OMAHA, Neb. — Alan Carr racked up the University of Nebraska-Omaha hockey program’s second hat trick, and Jeff Hoggan added a pair of his own to give the Mavericks a 5-1 Central Collegiate Hockey Association win over the Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks.
“Luck of the draw,” Carr said after the game. “I was in the right place at the right time, and the puck went in.”
October 28 was the last time UNO hosted a conference series, in which they had swept Ferris State. That date also marked the Mavericks last conference win. This weekend UNO was faced with the task of taking on an Alaska-Fairbanks team which had just earned three points from Bowling Green and had stolen a game from Michigan at Yost one night after taking an 8-0 beating.
The question was which of the two would show up? The recently-revamped Nanooks, or the UAF of old? The UNO team that dropped two to Merrimack or the Mavericks that have so far only lost one game at home?
UNO started to answer that question when just 1:49 into the opening period Jeff Hoggan scored on the power play to put the Mavericks up early.
Hoggan’s goal was a welcome gift for the Mavericks, who were shut out for the first time this season at Merrimack last Saturday.
“That was a real good jumpstart for us,” Maverick head coach Mike Kemp said. “When you’re struggling to score goals, to get one early like that really helped.”
Aside from the early Maverick goal, Fairbanks actually took the play to UNO in the beginning. The Nanooks registered eight shots on Mav goalie Dan Ellis before the first six minutes had ticked by. The Mavericks however, weathered the early storm and held the 1-0 advantage at the first intermission.
“I think we played a pretty good first period,” UAF head coach Guy Gadowsky said, “but Ellis played a great game.”
In the second period, both goaltenders, Lance Mayes for UAF, and Ellis for UNO, began work on their respective walls. Both netminders showcased their talents by making saves they maybe shouldn’t have, keeping their teams in the game. It wasn’t until 14:05 into the middle frame that one of the goal guards let one pass.
Carr got his first of three on the night with the Mavericks skating in on a 2-on-1 situation. Carr kept the puck and made a move on the UAF defender that left the Nanooks collapsed on the ice, and allowed Carr an open shot for the goal.
“My first instinct was to pass the puck to (Scott Turner); the defenseman kind of read that, and from there it was just try to tuck it home,” Carr said.
Entering the third period the Nanooks were down but not out, thanks in no small part to Mayes. Yet in the last period, the Mavericks opened the floodgates by pouring 23 shots on net and having three find the twine.
Carr started things early with his fourth goal of the year, and second of the game 4:54 into the final frame. Carr had to fight off two and spilt two Nanook defenders to get the goal. Hoggan rang up UNO’s second power-play goal of the night 5:49 in. Carr then notched the third Maverick man-advantage goal, and his third of the game to send the hats raining down.
“It is a nice way to see him score,” Kemp said. “It was great to see him pop that third one in.”
Ellis carried a shutout late into the third period before finally relinquishing a goal to Fairbanks forward Scott McIlroy with just 1:04 left. The puck ricocheted off Ellis’ stick and trickled into the net to break the blanking.
“It’s not that big of a deal (to lose the shutout),” Ellis said. “To play a game like that and gain confidence and get the win is just as good as getting the shutout.”
“We certainly didn’t play well enough to win tonight,” Gadowsky said. “I’m confident you will see a different hockey team tomorrow night.”
The two teams face off again Saturday night to end the two-game series at the Civic Auditorium.