Mavericks secure home ice for NCHC quarterfinals after wins against Miami


Mitchell Cutcher

Sports Editor

Mavericks celebrate after their overtime win against Miami Saturday. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Omaha’s successful season continued after the Mavericks swept the Miami Redhawks. With a 17-10-3 record, the Mavericks have locked themselves in to host a three-game series in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) quarterfinal round.

“That’s been our goal from day one: make a push for home ice advantage,” said Omaha forward Matt Miller earlier this season. “Home ice advantage and making it up to Saint Paul are two of our main goals this year. They are building blocks for our end goal.”

The Mavericks took care of the first step in that process with the sweep against Miami, picking up five crucial points that led to securing home ice. The second step in that process is qualifying for the NCHC Frozen Faceoff tournament, something that the Mavericks have never done since the inception of the NCHC. Omaha is the only team in the conference to have never been to the tournament in Saint Paul. 

With four games left to play in the regular season, the Mavericks are in third place in the conference standings, five points back from first place Denver and two points ahead of fourth place Saint Cloud State. With only two weeks left to play, the season is setting up for an exciting finish in the premier college hockey conference. 

Omaha will play a season defining series against Saint Cloud State starting on Friday. During that same weekend, second place Western Michigan will be playing against Denver, another series that could have implications on where the Mavericks finish in the conference standings. 

A reason behind the Mavericks’ success this season has been the play from their top line of Jack Randl, Ty Mueller and Matt Miller. Randl has been the star of the team for Omaha. He has scored a team-high 17 goals and is playing at a point-per-game pace: 30 points in 30 games. Mueller and Miller rank second and fifth in points for the Mavericks, and the pair have combined for 22 goals and 46 total points.

The emergence of freshman goaltender Simon Latkoczy is another reason for Omaha’s success. The Slovak netminder has a record of 9-2-1 in his first season of college hockey. Latkoczy’s play down the stretch has been stellar, posting a save percentage of .935 and a goal against average of 1.77 on the season.

“It just keeps on getting better and better,” said Omaha head coach Simon Latkoczy’s play this season. “Simon’s got a tremendous work ethic, a great young man, shows up every day to get better, and he’s doing just that.”

The Mavericks will finish up their season first with Saint Cloud State at home starting on Friday. Omaha will then close out the regular season the first weekend in March when they travel to Grand Forks and take on North Dakota.