With eight games left to play in the regular season, the Mavericks find themselves in second place in the top hockey conference in the country. Omaha’s bumpy start to the year will be erased from memory if they are able to take care of business down the stretch.
To look back to the first couple of weeks of this season in October and think that this Omaha team would be fighting for a postseason bid would have been a little crazy to some. However, this just goes on to prove that in college hockey, anything is possible. In 2023, the Mavericks are 5-1 and are now ranked 19th in the country.
“It’s always nice to get ranked and have success,” said Omaha head coach Mike Gabinet. “The guys should continue to build confidence from that; they’re putting in the work and doing what’s necessary to have those types of things happen.”
Two players who have put in the work this season have been graduate defenseman Jonny Tychonick and freshman forward Ray Fust. In Tychonick’s first two years, he only scored 16 points, but in this season alone, the defensemen has 14 assists and seven goals, one of which was the game-winning goal against Western Michigan. Fust, on the other hand, took a little longer to get going this season, but in January, he had two goals and three assists.
A big reason behind the Mavericks’ success in the new year has been that both goalies have been playing as well as anyone in the country. Senior transfer Jake Kucharski has played well all season for the Mavericks, with a goals against average of 2.82 and .900 save percentage. The other netminder for Omaha, Simon Latkoczy, received goalie of the month honors in January after back-to-back shutouts against Miami and Western Michigan.
“Both guys are doing a great job,” said Coach Gabinet on his goalie tandem. “It’s been great to have two solid goalies here. Even if you look at them from the start of the year how much they’ve grown until now, I think it’s tremendous. Rob Couturier, our goalie coach, has been working hard with those guys helping them prepare every single week and continuing to get better.”
While Omaha will likely see themselves be shifted around the standings during their off week, they sit in a great spot with eight games left to play until the finish line. The Mavericks are up to 15th in the PairWise Rankings, college hockey’s statistical tool designed to decide the 16 teams that make the NCAA tournament at the end of the season. So, if they can stand still in that ranking, the Mavericks will likely see their name selected for the national tournament when the regular season comes to an end.