St. Cloud, MN – After stopping 47 of 50 shots vs Wisconsin last weekend, Evan Weninger was named goaltender of the week in the NCHC. He likely made a play for the honor again this week as he turned aside 40 of 41 shots on goal in a 3-1 Omaha win Friday at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, MN. The win improved the Mavericks road record to 7-0-2 and allowed Omaha to move two points ahead of the Huskies into third place in the NCHC standings. The Huskies on the other hand suffered their 5th straight loss on home ice and continued their scoring drought with only one goal in the last 180 minutes at the Brooks Center.
Omaha struck first in the contest with a goal by Fredrik Olofsson at 9:48 of period one with his third goal of the season. Austin Ortega passed the puck to Olofsson off the left wall and his one-timer was stopped by Zach Driscoll. But, Olofsson was able to gather the rebound and punched it past the glove side of Driscoll for a 1-0 lead. Shots on goal in the first period were even at 7-7 and the Mavericks edged SCSU 13 to 12 in face offs. Omaha was 0 for 1 on the power play and blocked 8 SCSU shots. The Huskies were without a power play opportunity and blocked 6 shots on goal.
The Huskies started period two on the power play and converted in short order with Dennis Cholowski (Newell | J Poehing) getting his first collegiate goal at 1:37 of the period. Newell fed Cholowski from the top of the right circle and Cholowski wristed a shot from the top of the left circle that beat Weninger high glove side. However, Omaha responded with another goal at 15:54 by first-year forward Teemu Pulkkinen (Snuggerud | Stewart) for his third goal of the season. A shot from the point by Snuggerud bounced off the back wall and Pulkkinen backhanded a bouncing puck from a bad angle over the left shoulder of Driscoll. In a better effort by the Huskies in period two, they oushot the Mavericks 15 to 6 and had the advantage in faceoffs 24-21. With more pressure in the Omaha zone, the Mavericks were called upon to block 15 SCSU shots.
Despite outshooting Omaha 19 to 11 in period three, the Huskies were still unable to solve Weninger and fell behind further on a goal by Omaha’s Justin Parizek 1:24 into the period. Just at the expiration of a penalty to Mikey Eyssimont Ian Brady hit Justin Parizek with a rink length stretch pass allowing him to break in all alone on Driscoll and beat him with a wrist shot in the top right corner of the net for the 3-1 final.
SCSU outshot Omaha 41 to 24 in the contest but were unable to beat Weninger who stopped 40 of 41 SCSU shots on goal. The Huskies did win the battle of special teams scoring once in three attempts and killing all three Omaha power plays. SCSU’s Zach Driscoll allowed three goals on 14 shots on goal and was relieved after 41 minutes of play by Jeff Smith. Smith stopped all 10 shots on goal he faced in the third period. Weningers record improves to 6-2-2 with the win while Driscoll’s record drops to 6-5-1. The win improved the Mavericks overall record to 9-5-3 and conference record to 4-3-0 in the NCHC. The loss dropped SCSU to 7-7-1 overall and 3-5-1 in the NCHC.
The two teams complete the weekend series with a rematch at 7:07 PM CT on Saturday at the Brooks Center.