and now we’ve got the number one team in the country coming to town, so an exciting week for us to prepare for."


GABINET: "I think sometimes we take it for granted a little bit in our conference because we are constantly playing a third-ranked team or a first-ranked team but you have to think if Alabama was coming to play Nebraska football, it would be a pretty big occasion, or if our basketball team was playing the number one team in the country, and I think because of our strength of schedule, sometimes it gets overlooked as to how good of opponents we get here and so it’s something we hope our fans are really excited about. I know our guys are looking forward to the challenge, but it’s a big deal when the number one team in the country comes to play you."


GABINET: "I think it’s been a nice, you know, when the guys start to see some of the results of the commitment level that you have to have in order to succeed in this conference, at this level, and they start to get a little bit of a taste of that — that if I do these certain things, I’m starting to get rewarded for that, and I think it’s been that kind of a constant small steps in the second half here, so they have to continue with that mindset, that it’s not going to be easy when you’re facing the number one team in the country, there’s going to be setbacks, and adversity, and you’ve got to be ready to handle that, but it’s nice to see the guys slowly building that resiliency that’s really going to serve us well down the home stretch here."


GABINET: "Well, first off, if you just watch them play, just their ability to skate. We were just watching film before this here and their fourth and third line can absolutely fly out there and they are very, very tenacious on pucks, can move. They’ve done a very good job recruiting over the last several years and it’s paying off for them now. They have the ability to constantly be moving. They run a bunch of five man cycles and are constantly moving around the ice, so it’s very difficult to defend against. They spend a lot of time in other teams’ defensive zones, and with their ability to move and skate like that, it tires other teams out so they do a lot of good things, their compete level is high, but it’s a good challenge for us too. We’ve improved on that, we’re focused on that, so we’re ready for the opportunity to play these guys."


GALT: "It’s exciting. The seniors last year always describe it that way, where it kind of hits you when you don’t really expect it and it’s kind of true, but this year is a little bit different. We were in a better position last year at this time, like standings-wise, but this year is a little bit different because we’ve seen some absolute progression over this year, compared to last year, where we were good off the start and the finish. Where we didn’t have a great start this year, but seeing this team progress it’s really exciting to see what we can do here in the next month."

JORDAN: "I agree with Ryan. I think in the first half there were instances where we were playing the right way, and I think right now it’s just everybody is buying in and playing to their role much better, and it’s more like 55 minutes out of 60, not 20 [minutes] out of 60 and we’re starting to see even against Miami, we played well that Saturday night game — we lost, what 4-2, we played well for 50 minutes. Ten minutes we weren’t there, and I mean it just goes to show how close this league is and how quick things can happen [to] bury you. I think right now with us playing more and more consistently for more minutes of the game, it’s just going to keep get better for us."


GALT: "That’s how it works in this league. We’ve had the toughest schedule in UNO history, I think, three or four years running. And so every year it just gets harder for our team, but it also develops us even better. And it’s exciting to bring all these teams in here, but also, like we’re a really good team too — if we weren’t playing these teams, if say we were in the Hockey East, we’d be in the top 15 as well, just beating those other teams. So it’s tough playing St. Cloud, and Western, and Duluth and I think a lot of those teams from different leagues, say, “Oh, crap, we’re playing UNO, because they’re from the NCHC.” It’s just a high skilled league."

Friday, February 15, 2019

Wrapping Up The Weekend: Miami Series (Feb. 8-9, 2019)

By Connor Willingham


No, I’m not talking about the mascot. I’m talking about last weekend series. In two brutally fought battles against Miami University, the UNO hockey team was able to split with the RedHawks.

Friday’s game saw another standout performance from now three-time NCHC Goaltender of the Week Evan Weninger. Weninger stopped all 38 shots faced to surpass 3,000 career saves and is now rapidly approaching Dan Ellis’ career save record. Even though Miami dominated possession most of the night, the Mavs were able to stop the RedHawk offense while scoring three goals of their own, starting with a power play goal by Teemu Pulkkinen in the second period. The Mavs were able to wrap this one with two goals in the third with Ryan Galt and Mason Morelli (empty net goal).

Arguably, UNO played better on Saturday night. That said, they got behind early in the first period with two goals from Miami, and Weninger did not get in to a solid rhythm. The RedHawks also started off the second period with a goal before two goals from Chayse Primeau and Jalen Schulz narrowed the score to 3-2. The Mavs did not score again, however, and an insurance goal by Miami’s Josh Melnick sealed the deal. Saturday night’s win by Miami was their first non-exhibition win since November 17.

While many were hopeful for a sweep, a split by the Mavericks keeps them from hitting the bottom of the NCHC standings, crucial for any NCHC tournament run. UNO now has a bye week to rest up from last weekend’s battle before Saint Cloud State, ranked number one in the pairwise, comes to Baxter Arena.

Want more analysis about last weekend? Want a preview of the St. Cloud State series? Want to hear Jon (mistakenly) refer to Miami as the top team in the NCHC not once but twice? Then listen to the Mavpuckcast with Jason and Jon

Colorado College put up a much bigger fight than expected against St. Cloud State, taking both games to overtime, showing once again how competitive each NCHC team can be every night. In the end, St. Cloud State “won the tie” in 3-on-3 OT on Friday, while winning outright in the first overtime on Saturday.

NCHC foes Denver, North Dakota, Duluth and Western all had bye weeks last weekend.

UNO goaltender Evan Weninger was named the Bauer NCHC Goaltender of the Week for his heroics in the Miami series

UNO remains 41st in the Pairwise rankings and — barring any surprises — will stay around that ranking. Complete list:

UNO did not receive votes in either the or USAToday/USA Hockey Mazagine polls.

UNO remains at 7th in the NCHC. 

Connor Willingham is a periodic contributor to and a moderator of the Mavpuck Facebook group. He graduated from UNO in 2014 and is an avid follower of UNO and college hockey. You can find him on Twitter at @INTLMAV.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

UNO Hockey Recruiting Update (Feb. 2019)

Back on Nov. 7 (remember that far back?) we posted a look at UNO Hockey’s recruits for 2019 and beyond. 

In the intervening months, we’ve written individual profiles of the incoming recruits who have committed to UNO since our November update was published. You can read those write-ups at the following links:

It will be interesting to see when the various recruits land at UNO. Some of the 2019 class signed NLIs last November during the early signing period (the next signing period for D-I hockey begins in April). 

The ideal roster size is 26-28 players per season. UNO’s freshman class for the 2019-20 season will be rather large, if the commitments below hold. UNO has 10 departing seniors from this year’s roster, but 12 (or more) players projected as coming in the fall. In addition, UNO is likely to add another goaltender in the spring, since both Evan Weninger and Alex Blankenburg are seniors.

Years ago, I remember David Quinn — a UNO assistant at the time — talked about trying to achieve “balance” in recruiting classes. The goal was to have six or seven players per class — meaning the roster wouldn’t be gutted after any particular class graduated. 

Since our comprehensive recruiting update last fall, there have been some changes to the classes. Here’s how 2019 is looking (as of the publication of this blog post):


Josh Boyer - Madison (USHL) - signed NLI
Joey Abate - Youngstown (USHL) - signed NLI
Nolan Sullivan - Muskegon (USHL) - signed NLI
Noah Prokop - Green Bay (USHL) - signed NLI
ADDED - Ryan Brushett - Powell River (USHL) - Signed NLI
ADDED - Matt Miller - Sioux City (USHL) - committed Jan. 7, 2019
ADDED - Brock Bremer - Muskegon/Lincoln (USHL) - committed Nov. 15, 2019

Alexandre Roy - Jamestown (NAHL) - signed NLI
Colby Enns - Central Illinois (USHL) - signed NLI
ADDED - Kirby Proctor - Des Moines (USHL) - signed NLI
ADDED - Brandon Scanlin - Brooks (AJHL) - signed NLI

Isaiah Saville - Tri-City (USHL) - signed NLI

This list has changed a bit since November. Davis Pennington was listed as part of the 2019 class, but he looks to be part of the 2020-21 class now. In addition, Jack Clement was originally listed for 2019, but he will be attending Miami (OH) in the fall. 

Our working assumption is that both Bremer and Miller (added to the “Forwards” list) will join UNO as part of the 2019-20 class, but neither has signed a National Letter of Intent with the team (as far as we can tell in our research). 


Statistically speaking, here is what the 2019-20 recruits look like (at the time of this writing at 1 p.m. on Feb. 14, 2019):

Josh Boyer - In 40 games: 9 goals, 9 assists (3rd on Madison in points) | -14 
Joey Abate - In 39 games: 9 goals, 13 assists (7th on Youngstown in points) | -11 
Nolan Sullivan - In 42 games: 14 goals, 4 assists (11th on Muskegon in points) | +8 
Noah Prokop - In 39 games: 9 goals, 5 assists (10th on Green Bay in points) | -17 
Ryan Brushett - In 51 games: 37 goals, 38 assists (1st on Powell River in points) | N/A
Matt Miller - In 37 games: 11 goals, 11 assists (5th on Sioux City in points) | +1 
Brock Bremer - In 39 games (was traded to Lincoln mid season): 11 goals, 14 assists | +1 

Alexandre Roy - In 44 games: 3 goals, 16 assists (10th on Jamestown in points) | +11
Colby Enns - In 39 games: 3 goals, 7 assists (16th on Central Illinois in points) | -9 
Kirby Proctor - In 42 games: 1 goal, 14 assists (10th on Des Moine in points) | +6 
Brandon Scanlin - In 33 games: 14 goals, 18 assists (14th on Brooks in points) | +3

Isaiah Saville - In 23 games, has a 1.76 GAA and a .934 save % (stopping 553 of 592 shots)

When you look at the forwards slated to come in next season, the player who stands out in terms of pure point production is Ryan Brushett — the top point producer in the BCHL with 37 goals and 38 assists (in 51 games). 

Brushett is a ‘98 birthday, so he is older than some of his peers in the league (this is his fourth season playing junior hockey — one season in the USHL, three seasons in the BCHL). He was originally a Providence commit (May 2015). 

The rest of the skaters on the list (all playing in the USHL) don’t rank higher than 70th in the USHL in terms of total points (Bremer is ranked 70th as of this writing). 

Nolan Sullivan is 37th in the USHL in goals. Bremer is 58th in the league in goals. Miller is ranked 60th in goals. Abate is 84th. Boyer is 88th. Prokop is 91st. 

Saville is the lone goalie commit (so far) for 2019-20. He hasn’t played since Jan. 19 (injury). Saville did make NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings (read our post “UNO Recruits Saville, Proctor in NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Player Rankings” for more information). 



Lukas Sillinger - Penticton (BCHL)
Oliver MacDonald - Muskegon (USHL)
Zach Michaelis - Chaska (HS)
Blaine Warnert -  Chaska (HS) / Fargo Force (USHL)
Davis Pennington - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (NAHL)
ADDED Vincent Nardone - Flin Flon (SJHL)
ADDED Tyler Rollwagen - Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Prep)

Greg Japchen - Wilkes-Barre (NAHL)


Cameron Berg - Omaha (USHL)

Griffin Ludtke - Lakeville South (HS) 

We’ve profiled both players listed as “ADDED” in the 2020-21 class — Nardone and Rollwagen. There is some debate as to when Rollwagen will arrive at UNO (three different recruiting sites have three different years). Rollwagen has 14 goals and 43 assists with Shattuck-St. Mary’s as of this writing. Nardone has 17 goals and 20 assists in his rookie season with Flin Flon (SJHL).

The rest of the 2020s are a mixture of junior players and high school prospects. Sillinger has 14 goals and 6 assists for the Penticton Vees this season (which ranks him 5th on the team in goals, and 12th in total points).


The big question with the 2019-20 recruiting class is whether they can provide immediate aid to a UNO team that has struggled in the 2018-19 campaign. 

Anywhere from a third to a half of the roster next season will be newcomers. 

With UNO looking at one of the largest freshman classes in recent history, it will be fascinating to see how the team fares next season. 

It is possible that a fresh look will be just what the doctor ordered to help remedy UNO's woes this season. Only time will tell, but it will be exciting to see how the new pieces fit into the lineup next season. 

We'll be back to do an update after the season is over.