OMAHA, Neb. — With a second consecutive seven-goal performance, the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks completed a sweep of Central Collegiate Hockey Association foe Ferris State Saturday win a 7-3 win.
In a very similar game to the one played Friday night, the Mavericks were the first to get on the board.
Andrew Wong scored his third goal of the weekend 7:15 into the game for a 1-0 UNO edge. After taking a pass from forward Shane Glover, Wong faked Ferris State goalie Vince Owen and put the puck in the heart of the net.
The Bulldogs battled back to tie, just as they had Friday. Faced with a shorthanded situation, Ferris State capitalized on an icing call. From the draw, Bulldogs leading power-play scorer Kevin Swider sent a pass between his legs to Phil Meyer in the high slot. Meyer wristed the puck past UNO neminder Dan Ellis.
The call-and-response trend would continue on. The Mavericks got one more goal in the first period to take a 2-1 lead at the first intermission. Scott Turner became another Maverick to register his first collegiate goal on the weekend, following Wong’s first on Friday. The goal came at the 12:03 mark and was assisted by Dave Noel-Bernier. It was his first of three assists on the night.
However, Ferris State responded in the second. One of many traffic jams in front of Ellis produced the Bulldogs’ only power-play goal (they were 1-for-7) of the night. Chris Kunitz hammered in the rebound to tie the game at 2.
Then a line that had never played a minute together for the Mavericks until Saturday came together like old veterans for a pretty passing goal. Turner traveled the puck up ice and fed it to Noel-Bernier, who in turn fed Joe Pereira, who netted the Mavericks’ third goal. The three forwards would combine for eight points (three goals, five assists) on the night.
“We just got thrown together tonight,” Turner said. “But the main thing was let’s go out and do what we can.”
Ferris State kept bringing the pressure and began to carry the play until Jeff Hoggan netted the game-winner for the Mavericks. Hoggan skated up ice and put a deke move on Owen. Owen was crouched and ready to make the save, and he did initially, but somehow the puck found its home.
“Hoggan’s goal in the last minute of the period was a real boost. I still don’t know how that went in,” UNO coach Mike Kemp said.
Persistence paid off in the form of another goal for Ferris to make things interesting once again. Early in the third another goal crease scrum resulted in the Bulldogs’ third goal. Phil Lewandowski caught Ellis down in the splits and put the puck in the front far side corner.
“We knew all along the way they play that they never give up. We just had respond the same way,” Noel-Bernier said. “They scored a goal so we had to score a goal.”
“You have to give Ferris a lot of credit, they are a good strong team that doesn’t quit,” Turner said.
The Mavericks would not allow Ferris another chance to catch-up. UNO rattled off three more goals in the last 11 minutes to finish with seven total goals for the second straight evening.
The first of the last three came on Omaha’s only power-play goal. Greg Zanon fired a rocket past Owen for his second goal of the weekend. The second goal came due to the work of Noel-Bernier. The senior forward made a nice move to draw defenders and leave linemate Pereira open for his second goal of the night.
The Mavericks capped the night with just nine seconds left in the game when rookie Aaron Smith scored his first of his college hockey career, and gave UNO the 7-3 win.
This was only the second sweep ever for the Mavericks, the other being against Alaska-Fairbanks last season.
“We want teams to not want to come to the Civic. That’s the demeanor we are trying to establish. We know if we show up and give it our all, not too many teams are going to beat us this year,” Pereira said.
UNO used Ferris State as a coming-out party. The Mavericks scored 14 goals on the weekend, got their first CCHA sweep of the season, and goalie Dan Ellis got his first two conference home wins.
Rookies Wong, Turner, Smith, Mike Gabinet and Ellis all scored their first collegiate points. Vets Jason Cupp, Pereira, and Zach Scribner all registered their first points of the year. In all, 16 different Mavs had points on the weekend.
“That’s what you want to see. We got quite a few guys who got their inaugural point. It was a good weekend for a lot of different guys,” Kemp said.
Ferris State will host a non-conference weekend with Colgate next weekend. The Mavericks will travel where they have never been, as UNO will play Lake Superior State on the road in continuation of CCHA action.