The UNO Hockey team is having a season that could be described as less than impressive. But while moral victories are usually unsatisfying, Omaha does have some positives to take away from winter break.
Omaha swept Alaska Anchorage on Dec. 29 and 31 to finish the calendar year, scoring a combined seven goals and allowing none at Baxter Arena.
The moral victories came against #3 Denver in Colorado on Jan. 11 and 12, when Omaha was swept by scores of 0-1 and 2-3 respectively, nearly topping the #3 program in the nation twice.
The Saturday game was decided in overtime, marking Omaha’s 14th-straight loss to the Pioneers.
The Mavericks maintained a lead for most of the third period, as it looked like Omaha’s bad streak could be broken. It was when their goaltender was pulled for an extra offensive player that Denver’s Ian Mitchell sent in a shot from the point, deflecting off of Omaha goalie Evan Weninger and tying the game with just 1:21 left on the clock.
In sudden-death overtime, Denver struck quickly – Cole Guttman sent in the winning goal from an assist via teammate Jarid Lukosevicius.
Despite a low scoring effort from the Pioneers, UNO was unable to produce much offense throughout the series – showing why Denver is one of the best teams in the country.
This heart-breaking sweep to begin the 2019 year is following a December in which UNO went 2-3 overall, finding its only victories in the Alaska Anchorage series. Omaha is now 6-12-2 overall, and 2-7-1 in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
While most students had been away for the holidays, Omaha continued to work on the ice and looks forward to yet another home series against conference rival North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks are currently riding a two-game win streak and are 11-9-1 overall this year but only 2-5 on the road.
Currently, team captain Mason Morelli leads the team with 22 points and 13 goals over the course of the season so far, shooting a team-leading 24.1%. Fredrik Olofsson leads the team in assists with 14, while Zach Jordan, Dean Stewart and Taylor Ward join Olofsson in double digits with 12, 11 and 10, respectively.
UNO looks to capitalize back at Baxter Arena and avoid dropping further in the NCHC rankings, where they are currently sitting in seventh. The North Dakota series takes place on Jan. 18 and 19. Both games will begin at 7:07 PM, and will be featured on YurView and 1180 Zone 2.