Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.
Nebraska Omaha could have moved into a first-place tie with the Gophers in the WCHA standings with a win on Sunday afternoon.
Instead, the red Mavericks tied visiting St. Cloud State 2-2 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha. The tie gave UNO (7-6-3, 6-3-3) three of four possible points from the two-game WCHA series. With 15 points, UNO is tied with Minnesota Duluth for second place in the conference, one point behind the Gophers who have played two fewer conference games.
For the second game in a row, the Huskies struck first on Brooks Bertsch's rebound goal at 6:23 of the opening period. The Mavericks tied the score with 13.7 seconds left in the period on Brock Montpetit's power-play goal.
Matt White put UNO ahead 2-1 midway through the second period on his sixth goal of the year.
St. Cloud State (6-7-3, 4-4-2) tied with 1:07 left in the middle period. Travis Novak dug the puck off the right-wing wall and found Ben Hanowski who fired a quick wrist shot past Dayn Belfour to make it 2-2 after two periods. It was Hanowski's 10th goal of the season.
Ryan Faragher had 26 saves for SCSU, Dayn Belfour 22 for UNO. Both are freshmen.
Next the Mavericks will play a non-conference series against Alabama-Huntsville on Friday and Saturday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., home of the NHL's Nashville Predators. St. Cloud State will face Bemidji State at the National Hockey Center next weekend.
Nebrask Omaha, ranked No. 14 nationally, will host their 11th Mutual of Omaha Stampede this weekend to open the regular season.
The Mavericks will play Mercyhurst at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and then face-off against either Colgate or Robert Morris the following night at 7:07 p.m. at CenturyLink Center Omaha. The early games will feature Colgate and Robert Morris at 4:37 p.m. Friday and Mercyhurst against Colgate or Robert Morris on 4 p.m. Saturday.
UNO is coming off the fifth 20-win season in its history and the second straight, according to a news release from the school. The Mavericks posted a record of 20-16-2 last year and were 17-9-2 in their first year in the WCHA. They finished the regular season in third place, their highest conference finish ever, and earned the second trip to the NCAA playoffs in school history. The Mavs fell 3-2 in overtime to national runner-up Michigan in the first round of the West Regional.
Mercyhurst was 15-18-4 last year and 12-13-2 in Atlantic Hockey play, good for seventh place. The Lakers lost to Connecticut in two games in the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals.
Colgate was 11-28-3 last year and posted a record of 4-15-3 in ECAC Hockey, good for 12th place. The upset-minded Red Raiders knocked off RPI in three games in the first round of the ECAC playoffs and then stunned Union in three games in the quarterfinals. The Raiders then bowed to Yale 4-0 in the in the semifinals and lost to Darmouth 5-3 in the third-place game.
Robert Morris was 18-12-5 overall and 13-9-5 in Atlantic Hockey, putting it in fifth place. The Colonials got knocked out of the league playoffs with a 5-1 loss to Mercyhurst in the first round.
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