HOUGHTON, Mich. — Friday night’s hero for Nebraska-Omaha, Zahn Raubenheimer, and Josh Archibald each notched two goals as the Mavericks completed the road sweep of the Michigan Tech Huskies 5-3 despite a better effort from the Huskies at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
“Raubenheimer had another good one,” said UNO coach Dean Blais. “Gritty performance in the third period, you know, blocking shots, that’s how you win, especially on the road. You gotta do the little things.”
Raubenheimer scored his second of the night just 25 seconds after the Mavericks took their second lead of the night in the second period. After taking a pass between two Huskies’ defenders from Johnnie Searfoss, he cut in on MTU goalie Pheonix Copley and fired a shot that the Huskies’ netminder stopped. The rebound kicked right back to him and he lifted the second shot over a sprawling Copley at 15:28.
The Huskies were looking to avoid a five-game losing streak and their top line of Blake Pietila, Tanner Kero and Milos Gordic set a tone early that made it clear this was not the same Huskies’ squad as the previous night. On consecutive drives down the ice, Pietila and Kero had scoring opportunities.
Pietila’s shot sailed wide on a two-on-one, but Kero’s tip of another Pietila shot was handled by Mavericks’ goaltender John Faulkner, who finished the night with 27 saves.
“After Friday night’s loss, we definitely wanted to come out flying,” said MTU defenseman Brad Stebner. “We wanted to play physical with a lot of speed.”
With game scoreless a little over midway through the opening frame, Huskies’ defenseman Justin Fillion fired a shot that was stopped by Faulkner. Alex Petan attempted to get the rebound, but instead redirected the puck to a waiting David Johnstone, who buried his first of the year into the gaping net at 12:01.
“It’s always nice to getting your first goal of the year,” said Johnstone. “Coach has been on me about going hard to the net and making things simple.”
Looking for the equalizer after killing off a Michigan Tech power play, the Mavericks’ (4-3-1 overall, 2-1-1 WCHA) best chance of the first 20 minutes came when defenseman Andrej Sustr came out of the box, grabbed the puck and fired a long shot wide of the Huskies’ goal. The rebound bounced off the boards to a crashing Brent Gwidt, but the Mavericks’ captain’s shot was stopped by Copley.
“We haven’t played with the lead that much in the last five games,” said Michigan Tech coach Mel Pearson. “I thought it was good for our team to get the lead. I thought it would give us some confidence.”
Raubenheimer scored the first of his two for the night 4:14 into the middle frame after the Mavericks won the offensive zone faceoff. Searfoss picked up the puck and found Raubenheimer, who needed two shots to finally get the puck behind Copley.
Three and a half minutes later, Archibald gave the Mavericks their first lead of the night when he skated down the left boards and fired a shot through traffic that beat Copley low to the blocker side.
After an icing call forced Blais to use his timeout, the Huskies (2-6-0 overall, 1-5-0 WCHA) seemed to get their feet back underneath them. Three straight faceoff wins in the offensive zone by Pietila helped set up the tying goal.
Huskies’ defenseman Riley Sweeney moved the puck from the right point to Stebner at the left point. Stebner’s shot ricocheted out to a waiting Pietila, who wasted no time beating an out-of-position Faulkner at 10:03.
Later in the second, Pietila went from hero to potential goat when he took a holding penalty in his own end. After winning the faceoff, Mavericks’ winger Ryan Walters attempted to set up one of his teammates in front of Copley, but his pass instead hit an MTU defender and trickled into the net at 15:03.
Pearson elected to go with senior Kevin Genoe between the pipes to start the third period. The move paid dividends several times over as Genoe kept Raubenheimer and the Mavericks from scoring on three or four quality shots near the Huskies’ goal.
Genoe finished the period with 15 saves.
Archibald’s second of the night came with just under four minutes left in the final frame. Pearson had pulled Genoe in favor of a sixth skater, but the move backfired as Archibald buried it in the back of the net.
The Huskies cut the lead back to two on the power play when Petan took a pass from Jujhar Khaira and fired the puck through Faulkner at 17:25. Defenseman Steven Seigo also assisted on the goal.