Following a “revenge sweep” of Niagara to open a four weekend homestand at Baxter Arena, the Mavericks next face off with the Buckeyes of Ohio State on Oct. 27-28. Currently Omaha is ranked no. 20 in the USCHO.com weekly poll, and Ohio State is ranked no. 16.
Omaha had a bye week last weekend, allowing the players a little more time for recovery and a little more time with video, Associate Coach Peter Aubry noted in the weekly press conference. Assistant captain Matt Miller will hopefully be back in the lineup after missing the Saturday game of the Niagara series.
Aubry assessed the Ohio State squad, saying they are "pretty well rounded and pretty hard-nosed. Good defensively through the middle.” He noted the Buckeyes bounced back well last Saturday night (2-2 tie with a shootout win) after being beaten by Michigan 7-1 on Friday.
Defenseman Kirby Proctor echoed Coach Aubry, saying Ohio State is a “good team, but we’re trying to make this weekend about us.” He said the team is “focused on the process” and “doing the right things.” Proctor said the bye week was “nice to continue to build on concepts and things like that while we had some time.” He added it allowed for “some rest and recovery [to be able to] take care of our bodies early in the year.”
Highlighting the importance of non-conference games in setting the team up for post-season play, Proctor said the team wants to “represent the conference well. It affects the Pairwise. Every out-of-conference weekend is big.”
For “vintage Mavericks,” the head coach of the Buckeyes is familiar. Steve Rohlik was an original (“oldbull”) member of the Maverick coaching staff when the program started in 1997. He was on the UNO staff for three years before joining Minnesota-Duluth in 2000. He was elevated to the Ohio State head coach role in 2013.
Ohio State is 2-1-2 on the year. Omaha is 2-0-0.
Ohio State and Omaha were together in the CCHA for 11 seasons. Omaha leads Ohio State in the all-time series, 18-14-5, including 11-3-3 in Omaha. In their most recent matchup — in Columbus Oct. 18-19, 2019 — the teams split, with Ohio State taking the first game 3-2 and Omaha taking the second game 2-1.
In our previous series preview, we noted that “Offense will be the question mark for Omaha in this series.” That question was answered somewhat in Friday night’s game, when eight different Mavericks scored (Tanner Ludtke, Zach Urdahl, Dominic Vidoli, Ray Fust, Nolan Sullivan, Joaquim Lemay, Tyler Rollwagen, and Jesse Lansdell) in the 8-1 victory. Saturday’s 2-1 victory saw goals from Griffin Ludtke and Lemay.
Goaltenders Simon Latkoczy and Seth Eisele split duties during the Niagara series, with Latkoczy getting the start on Friday and Eisele on Saturday. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues, or if a successful Friday outing for Latkoczy results in him starting both games. The coaching staff has had a penchant for sticking with a goalie (after a successful Friday performance) in key series against ranked opponents.
For Fans Attending the Games in Person:
There are some new parking changes this year. The west lot outside Baxter, Lot 25, is now open to donors only and parking passes are required to park in that lot. The north lot, Lot 27, offers free parking on a first-come, first-served basis, as is Lot 26 (west of the arena, across the creek).
With colder temperatures expected, fans should arrive early to avoid crowds, especially at the west entrance. Have digital tickets ready to scan in the Mavericks app (or add them from your MyMavs account to your phone’s wallet app). If you have questions, stop by the box office at Baxter Arena before the game or call 402-554-MAVS.
The clear bag policy remains in effect at Baxter Arena, and metal detectors are now at all entrances.
Friday night is 90s Night. Fans are encouraged to wear 90s apparel. Saturday night will feature trick-or-treating in the arena concourse from 6:07 to 7 p.m. This weekend is also Parent’s Weekend, and the players and parents will be on the ice before the game on Saturday, so show up early!