Omaha Mavericks (11-8-3, 4-6-0) NCHC Ranking : 7th
vs. Colorado College Tigers (6-12-2, 2-6-2) NCHC Ranking: 8th
Friday 8:07 (CST)
Saturday 7:07 (CST)
@ Colorado Springs World Arena
UNO entered last weekend feeling strong and confident as they welcomed North Dakota to the Baxter Arena. The Mavericks were coming off of a home sweep over Lake Superior State and were as healthy as they have been all year.
All of that momentum and confidence quickly dissipated after just one period of hockey as UND peppered the Mavericks with 5 goals heading into the first intermission on Friday night. The weekend had already seemed to be lost at that point when it was clear the Fighting Hawks were just the better team.
Saturday night saw a better start for Omaha but it didn't take long for UND to impose it's will once again. When all was said and done, the Mavs were outscored in the series 16-4 on their home ice.
This weekend's road matchup in Colorado Springs will be a gut-check series. Throw out the strategy, line matchups and everything else. The Mavericks were taken to the wood shed and now must figure out where they go from that moment.
The experience and toughness will be the key components against a less talented Colorado College team in a building where the Mavs have not won a Friday game in five seasons. The Tigers have also played good hockey as of late, tying and beating #3 Minnesota-Duluth on the road this past weekend.
All eyes are on how this UNO team finishes the season. 2017 definitely did not start off on a high note but there are plenty of opportunities for the Mavericks to erase a bad weekend. It's the NCHC, which means every series is an opportunity but it must start now for Omaha.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The first 10 minutes on Friday might tell you all you need to know about how this series will play out. Omaha blitzed Lake State in their Friday victory two weeks ago. Expect a similar tone this weekend. Austin Ortega is still looking to set the NCAA record for career game-winning goals.
He is tied for the record with 23. The Maverick power play took a hit last weekend but still ranks 2nd in the NCAA with a success rate of 25.4 %. The Mavericks will continue to try and generate those opportunities against CC. The Tigers rely heavily on sophomore Mason Bergh, who leads the team with 10 goals and 14 points.
BETWEEN THE PIPES: Omaha could use any three of it's goalies this weekend. Evan Wenninger had a rough couple of nights against UND but not all of the damage was on the sophomore. Kris Oldham did not fare much better. Alex Blankenburg was listed as the backup Saturday night but did not see any action.
Wenninger still ranks among the best in the conference with wins and save percentage. Alex Leclerc has been the mainstay for Colorado College with a 3.14 GAA. The frosh does have one shutout recorded this season and was solid against UMD allowing just 3 goals on 69 shots for the weekend.
THE SERIES: Omaha has the series edge over Colorado College with a record of 11-7-3 and 4-5-1 in Colorado Springs. The Mavericks have been strong on the road this season with a record of 7-1-2.