KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Senior Justin Parizek scored 4:17 into overtime to give the Omaha hockey team a 2-1 win over No. 7/8 Western Michigan in game one of their NCHC playoff series.
The Mavericks improved to 17-15-5 on the season and can close out the best-of-three series with a win on Saturday night. The Broncos dropped to 20-10-5.
On the game-winning goal, Mason Morelli won a faceoff back to Parizek. His shot was deflected and fluttered over goaltender Ben Blacker into the top corner of the net. It was Parizek’s 12th goal of the year.
The goal ended a wildly entertaining game that saw the teams trade chances and even combine for 11 shots in a little more than four minute of overtime.
The Mavericks peppered Blacker early in the game, outshooting the Broncos 7-0 at one point, but the Broncos grabbed the first lead of the game. Colt Conrad stole the puck and had his deflected shot ricochet to Paul Stoykewych. Stoykewych fired a shot past a diving Evan Weninger at 15:34.
The Mavericks tied the game midway through the second period. Luke Nogard outmuscled a Bronco defender and threw a pass across the crease to Jake Randolph who backhanded home his sixth goal of the year at 9:38.
The Mavericks had several chances to settle the game late in the third period, thanks in part to a power play. Both Zach Jordan and Austin Ortega had chances in close that were turned away by Blacker.
It was UNO’s first playoff victory since a 5-4 win over Denver in the 2014 NCHC quarterfinals and just their second in conference play. The Mavericks improved to 10-13 all-time in playoff series openers.
Weninger finished the night with 27 saves while Blacker stopped 35 as the Mavericks outshot the Broncos, 37-28.