Friday, December 8, 2023

Series Preview: Omaha vs SCSU, Dec. 8-9, 2023

After getting a split on the road versus Minnesota Duluth last weekend (Friday loss, overtime win Saturday), Omaha returns to Baxter Arena for the final home series of 2023.

They will be facing a white-hot St. Cloud State University (SCSU) squad that is 6-0 in the NCHC. (Omaha is 3-3-0 in conference play.) SCSU is ranked no. 15 nationally, while Omaha has fallen out of the top 20, but received votes.

Omaha is 9-4-1 overall, while SCSU is 8-5-1. The Huskies are 28-16-2 all-time against the Mavericks.

Coach Gabinet said the team is looking forward to a good quality opponent in SCSU. “The guys are excited to keep playing well. You want to give your best effort. It’s important to stay focused,” Gabinet said. 

SCSU has swept Miami, Western Michigan, and Minnesota Duluth so far this year.

Gabinet said the SCSU team is a “quick, high skilled, high energy team that plays with a lot of structure.” He noted they play “lots of clean, hard hockey” and said the Mavs need to make sure “we are playing our style.” 

Gabinet said the team benefited in Duluth from the play of sophomore goaltender Simon Latkoczy. 

“I like Simon’s mindset. He’s not afraid of big moments,” Gabinet said.

Latkoczy said he does a lot to prepare for games. “My preparation started in August,” Latkoczy said. “I do things every day and every night. Eight to 10 p.m. is kind of my time. I do some meditation. I work on my confidence — on the visualization. I see every game happen five times before it actually happens. I’m prepared for every possible outcome that can happen in a game.”

Gabinet noted that forwards Matt Miller and Zach Urdahl are not likely for this weekend’s games.

For Fans Attending the Games in Person:

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).

Fans should arrive early to avoid crowds, especially at the west entrance. Have digital tickets ready to scan in the Omaha 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. All concession stands are card only (no cash).

Theme Nights:

Saturday night is the Sheila Leahy Toys for Tots collection. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate or donate cash in person or online

Fans are also encouraged to wear an ugly sweater on Saturday night. 

And Saturday night is also Blue Line Club Member Appreciation night for current BLC members. There will be pizza (while supplies last), $1 off beverages, and raffle prizes in the BLC Bar from 5:30-7 p.m.

Series preview articles:

SCSU Huskies: ($):

> Friday, 7:07 p.m. CT at Baxter Arena (Omaha, NE)
> Saturday, 7:07 p.m. CT at Baxter Arena (Omaha, NE)

Both games will be broadcast live on 1290 AM and on The Varsity Network app. Pre-game coverage begins 30 minutes prior to face off with the FNBO Pre-Game Show. “Voice of the Mavs” Mike Vaillancourt will have the play-by-play, with color commentary provided by Terry Leahy.

Friday and Saturday night’s games will be streamed on ($) 

Live Stats:
Friday and Saturday night stats will be available here.

See what you missed when the team was in Duluth by watching the ninth episode of the sixth season of the MavPuckCast, with Jon and Jason. In the 37-minute episode, they recap the Duluth series, show some of the “Things You Missed in Duluth,” and preview the SCSU series.

Next up: Omaha has a lengthy Christmas break following this weekend’s games. They will next play in the Desert Hockey Classic in Tempe Jan. 5-6. Omaha will take on UMass-Lowell at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 5. The time and opponent for Saturday’s tournament game is to be determined.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Series Preview: Omaha at Minnesota Duluth, Dec. 1-2, 2023


By Bridget Brooks 

The calendar has rolled over to the final month in 2023, and Omaha is on the road for the third conference series of the season.

Omaha is coming off a sweep of non-conference foe Augustana in its inaugural season. The home-and-home series format was a good one for fans, and a group of approximately 200 fans made the trek up to Sioux Falls for Saturday’s game at the Denny Sanford Premier Center (including 40 people in the MavPuck group).

Omaha won Friday night’s game 2-1 and prevailed Saturday 5-2. The Mavericks are now 8-3-1 overall, and 2-2-0 in the NCHC (good for sixth place in the NCHC, one point behind Colorado College). 

Their opponent this weekend, Minnesota Duluth (3-7-3 overall), currently has no conference points. Both teams have played four NCHC games to date.

In the weekly press conference, Coach Mike Gabinet said UMD is better than its record reflects. “Their losses are (to) North Dakota, St. Cloud, and Minnesota, so you know how good they are. They had some early wins and then (faced) a gauntlet of a schedule." He added, “They will be dialed in and ready to go.”

Gabinet noted that with a deep roster, some good Maverick players haven’t been getting much ice time, something that makes his job difficult. “If you don’t sleep, it’s because of lineup decisions.” He noted Charlie Lurie in particular – “(It) was exciting to get his first conference play.” Gabinet added, “Everyone is deserving of play. It’s nice to keep those guys involved. It means there is some good internal competition.”

Special teams play is expected to be a factor this weekend. Minnesota Duluth ranks first in the nation on the power play, while the Mavericks power play finally connected for a goal in the Saturday gave vs. Augustana. “You need special teams to help you put a game away, give you that momentum.” 

Graduate student defenseman Dom Vidoli echoed Gabinet’s comments about roster depth. “There's lots of depth from the back end. (There’s) 8 guys that can play. Part of it is being patient and looking for the opportunity,” he said. “When I do get the opportunity, I’m ready to go.”

Vidoli said that Duluth is a “heavy team; they play hard.” He added “They come hard on the forecheck, hard off face-offs.” But, he said, the emphasis will be on what the Mavericks can do, not the Bulldogs. “As long as we stick to our game, we’ll be good. (We need to) stick to our script and play our game.”

He added that having fan support in Sioux Falls was “pretty cool.” He noted the players could hear the cheers. “It was cool to see (the fans) travel; the roads weren’t great. We appreciate that.”

Minnesota Duluth is coming off a bye weekend. Omaha is 15-28-4 all-time against the Bulldogs, with the Mavericks sweeping their last series in Omaha (January 2023).

Series preview articles: ($)
> Friday, 7:07 p.m. CT at Amsoil Arena (Duluth, MN)
> Saturday, 5:07 p.m. CT at Amsoil Arena (Duluth, MN)

Both games will be broadcast live on 1290 AM and on The Varsity Network app. Pre-game coverage begins 30 minutes prior to face off with the FNBO Pre-Game Show. “Voice of the Mavs” Mike Vaillancourt will have the play-by-play, with color commentary provided by Terry Leahy.

Both games will be streamed on ($) 

Live Stats:
Live stats can be found here.

See what you missed during the team’s home-and-home series with Augustana by watching the eighth episode of the sixth season of the MavPuckCast, with Jon and Jason. In the 40-minute episode, you’ll see a breakdown of the Augustana series (with clips), radio legend Terry Leahy being honored for broadcasting his 1000th UNO Hockey game, a discussion about the use of noisemakers and signs at games, and a preview of the Minnesota Duluth series. 

Next up: Omaha wraps up the first half of the season with a pair of conference games with St. Cloud State University on Dec. 8-9, at Baxter Arena. Both games will start at 7:07 p.m.