The 2014-15 Mavericks looked to have flipped that script.
Former UND head coach Dean Blais and Nebraska-Omaha head to the Ralph tonight and Saturday for a two-game National Collegiate Hockey Conference turkey day weekend tussle boasting the conference's best defense and a goaltender in Ryan Massa that is playing lights out.
The senior netminder is 6-1-1 on the year with the nation's fourth best goals against average at 1.49 and second best save percentage at .951. The Mavericks also boast the seventh-best penalty kill, going 40-for-44 on the year, 90.4 percent.
Not Only Defense?
This past weekend, Omaha (7-2-1) earned a home split with Minnesota-Duluth falling 3-2 on Friday night and coming back and netting some big goals en route to a 4-1 win on Saturday.
Omaha sophomore forward Austin Ortega, the team's leading scorer coming into this weekend (5g, 8a -- 13 pts), felt that this result may indicate a pattern against UND.
“Tonight we were able to get up on the board; we really showed we’re a scoring team,” Ortega said after the 4-1 win. “Kind of sending a message to North Dakota that we can score on any goalie out there.”
Something To Say?
UND junior goaltender Zane McIntyre and No. 2 North Dakota may have something to say about that.
Massa carries the better numbers into this weekend, but McIntyre carries the pedigree and some pretty solid numbers himself. The junior boasts at 9-3-1, a 2.04 GAA and a .927 save percentage.
The Green and White will look to best Massa with a top-line that features the nation's third leading scorer in Drake Caggiula, senior centerman Mark McMillan and senior winger Mike Parks. The trio has combined for 18 goals and 24 points, with Caggiula leading the way with 17.
DDC is back in the north country visiting the family with Mrs. DDC and baby and is looking forward to stuffing his face, chasing the little one from family member to family member and watching a great series. Call DDC maybe a bit biased, but, in his time watching Nebraska-Omaha play, he's never been impressed by them defensively. Evidently this year's squad has righted the defensive ship, so to say. DDC is a little more skeptical. As pointed out in Puck Daddy's college hockey blog posted this week, an unbelievably hot goaltender, a huge shooting percentage and lack of puck possession all are signals for the ride to slow for Omaha. DDC thinks a series at UND in Grand Forks may just be the reason.