OMAHA, Neb. — St. Cloud State salvaged a point from its weekend series at Nebraska-Omaha on Sunday afternoon, drawing 2-2 with the Mavericks at CenturyLink Center.
After beating the Huskies 4-3 on Saturday, No. 19 UNO (7-6-3, 6-3-3 WCHA) was held Sunday by a much-improved all-around performance from the visitors (6-7-3, 4-4-2).
SCSU forward Travis Novak led the way Sunday with two assists and goaltender Ryan Faragher put together 26 saves, including 14 in the third period.
“I give both teams credit. You come back for an early start after a game like last night’s, and that’s a really short turnaround, and tonight’s was another hard-fought game,” SCSU head coach Bob Motzko said. “We competed our tails off, and so did UNO, and it just came down to a few mistakes on some goals.
“We’re sure proud of how we played today, and last night, if we hadn’t made some mistakes that we made, we could’ve come away with at least two points from this weekend instead of one. Maybe we deserved a better fate than just the one point, but I’m proud of our guys.”
Just as it had in Saturday’s loss to UNO, the Huskies opened the scoring again on Sunday. Freshman forward Brooks Bertsch did the honors, picking up a loose puck low in the slot and roofing it past UNO goaltender Dayn Belfour.
The Huskies held court for most of the opening frame, ending the period leading the shot race, 12-6. They failed to take their 1-0 lead back to the dressing room, though, giving up a power-play goal with 14 seconds left before the horn. UNO forward Brock Montpetit was credited with the Mavericks’ equalizer, firing at the left faceoff dot and beating Faragher with a low wrister that snuck in just ahead of the far post.
UNO then took its first lead of the day 10:46 into the second period on what can only be described as a perfectly executed one-timer.
Terry Broadhurst raced down the left channel in the SCSU zone, but ran out of room and ended up skating into the corner. He fed a beautiful centering pass to linemate Matt White between the circles and White buried a hard shot from between the circles past Faragher, who didn’t have time to square up to the shooter.
Just as SCSU couldn’t get out of the first period with its lead intact, nor could UNO with its in the second. Instead, with just over a minute left in Sunday’s middle frame, Husky captain Ben Hanowski scored his first goal of the day and second of the weekend, beating Belfour low from the right faceoff circle.
Hanowski’s goal was the game’s last. Belfour and Faragher both shut up shop the rest of the way, combining for 21 saves through the third period and overtime.
UNO head coach Dean Blais echoed Motzko’s thoughts on Sunday’s game. Blais rued some of his own team’s chances that could have resulted in the Mavericks taking all four points on offer from the series.
“I thought both teams had plenty of energy to score more than two goals, but you’ve got to give both goaltenders credit for making the saves that they made,” Blais said. “And we missed too many chances. We shot over the net I’ll bet you seven or eight times, at least.
“We had opportunities right in front. I can remember (Jayson) Megna’s breakaway where he shoots it over the net when he’s usually burying that thing and then it’s the same with Ryan Walters and Mike Young’s shot over the net. Zahn Raubenheimer had a shot right in the slot that he didn’t get off and kind of misfired on it. We had opportunities, but so did they, so we’re happy with three out of the four points this weekend.”
SCSU now returns home to prepare for a six-game homestand, starting with next week’s series against league and in-state rival Bemidji State. It’s non-conference action for UNO next week, with the Mavericks taking on Alabama-Huntsville in a two-game set in Nashville.