By Nate Tenopir, Sports Editor
Coming into a weekend against a team that’s 1-10-1 doesn’t provide a lot of competitive benefits. Win and that’s what’s expected. Lose and it’s a black mark on your pairwise ranking resume.
But sweep that team and end the series with an 8-0 pounding and it might open a few eyes.
“Eight goals against anybody, doesn’t matter who they are, that’s a good night for a team,” Brock Montpetit said after leading all skaters with four points on four assists. “Last night just kind of getting our feet wet again coming off a bye week, just picking up where we left off.”
The previous night the Mavs (8-3-1) took a two-goal lead late in the second 3-1. But the rest of the way UNO had to hold on after Alabama-Huntsville scored on a power play early in the third and kept the pressure on all period.
After the game Head Coach Dean Blais said that it was one of those wins that didn’t quite feel right. He said each line had at least one guy who seemed to take the night off.
Saturday it was a different story. Every line put in a goal and 13 Mavericks recorded points.
Five UNO players had multiple point nights including the four from Montpetit, three from Ryan Walters, and two apiece from Johnnie Searfoss, Zahn Raubenheimer and Bryce Aneloski.
Walters had two goals while Matt White, Nick Seeler, Dominic Zombo, Searfoss, Raubenheimer and Brent Gwidt each had one of their own.
“I don’t think anything is easy, but again we scored the first goal and that’s huge and then the five-minute power play definitely gave us the momentum we needed after that,” Blais said. “Certainly you gotta learn from a loss and you can learn from winning. I think we had a better overall attitude tonight, even going into the game. I think everyone knew we can’t have success with half a team like we did last night.”
After having to hang the night before, the Mavs effectively removed all doubt about Saturday night’s game early in the second period. At the 19:31 mark of the first UNO led 1-0, and Huntsville’s Sebastian Geoffrion started a scuffle near the penalty boxes that resulted in his disqualification from the game.
Geoffrion was whistled for contact to the head and was tossed from the game. The call resulted in a five-minute major for UNO.
When the Chargers’ Alex Allan was called for tripping just 2:23 into the second it became a 5-on-3 for the Mavs for a full two minutes. Seeler converted the chance at 3:20 of the second and Zombo added to it just 22 seconds later.
It was 3-0 just like that. UNO didn’t need anymore, but added five in the third to make the final score 8-0.
Freshman Anthony Stolarz (1-3-0) picked up the first and the first shutout of his collegiate career. Stolarz was perfect on 20 shots and helped to kill off two Huntsville power plays.
“Just getting the chance to go out there and play again [I] definitely want to take advantage of the opportunity,” Stolarz said. “Tonight it was good my first win under my belt, hopefully the first of many more.”
During the Mavs’ current six-game win streak it had been senior John Faulkner between the pipes. In that time Faulkner is 5-0 with a 2.20 goals against average and .917 save percentage.
The streak is the longest in program history since UNO went 8-0 from Jan. 11, 2002 to Feb. 2, 2002. The next closest streak was six in a row in late 2000, early 2001.
Five other times the Mavs had won five in a row and been unable to push it one game further. If UNO is going to push the win steak further and challenge the eight-game mark they’ll have to repeat a feat from two years ago – win on the road at Minnesota.
In the midst of a five-game win streak to start 2010, the Mavs swept the Golden Gophers at Mariucci Arena in mid-October. With Minnesota in the top five and UNO being ranked in both polls last week, it could be a matchup between two top-10 teams.
“It’s huge, there right up there with us in the race for the WCHA,” Montpetit said. “[If] we go up there with two wins that puts us in a pretty good lead. It’s kind of something where wins really count in the WCHA no matter who you’re playing. Towards the end of the season they’re really gonna count.”