Friday, February 23, 2024

Series Preview: Omaha vs. Colorado College, Feb. 23-24, 2024

It’s another Top 20 matchup at Baxter Arena this weekend as the #19 Omaha Mavericks welcome #10 Colorado College to Baxter Arena for a pair of games. 

The Tigers are red hot following a decisive sweep of #2 North Dakota last weekend (and taking all four games from the Fighting Hawks this season). Omaha (15-10-3 overall, 8-8-2 in the NCHC) is coming off a bye weekend after splitting with Western Michigan (Friday loss 6-1, Saturday overtime win 3-2) Feb. 9-10 on the road. Colorado College has won eight of their last nine games. They are 18-9-1 overall and 12-6-0 in the NCHC.

This is the only meeting of the Mavericks and Tigers during the 2023-24 regular season. The Tigers last played at Baxter Arena on Feb. 10-11, 2023.

The weekly press conference was held shortly after hockey program founder Mike Kemp announced his upcoming retirement.

Coach Gabinet, who was recruited by and played for Kemp, reflected on his relationship with him. “He recruited me as an 18-year-old out of Canada, and if you had asked me where, 28 or 25 years later, where I’d be now … I owe everything to Coach Kemp,” Gabinet said. “Coming back to Omaha and being here and getting recruited here, he’s a special person in my life and a special person to the program.”

“From coaching to administration to building, he’s done it all,” Gabinet added.

Previewing the Colorado College series, Gabinet said he’s excited. “We’re ready to go and excited for the challenge ahead of us this weekend.”

“Colorado College is a patient team. They like to sit back and be a little bit patient for their opportunities. You have to be smart against them and manage the puck properly and wait for your opportunities. I think it will be a fun series,” he added.

When asked about the overtime win in Kalamazoo prior to the bye week, Gabinet responded, “I think when you start to play a little bit fearlessly — but not recklessly — that’s when you play your best. [Our guys aren’t] gripping their sticks tight, they’re not overly worried about the outcome, they’re just focused on staying in that moment and playing to the best of their abilities.”

Junior defenseman Victor Mancini echoed Gabinet’s excitement about the series. “It’s going to be a challenge for sure, but I think at the same time that’s really exciting for us — for them to come into our building, we’re going to have the home ice advantage and I think we’re playing good hockey too coming into these games.”

“It's going to be fun, it's going to be loud. I think we got something to prove coming into these games, so it’s a good team to play against and try to get these points,” Mancini added.

“They have a lot of really good forwards, so it’s going to be a challenge, but I take pride in that and try to shut down their forwards,” he said. "Sticking to our game plan — and pre-scouts that our coaches put together — and knowing a little bit of their tendencies will go a long way.”

Mancini said he played with CC netminder Kaiden Mbereko in their younger days. “We actually grew up playing together, so I won’t say there’s any keys to beating him. He’s a pretty good goalie, so it’s going to be tough. That’s also going to be a big challenge for us, but sticking with things – getting shots on him early, not giving up any grade A [opportunities], and just kind of sticking with things. He’s going to come out and he’s going to make some big saves, so not letting us get discouraged from that I think will be big.”

Here’s the video of Coach Kemp’s portion of the press conference, responding to media inquiries to his retirement announcement:

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). Omaha Athletics is also encouraging fans to park in one of the public garages at Aksarben Village.

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).


Friday night is a Bobblehead Giveaway. The first 1500 fans will receive a Coach Gabinet bobblehead. Saturday night is “Country and Cowbells,” and the first 1000 fans will receive a cowbell courtesy of Pepsi.

In addition, Omaha Dance Marathon will have some special activities on Saturday night:

From Isaac Barchus: Some of the [Children’s] Miracle [Network] children and their families will be in attendance. They will be on the bench during warmups and then they will be in section 112 (or nearby). A couple of the kids will hang out with the dance team and direct the band. They will have a moment on the Jumbotron as well. There will be a QR code on the Jumbotron for donations to Omaha Dance Marathon. There will also be a table near the student section (location may change!) to explain what Omaha Dance Marathon is. (You can also make donations at the table.)

Series preview articles:

Colorado College Tigers: ($):

> 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.

Catch up on Mav hockey by watching Episode 16 of the sixth season of the MavPuckCast, with Jon and Jason. In the 33-minute episode, they recap the WMU series and preview the CC series.

Next up: Omaha takes on Miami (OH) in Oxford, Ohio on March 1-2. Both games are at 6:05 p.m. Central time (7:05 p.m. Eastern).

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