Grand Forks, ND – Coming into tonight’s game, the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks and the University of North Dakota have played a grand total of 12 games against each other. Based on the intensity of the 12 previous games, you would’ve thought they’d played over 100 games against each other.
Tonight, it was no different. The game would end up tied 2-2 after 65 minutes and the game would be settled by a shootout. Which the Mavericks won.
“Really hard fought game in a lot of areas,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “Kind of one of those games (that was played) in the trenches. Some periods where we got on our heels a little bit. Not a ton of up and down flow. Kind of a hard fought game in the trenches.”
The teams are a mirror image of each other. Both teams have speedy forwards, skilled mobile defensemen and solid goaltending.
Neither team would score in the first period and UND would outshoot the Mavericks 12-11.
In the second period, UND and UNO would trade goals 30 seconds apart. Gage Ausmus would score UND’s first goal at the 7:43 mark of the second period. UNO would answer with a goal from forward Tyler Vesel at 8:12 of the second period.
UNO would get the upper hand and take a 2-1 lead into the third period with a goal by forward Justin Parizek.
“I thought we weren’t very sharp at points,” sophomore defenseman Gage Ausmus said. “We turned some pucks over in the neutral zone and in the critical areas. We turned the puck over in our zone and didn’t get them out. After we scored our first goal, we let them come right back and they scored 30 second later. So, that was a huge momentum shift. We need to be more detailed tomorrow night.”
UND would tie the game at 2-2 in the third period with a goal by freshman forward Nick Schmaltz. That would be all of the scoring and the game would end in a 2-2 tie.
Tonight, Nick Schmaltz returned to the lineup after missing four games due to a hand injury. After the game, Schmaltz talked about his return to the lineup.
“It always takes a little bit to get back into it,” Schmaltz said. “Little rusty, but I think as the game wore on I got better. So, we just have to bring the same level of compete tomorrow and take care of the puck a little better.”
The NCHC uses the shootout to settle ties for league points. Ironically, this was UND’s first shootout in a season and half of play. Unfortunately, UND would lose in the shootout 1-0. Maverick forward Dominic Zombo scored the lone goal in the shootout. While he didn’t participate in the shootout, Schmaltz offered his thoughts on the shootout.
“I like it, I don’t like the game ending in a tie,” Schmaltz said. “It didn’t go our way and we’re going to have to come back tomorrow harder.”
If UND wants to get a win tomorrow night, they’re going to have to tighten up in their own zone. Coach Hakstol spelled it out.
“I didn’t think we were hard enough with pucks tonight, Hakstol said. “Either coming up ice – in open ice – or down low in either end.”
Game two of the series is at 7:00 p.m. CT.
From the historical stats department: In thirteen games between North Dakota and Nebraska-Omaha, 9-of-13 games have been settled by two goals or less.
With the tie, UND is (9-3-2, 4-2-1 NCHC), and UNO is (7-2-2, 3-1-1 NCHC).