OMAHA, Neb. — Frustration had ruled the roost in and around the Nebraska-Omaha hockey program in recent weeks, with the Mavericks performing reasonably well on the ice but having little to show for it in terms of results.
You wouldnt have known it on Friday, though, as the Mavericks scored three second period goals in a frenzied span of 1:27 en route to a lopsided 7-2 win over visiting Northern Michigan at Qwest Center Omaha.
The two teams largely canceled each other out throughout Fridays first period and into the second, which at one point saw the teams deadlocked at 2-2 after Andrew Cherniwchan scored the Wildcats second and final goal of the night 3:19 into the games middle frame.
The host Mavericks opened the floodgates soon thereafter, though, and after a trio of second-period goals from Terry Broadhurst, Dan Swanson and a second goal on the night from Rich Purslow, UNO rarely had to look over its collective shoulder the rest of the way.
We never took our foot off of the gas — we just kept coming and coming, said Purslow, who also had an assist on Friday after setting up Brandon Richardson on the freshmans goal 3:07 into the third period.
The bounces were going our way, and when that happens, you just have to put everything on net. Goalies in this league are so good that your first shot isnt going to go in most of the time, unless theres a screen, so we harped on this week about getting in front of the net and getting those second and third chances, and it paid off tonight.
The Mavericks second period outburst bested the programs previous record for the fastest three goals scored in succession by 36 seconds, and NMU head coach Walt Kyle said that he couldnt have seen his team recovering from the onslaught.
Theres not much you can do when that happens, Kyle said. UNO did a great job, and we just have to understand that, reload and get back out there tomorrow.
I thought we did a decent job in the first period, but we started making mistakes all of a sudden, and it was just bang-bang-bang, and we had to call time-out. They capitalized on our mistakes, and, quite frankly, I think the game couldve been worse (for us).
Things did get more painful for the Wildcats in the third period, however, with Richardsons goal putting to bed any remaining doubts as to whether the game was in firmly in UNOs hands.
Finally, the Mavericks scored a seventh goal through Jeric Agostas second goal of the night with 7:20 left in regulation.
Needless to say, UNO assistant coach Mike Hastings was delighted for his Mavericks, who improved on Friday to 11-11-5 overall and 7-10-2-1 in the CCHA. UNO had been struggling in recent weeks, with only two wins to its name so far in 2010, but Hastings felt that the team has been better than its recent record, and that it was time for the teams efforts to finally bear fruit.
Its just good for the guys to be rewarded for their work, Hastings said. Watching some of the game film from last week, (our players) did a lot of good things but werent rewarded for their work. Tonight, we had some things go our way, but we worked really hard to do that, to make some breaks for ourselves.
We can enjoy this tonight, but tomorrows a new day, and thats a good hockey team that we just played. Theyre going to be excited to have another crack at us tomorrow.
UNO and NMU (10-9-6, 6-7-4-1) will meet once more again on Saturday night in Omaha. It will be the long-standing rivals final regular-season league meeting before the Mavericks move onto the Western Collegiate Hockey Association next season.