This Week The Omaha Mavericks make history this week when they play their first games in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, the league they helped form two years ago. The Mavericks will visit Denver for games on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1-2. Friday’s game begins at 7:37 p.m. MT, and Saturday’s game starts at 7:07 p.m. MT from Magness Arena.
The Teams The Mavericks are 2-4-0 overall and are coming off a sweep at the hands of Cornell last weekend. The Big Red won 5-3 and 4-3 at the CenturyLink Center on Oct. 25-26. The Mavs are 1-1-0 on the road this year after a split at Northern Michigan on Oct. 18-19. The Mavericks are 3-12-2 all-time against Denver including a mark of 0-8-2 all-time in the Mile High City.
The Pioneers are 3-3-0 this season and like the Mavericks are playing their first NCHC games this weekend. Last week, DU split a pair of games at home, beating Niagara, 5-1, on Friday before losing to Canisius, 4-1, on Saturday. The Pioneers are 3-1-0 at Magness Arena this season.
Last Time Out The Mavericks were swept for the first time this season, losing to Cornell, 5-3 and 4-3, last weekend at home. On Friday, Cornell scored three third-period goals to come from behind and win the first ever game between the two schools. Tanner Lane, Josh Archibald and Ryan Walters scored for UNO. Archibald’s goal came on a penalty shot, the first for a Mavericks since February of 2008. Kirk Thompson made 15 saves in the loss.
On Saturday, the Mavericks fell into a 2-0 hole on a pair of powerplay goals in the first period, but Brock Montpetit scored midway through the second period to narrow the deficit. Cornell got another powerplay goal just 1:11 later, but Dominic Zombo again drew the Mavs to within one with a powerplay goal late in the second. In the third, Cornell stretched its lead to 4-2, but Johnnie Searfoss again narrowed the advantage with a little over five minutes to play with his first goal of the year. It would be as close as the Mavs would get. Ryan Massa stopped nine shots in the UNO net.
The Coaches Dean Blais is in his fifth year as the head coach of the Mavericks, having led UNO to two 20-win campaigns in that time. The 1973 graduate of Minnesota has posted a career record of 338-187-47 (.632) in his career as a head coach and has guided the Mavericks to a mark of 76-72-16 (.512).
Blais is a two-time Spencer Penrose Memorial Award winner as the Division I coach of the year and a four-time winner of the WCHA’s Coach of the Year Award. He spent 10 years as head coach at North Dakota where he led UND to national championships in 1997 and 2000. He is assisted by coaches Troy Jutting and Alex Todd who both have extensive head coaching experience, Jutting at Minnesota State and Todd at Castleton (Vt.) State .
Jim Montgomery is in his first season as Denver’s head coach after three successful seasons as head coach and general manager of Dubuque of the United States Hockey League where he led the team to two Clark Cup titles. The 1993 graduate of Maine is assisted by Steve Miller and David Lassonde.
Media Both games can be heard live on 1180 The Zone 2. Dave Ahlers will have the play-by-play, and Terry Leahy will provide analysis. Coverage begins with the First National Bank Pre-Game Show 30 minutes before game time. Streaming audio, video and live stats are available at OMavs.com.
Up Next For the Mavericks The Mavericks host their first NCHC games on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9-10 when they welcome North Dakota. Saturday’s game begins at 7:07 p.m., and Sunday’s game faces off at 5:07 p.m. at the CenturyLink Center.