Rivalry Time: UNO vs. North Dakota preview

Photo courtesy OMavs
Evan Weninger (#35) played his best game of the season at North Dakota, piling up 34 saves.
Justin Kies

After dropping the last two games in a row to St. Cloud State, the 13th ranked UNO Hockey team awaits its highly anticipated rematch against their NCHC rival, the eighth ranked University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks.

The series is set to take place at Baxter Arena on Feb. 16 and 17. UNO and North Dakota have already faced off earlier this year, each team was able to win a game and they split the series that took place in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The University of North Dakota is currently one spot ahead of UNO in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings, UND is in fifth place while UNO rests in sixth.

With only six games remaining in the regular season, all against NCHC opponents, UNO controls its own fate in the chase for their first NCHC championship. Since the formation of the NCHC in the 2013-14 season, neither UNO nor UND has won the conference tournament.

The Fighting Hawks look to repeat their last effort against UNO when they convincingly beat the Mavs by a score of 7-0. This was one night after UNO’s 4-1 win over UND.

The rematch series could end up going either team’s way as both squads are extremely talented on the ice and are looking to win out in conference play for a better tournament seed. Look for Evan Weninger to get another start at goalie for the Mavs, his first game against UND was one to remember with only one goal scored against him, 34 saves and a .971 save percentage.

UNO may have a slight advantage this time around, looking to avenge their last two losses and by playing this series at Baxter Arena with the support of their home crowd. Don’t be surprised if the Mavs, who are coming off a nice weekend break of no games, get off to a fast and fresh start against what may be a tired UND team who had to play Colorado College just a week before the trip to Omaha.

PREDICTION: The Mavericks win on Friday and lose on Saturday to attain a split with the Hawks.