OMAHA, Neb. — If Saturday night’s CCHA tilt between Ohio State and Nebraska-Omaha was any indication, then maybe every game at Qwest Center Omaha should be designated as Senior Night.
The Mavericks’ all-senior first line of Brandon Scero, Bryan Marshall and Mick Lawrence combined for three goals — five if you include Lawrence’s assist on the game-winning goal and Marshall’s assist on an empty-netter with 30 seconds left — as the Mavericks bounced back from an all-around disappointing performance on Friday to rout the Buckeyes 5-2 on Saturday in front of a school-record crowd of 10,598 on Saturday night.
The game had all of the makings of a classic early on as the teams were neck-and-neck in most every department after 40 minutes in a 2-2 game, but UNO sophomore defenseman Eddie Del Grosso’s low one-timer past Joseph Palmer at 8:07 of the third period was enough to open the floodgates, something Jeric Agosta and Lawrence made sure to take advantage of with goals of their own to bring UNO back to .500 on the season.
For as strong as the Maverick offense’s third period outburst was, however, Lawrence was equally pleased with the way that his team kept the Buckeyes’ opportunities down to a minimum compared to Friday night’s game in which the Buckeyes deserved a better fate than the 3-3 draw that they got.
We did a really good job of shutting them down, the senior winger said. They’re a really talented team. I don’t know if they’re just finding ways to lose games this year, but we did a good job of shutting them down.
Ohio State head coach John Markell agreed that his team weren’t getting the kinds of opportunities that they earned on Friday, but was more disappointed with his team’s overall performance on Saturday.
We got outhit, we got outshot, and we couldn’t win a faceoff all night. It was probably our worst night of the season in terms of faceoffs, he said. We’re finding a way to lose, and you can’t do that.
The Buckeyes were able to do enough to keep the deadlock going through the end of the second period, but looks can be deceiving. The Mavericks, especially the Scero-Marshall-Lawrence line, turned in a performance for most of the game that was miles beyond their lackluster showing on Friday night.
From the standpoint of what they did when they got out there in the first period, I was very pleased, he said. We needed (the seniors) to step up, and what more appropriate than for them to do it on our senior recognition night?
The Mavericks (13-13-4, 10-10-4 CCHA) hope to take the momentum gained from Saturday night’s win into next week’s massive series with sixth-place Bowling Green at the Omaha Civic Auditorium. The temporary move is due to the Nebraska state high school wrestling championships taking place next weekend at the Qwest Center.
The Buckeyes (9-20-3, 5-15-2 CCHA), on the other hand, now return home to Columbus to prepare to face a resurgent Northern Michigan as they try and finish the regular season on a strong note before entering the CCHA playoffs.
We’re going to try and win as many games as we can, he said. Obviously we’re going to have to take whatever we can get, but we’re our own worst enemy right now.
We’re on the road in the first round of the playoffs now. We’ve dug our own hole, and now we’ve got to get ourselves out of it.