OXFORD, Ohio — Sophomore Alex Hudson scored the decisive goal in the third period to go along with an assist, and senior goalie Jeremie Dupont made 26 saves to propel Nebraska-Omaha to the upset over top-ranked Miami 4-2 Saturday night at Steve Cady Arena.
Rich Purslow and Nick Fanto each added a goal and assist for the Mavericks, who improved to 17-13-6 overall, and 13-12-3-2 in the CCHA. UNO put a damper on the night for the RedHawks, who were awarded with the CCHA regular season championship trophy at the conclusion of the game.
Junior captain Tommy Wingels and freshman winger Curtis McKenzie each recorded two points in the losing effort for Miami, who dropped to 23-5-6 overall, and 20-2-4-2 in the CCHA.
“I think a lot of guys showed character tonight and we dug deep,” said Hudson, whose two points tonight gave him four on the weekend. “Miami is a really good team and they brought it to us tonight. Our guys came out and played well and I am really proud of our team.”
UNO’s first shot on goal in the game was a good one. Fanto did most of the work himself, stealing the puck from Miami’s Devin Mantha along the boards by the Miami bench and putting his wrist shot past Miami sophomore netminder Connor Knapp to give the Mavericks an early 1-0 lead and his ninth goal of the season. Fanto’s goal was a rare one, as it marked the first time since January 22 at Alaska that Miami trailed in a game.
Miami’s Carter Camper didn’t let the lead favor UNO going into the first intermission. Camper’s one-time slap shot from just to the right of the Mavericks’ goal evened up the score at one as the period winded down. Wingels started a two-on-one for the RedHawks after receiving a breakout pass from Curtis McKenzie, and as the clock hit the one-minute mark, he found an open Camper, whose slap shot beat Dupont for his 13th goal of the season.
Miami took the lead for the first time in the game when McKenzie and Wingels both registered their second points of the night midway through the second period. After Dupont made a diving save on McKenzie’s backhand attempt, Andy Miele picked up the rebound and brought the puck around the net. His pass back out in front of the goal found the stick of Wingels, whose shot beat a scrambling Dupont for his team leading 15th goal of the season.
For the second straight night, the game was tied at 2-2. The Mavericks second goal of the game came off of the stick of Purslow, who put his own rebound past Knapp less than four minutes after the RedHawks took the lead. Hudson assisted on the goal, finding Purslow open in front of Knapp.
The third period belonged to the Mavericks, as they came out firing, scoring two quick goals to silence the crowd at Steve Cady Arena. Hudson continued his recent hot streak for the Mavericks, as he added his third goal of the weekend less than four minutes into the third period to give them the lead for good. The goal came on the power play for Hudson, who picked up the rebound from a Purslow shot and beat Knapp for his 10th goal of the season.
“It was a big win for us,” said Hudson. “The CCHA is close in the standings, and it was nice to go out there and play well and get a big three points. In last night’s game, they moved the puck on us a lot and we were kind of hesitating. I think we were in awe of the skill that Miami brought to the table. Tonight we hit a lot more, and we just wanted to go out there and play our game.”
The Mavericks put the game out of reach less than two minutes later when junior winger Matt Ambroz’s backhand attempt from the left of the RedHawks’ net barely crossed the line to beat Knapp. Ambroz took a puck deep in the zone from previous goal scorer Fanto and skated to the left of Knapp. Ambroz tried a backhand attempt that scrambled away from Knapp and over the goal line to give the Mavericks a 4-2 lead.
Miami attempted to get back in the game when they pulled Knapp with 1:30 left in the game, but couldn’t put a puck past Dupont, who ended the night with 26 saves.
“I don’t really think we had it tonight,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “They really brought it to us throughout the game. Dupont made some nice saves for them in the game, especially during the second period. The credit goes to them tonight, they played well.”