EAST LANSING, Mich. — One goal per period was enough for Michigan State to come up with a win against Nebraska-Omaha in game one of a crucial weekend series for the Spartans, who need points to secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the CCHA playoffs.
Junior captain Jim Slater chalked up a goal and an assist, and Dominic Vicari earned his fifth shutout of the season as the Spartans played to a 3-0 victory Friday.
The first-period Spartan tally belonged to junior forward Ash Goldie, who found himself in the right place at the right time.
With his team on the power play, assistant captain Adam Nightingale found David Booth, who was wide open between the faceoff circles, but Maverick freshman goaltender Chris Holt made the save. The rebound came back out to Goldie on the right side of the net, and Holt, out of position from his original save, had no chance on Goldie’s shot.
In the second, Slater took a pass from freshman teammate Tommy Goebel from the Spartan blueline into the Maverick zone. Skating across the ice just under the faceoff circles, he rifled a shot over Holt’s left shoulder, using the defenseman as a screen.
In the third, Slater started the play when he took the puck around the net, attempting a wraparound, but Holt was with him all the way. Meantime, Spartan forward Tommy Goebel got open in front and found himself with the rebound on his stick and an empty net in front of him.
His goal gave the Spartans the three-goal cushion, and the Spartans made the lead stand.
“When you’re on the road like this, you’re not in a position to make a lot of changes,” Maverick head coach Mike Kemp said. “We’re just going to come out and play hockey. It was a situation where we didn’t finish when we got our opportunities. Dominic was very good tonight. We didn’t finish the chances that we did have, which weren’t very many, because they did a great job on defense.
“The reality of it is, we gave them a few opportunities, and when they got the opportunities their players buried it. They did a great job of finishing their opportunities.”
The Mavericks also lacked discipline at times, including a couple of UNO power plays that were nullified by minors of their own.
“I thought we were really tired. I think the combination of the after-affects of a long trip, and a lot of guys fighting the flu, and so I thought it was a really gutty effort,” Spartan coach Rick Comley said. “Some guys played better than others, but I thought everybody got done what they could get done, and Dom [Vicari] made big saves when he had to make big saves.
“Dom looked sharp all night long. There were a couple stretches where he had to be good: he was.
“Jimmy [Slater] got the big, big goal — the second goal — when we needed it. The power-play goal was a very important goal for us, because we’ve struggled on the power play, and that got us going a little bit. And you know they don’t score well as a team, so when we got the second one, I think they felt an awful lot of pressure.”