OMAHA, Neb. — Brian Brashaw
A four-goal explosion in the first 5:45 of the third period proved to be the catalyst of a 6-0 win by Nebraska-Omaha over the University of Manitoba on Sunday at the Civic Auditorium in Omaha.
Anthony Adams, David Brisson, Greg Zanon and rookie Micah Sanford all scored in the offensive awakening and Jason Jaworski added another goal to give UNO five total third-period scores.
Zanon, one of the team’s senior co-captains, added four assists to give him five points, which would have been a school record, had the game not been an exhibition.
“In the third period it just clicked,” Zanon said. “We turned up the intensity and the puck started going in for us.”
The win marked the sixth straight time UNO has defeated Manitoba, a team the Mavericks beat 6-1 in last season’s exhibition in Kearney.
UNO only had eight days of practice to prepare for Sunday’s matchup, but with the six goals, and contributions from captain to rookie, the Mavericks seemed to have a successful debut as a young team.
Head Coach Mike Kemp said, “Part of the idea was to just give the new guys a chance to get some minutes, and they did an excellent job getting their feet wet.”
Along with Sanford’s goal, the freshmen class contributed four assists, two by Craig Zubersky. The freshman will be looked upon during the year to atone for the loss of Jeff Hoggan and his 25 goals.
“Its good to see people scoring,” Zanon said. “If we can get almost everybody on our team a couple goals here and there, that’s a lot of goals. I’d like to see everybody with goals this year.”
UNO opened the scoring 5:50 into the second period. Dan Hacker collected the puck on the right side of the cage and squeezed it in near side, giving UNO a 1-0 lead. Shortly thereafter the game got physical. UNO’s Scott Turner and Manitoba’s Blake Forsyth began to jaw and paw at each other, drawing matching minors.
Another melee involving four players broke out late in the period. The scrum resulted in 42 total penalty minuets, including three 10-minute game misconducts. The final result was a two-minute power play for UNO that carried over to the third period.
“That’s certainly not the way we like to play. We try to play vert disciplined hockey,” Kemp said.
After the second period intermission, whether it be flared tempers or the team finally clicking, the bomb dropped.
Bison goalie, Jomar Cruz who had saved 22 of 23 shots to that point, allowed UNO goals on the first two shots of the third period and was replaced by Gord Woodall. Woodall allowed three goals and made 12 saves in his 19:02 of action.
Manitoba coach Mike Sirant said, “Overall, I thought for 50 minutes, we played a good hockey game. But when you’re playing at this level, you can’t afford to have breakdowns and become spectators for a shift, let alone 10 minutes.”
Maverick goalie Dan Ellis played until 13:06 into the second period, making 12 saves without allowing a goal.
“He made a couple key saves at times where there could have been a score change, and they could have gained some momentum,” Kemp said.
Brian Haaland came on in relief of Ellis and made five saves to preserve the shutout.
The Mavericks will spend the rest of the week preparing for the Maverick Stampede in which UNO hosts No. 2 Denver, No. 7 Michigan State and Colgate.