Nebraska-Omaha shuts down Huskies

SCSU defenseman Jimmy Schuldt tries to keep the puck from Omaha. Photo by Maddie MacFarlane.
SCSU defenseman Jimmy Schuldt tries to keep the puck from Omaha. Photo by Maddie MacFarlane.

The Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks’ (11-3-1, 4-3-1 NCHC) men’s hockey team played villain to the St. Cloud State Huskies (12-4-0, 6-2-0 NCHC) Saturday night at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center to earn a decisive 7-2 victory and series split. Seven different Omaha players scored, a night after losing 4-1 in the series opener.

Jake Guentzel opened the floodgates for the Mavericks, scoring first on a tip-in past Huskies’ goaltender Charlie Lindgren to make it 1-0 for the Mavericks 5:18 into the first period. The action didn’t stop there, with the Huskies continually attacking Mavericks’ goaltender Evan Weninger.

The momentum would completely shift when in the first period, a shot that passed through Weninger was called for goalie interference by Patrick Russell, which negated the goal. Later in the period, a one-timer by sophomore forward Blake Winiecki would be stopped short by Weninger to keep the Huskies scoreless.

Early in the second period, Omaha capitalized on their powerplay from a goal by David Pope 3:21 into the period to make it 2-0 Mavericks. They weren’t done there. Another goal by Brian Cooper came a few minutes later to make it 3-0 Mavericks.

The Huskies would first find the net late in the second period, with a goal from freshman defenseman Jimmy Schuldt to shorten the Mavericks’ lead. The momentum would quickly be thwarted, with a goal coming from Omaha’s Ryan Galt three minutes later to make it 4-1.

St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko replaced starting goaltender Charlie Lindgren with backup goalie Rasmus Reijola, which didn’t help fight the dominance by Omaha.

Three more goals in the third period finished the thrashing, with the Huskies suffering their worst loss of the season. It was their worst loss since a 5-0 defeat at Minnesota in 2011. The game also ended the Huskies’ five-game winning streak against Omaha.

“Our tank was on empty the moment the puck dropped, and their team was on full,” coach Bob Motzko said after the game. “We were a really poor hockey team tonight.”

Sophomore alternate captain Nate Widman said, “Every time it looked like we were going to start climbing our way back in, we shot ourselves in the foot.”

The Huskies will look to bounce back next weekend, when they travel to Denver for a two-game series before their holiday break.

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