Box scores typically indicate which team controls the game. Other times, it leaves you puzzled.
Those who saw the Nebraska-Omaha/Alabama-Huntsville shots-on-goal total from Saturday night, probably wondered how in the world the Mavericks were held to a single goal on 59 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss to one of the nation’s weakest teams.
The Mavericks are the only team in Division I to finish a game with 59 shots on goal or more this season. UNO finished with 60 shots in the season opener against Clarkson.
UNO finished Saturday night’s first period with 12 shots and the second period with 25 more on goal without a goal to show for it.
“It was frustrating but we were focusing on the positives,” said senior captain Joey Martin, “We were getting shots, we were getting chances. We thought if we’d keep getting chances, we’d get a goal and that was our mentality going into the third period.”
With 1:10 left in the second period, UAH’s Mac Roy went off for slashing. The penalty carried over to the third period and Justin Csester got the puck for UAH deep in the defensive zone when the penalty was about to expire.
Csester found Roy on a long pass that led to a breakaway goal to give the Chargers their third lead in eight games against WCHA opponents this season.
Sebastian Geoffrion, Blake’s younger brother, scored the game-winner in overtime on a rebound and a put-back to give UAH its first win of the season and fourth overall. UNO outshot UAH 59-19 Saturday and 44-20 in a 4-0 win the night before.
“It was a game where we had a lot of opportunities and their goalie stole the show,” Martin said. “We had a lot of chances in close and he made big saves all night.”
“That’s the way hockey goes. We got a boatload of opportunities especially on the power play and we didn’t get any goals. They capitalized on a couple of bounces.”
The Mavericks are ranked 16th in the PairWise Rankings after the loss to UAH which means UNO would likely be left out of the NCAA Tournament if the selection process took place today.
(The Atlantic Hockey champion’s automatic bid would knock the No. 16 team out of the playoffs since the AHA champ will likely finish outside the PWR’s Top 16.)
UNO has a lot of work to do to make sure it’s within the playoff picture one month from now. After a home series with St. Cloud State, the Mavericks host No. 7 Wisconsin, travel to Alaska-Anchorage where the Seawolves are a difficult team to beat.
UNO concludes the regular season with a home series against No. 2 Denver and a trip to No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth.
“We can still accomplish great things this year,” Martin said. “The good thing is we have a lot of big games this year against some great teams. If we play hockey like we can, we’ll be successful and gain some ground.”
There were probably only a handful of people who thought a UAH win in Omaha was a possibility, but the WCHA as whole has become almost completely unpredictable.
UNO, riding the high of scoring eight goals Jan. 21 at North Dakota, loses a game it dominated against UAH. UND’s inability to find a rhythm after the break. SCSU and Minnesota State winning holiday tournaments they finished the first half near the bottom of the standings. Colorado College scoring 10 goals in two games against Michigan State and Michigan and then scored just two in a pair of losses at UAA.
It’s all because of parity’s presence in the WCHA. The league is so competitive from top to bottom that any team can beat any other team on any given night.
That is, except for Michigan Tech. The Huskies haven’t won since they took three points against Minnesota State, Oct. 15-16 and the overall winless streak has reached 21 (Tech tied St. Lawrence Jan. 14).
With two losses to Wisconsin last weekend, the Huskies’ losing streak in WCHA games sits at 16 which puts them two games away from history for the wrong reason. A sweep at the hands of UAA this weekend would tie the WCHA record for most consecutive losses.
CC set the record at 18 games in 1961-62.