When the UMD men’s hockey team went to Nebraska-Omaha last season, the Mavericks ended the Bulldogs’ 17-game unbeaten streak. This year, the Bulldogs went to Omaha with a three-game winless streak and left with a five-game winless streak.
UMD fell to Nebraska-Omaha (6-3-1 overall, 4-1-1 WCHA) by scores of 3-2 and 6-3 in a rare Saturday/Sunday series at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha.
With the sweep, the Bulldogs (2-5-1 overall, 0-3-1 WCHA) fell out of the United States College Hockey Online top-20 poll for the first time since October 2009.
The Bulldogs found themselves trailing from the get-go. UNO’s Josh Archibald scored just 38 seconds into Saturday’s game for the Mavericks, putting the Bulldogs in an early hole. Then, Ryan Walters put them up by two with a goal at the 5:35 mark of the first period.
The 2-0 lead is often considered the worst lead to have in hockey, and the Bulldogs quickly made it evaporate. Senior Mike Seidel scored his fourth goal of the season on a 5-on-3 power play at the 14:01 mark. Freshman Tony Cameranesi tied it for the Bulldogs in the waning seconds of the period with his third score of the season on another UMD power play.
Both goalies remained locked in a duel until late in the third when UMD’s Adam Krause took a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind. That set up the game-winning goal for UNO’s Michael Young just over two minutes later.
Matt McNeely got the nod in net for the Bulldogs again. The freshman stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced in the game. UNO’s John Faulkner was sharp, stopping 30 of 32 shots, including UMD’s barrage of 18 shots in the second period alone.
The teams had a quick turnaround, playing again Sunday afternoon. This time, the Bulldogs got off to a quick start, but they could not turn it into a win.
Seidel scored just 3:13 into the game for UMD, his second goal of the series. But UNO fired back later in the period. Dominic Zombo netted his first goal of the season on a Mavericks power play and Matt White put them ahead just minutes later with his fourth of the season.
However, UMD was not done yet. Senior Joe Basaraba retied the game at 2-2 with a goal in the final minute of the period.
The second period proved to be defensive for both sides until UNO put up two goals in the final 1:14 of the period that sealed the Bulldogs’ fate. Andrej Sustr scored a power play goal and Zombo quickly added another to give the Mavericks a two-goal lead with only 10 seconds remaining in the second.
But UMD wasn’t done yet. Freshman Austin Farley got on the board with a power play goal just 1:10 into the third. However, UNO recorded the game’s final two goals. Ryan Walters and Brent Gwidt delivered as the Mavericks coasted to victory.
The game was likely the worst of McNeely’s young career. He allowed six goals, two each period, on 28 shots. Faulkner again earned the win with a 31-save performance.
The Bulldogs will head to Grand Forks this weekend for a Friday/Saturday series with the University of North Dakota (4-3-1 overall, 2-1-1 WCHA). The series will mark the final time the teams play each other as members of the WCHA.
BY TOM OLSEN firstname.lastname@example.org