OXFORD, Ohio — Josh Archibald produced a hat trick, UNO scored two goals on a five-minute, third-period power play, and the Mavericks ended their seven-game winless streak in convincing fashion with a 5-1 victory Saturday night at Miami (Ohio).
“The guys are clicking on pretty much everything right now,” UNO coach Dean Blais said. “And (goalie) Ryan Massa made the saves when he had to make them.”
Miami scored first early in the second period, but Archibald tied it at the 12:15 mark after Dominic Zombo set up the score by stealing the puck after it was mishandled by Miami goalie Jay Williams.
Johnnie Searfoss, also one of the top players on UNO’s suddenly effective penalty kill, tipped in a Brian Cooper wrist shot at 15:36 to give the Mavs a 2-1 lead.
After Miami’s Jimmy Mullin was given a game misconduct for boarding that gave UNO a five-minute major power play, Archibald got his second goal by tipping in a Jake Guentzel shot at the 9:36 mark of the final period. Twenty-three seconds later, with the five-minute major still in effect, Ryan Walters set up Austin Ortega for the freshman’s sixth goal of the season and second of the series.
Archibald completed his hat trick at the end of a 5-on-3 power play, on another setup from Walters, with 6:09 to play.
“We played a patient game, and when the opportunities came we capitalized,” Blais said. “When they got the five-minute major, you could see their whole bench deflate — we’ve done that ourselves.
“And we got a couple of bounces tonight that we haven’t been getting.”
Archibald has an NCHC-best 17 goals, the third highest total in the country. He was also the last Mav to produce a hat trick, having done so Jan. 4, 2013, against Colorado College.
“He finds a way to get his stick on the puck because of his speed,” Blais said. “He tipped one in after he used his speed to beat a guy on the wing, then made a nice shot and had another tip-in. He was in a bit of a slump (a season-worst three-game goal drought). That whole line (including Zombo and Walters) had been the last three or four games. They were playing well, they just weren’t getting any goals.”
UNO (11-9-2, 6-4-2-1 NCHC) dominated in special teams, going 3 for 7 on the power play and killing off all seven man advantages for the RedHawks. UNO’s much-maligned penalty kill has now successfully killed off 20 straight penalties, improving to 75.8 percent for the season.
“We were hoping that would happen pretty soon,” Blais said of the penalty kill. “Everything is coming together there.”
Massa got his second consecutive start in goal and stopped 25 of 26 shots to improve to 6-5-1.
“He played pretty well Friday — they only had 13 shots on net and it’s hard for a goaltender when you’re not seeing a lot of action,” Blais said.
UNO went 3-0-1 in the season series with the RedHawks (9-10-3, 3-8-1-1).
The Mavs’ victory was their first since completing a sweep of the RedHawks on Nov. 23. From that point they’d gone 0-5-2, though they’d picked up an extra NCHC standings point for winning a shootout with Colorado College after their Dec. 7 tie.
UNO is off this weekend, then plays host to Nos. 3 and 4 St. Cloud State on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
“I really wish we had another game this week,” said Blais, whose players sang “Happy Birthday” to him (he’s 63) and presented him with the game puck after the game.
UNO (9-11-2, 6-4-2-1) ................................................ 0 2 3—5
At Miami (9-10-3, 3-8-1-1) .......................................... 0 1 0—1
Second period: 1, M, Loe 1 (Kuraly, Mullin), 1:24. 2, UNO, Archibald 15 (Zombo, O’Rourke), 12:15. 3, UNO, Searfoss 4 (Cooper, Raubenheimer), 15:36.
Third period: 4, UNO, Archibald 16 (Guentzel, Zombo), 9:36 (pp). 5, UNO, Ortega 6 (Walters, Montpetit), 9:59 (pp). 6, UNO, Archibald 17 (Walters, Young), 13:51 (pp, 5on3).
Shots on goal:
UNO ................................................ 11 9 8—28
At Miami .......................................... 5 14 7—26
Power plays: UNO 3-7, M 0-7.
Penalties-minutes: UNO 7-14, M 6-23.
Goalies: UNO, Massa 6-5-1 (26 shots, 25 saves), 59:44. M, M Williams 3-4 (28, shots, 23 saves), 60:00.