What goes through your mind when you win a potential season-changing hockey game 8-6?
“I love to win those games,” UNO coach Dean Blais said, laughing and recalling a conversation with former Maverick coach Mike Kemp, UNO's assistant athletic director. “Kemper was saying he likes to win 1-0. I like to win ... 8-5. I was (ticked) we gave up that sixth goal. That would have been good team defense.”
It was a shootout at the OK Corral — er, CenturyLink Center — against fifth-ranked St. Cloud State, but the Mavs survived before a crowd of 7,892 Saturday night and moved into a three-way tie for second place in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Dominic Zombo had a hat trick, Brock Montpetit had two goals and Josh Archibald and Jake Guentzel each had three assists for the Mavericks.
“You get in games like this and everything is going in — bounces, weird-angle shots,” Archibald said. “It's really not the position you want to be in. You want to be in close, low-scoring games.
“But things happen. It's happened in the past and it happened tonight. We're just thankful we were on top.”
UNO (10-12-2, 7-5-2-1 NCHC) has 24 standings points, tied with North Dakota and Denver and two points behind St. Cloud State (14-6-4, 8-4-2).
Zahn Raubenheimer's second goal of the series broke a 5-5 third-period tie, and the Mavs extended their lead to 8-5 before St. Cloud State scored with 2:03 left.
Raubenheimer's laser from the low-left faceoff circle beat goalie Charlie Lindgren to the short side, over his right (stick-side) shoulder. It was similar to UNO's first goal against Ryan Faragher, which was the first career score for freshman Justin Parizek.
Faragher, the Huskies' workhorse goalie, was pulled after surrendering four goals in just over 27 minutes, but the Huskies switched back to Faragher after Raubenheimer's goal.
“There was a lot of questionable goaltending going on, that's for sure,” St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko said.
UNO, with No. 1 goalie Ryan Massa out with a groin injury, started freshman Kirk Thompson — who yielded three first-period goals, two against wide-open skaters, on 10 shots. The Mavs turned to freshman Reed Peters for the final two periods, and Peters picked up his first career win while stopping 16 of 19 shots.
“I didn't necessarily think Kirk had played all that badly, but I'm disappointed that ... he had to make one of those two saves on the second or third goal,” Blais said. “Three goals on (10) shots, I'm going to pull anyone. I'm going to pull an NHL goaltender.”
UNO started strong, with Parizek scoring just 2:33 into the game. Defenseman Nick Seeler, who had a goal and was a plus-3, set it up by forcing a turnover with a solid check against the boards on the right wing.
The Mavs made it 2-0 just 2:03 later as Austin Ortega's pass from behind the goal line trickled between the legs of Ryan Walters and onto the stick of Montpetit, who went top shelf for his ninth goal of the season.
But UNO's prosperity was short-lived, as Jono Davis was hit with a game misconduct for checking from behind, putting St. Cloud State on a five-minute power play. The Huskies cashed in just under two minutes later as Kalle Kossila worked the puck past Thompson.
Then St. Cloud State tied it at the 11:27 mark, as Jimmy Murray slipped past defenseman Ian Brady at the blue line and went in alone to beat Thompson. And the Huskies made it 3-2 with 1:45 left as Kossila and Joey Benik went in 2 on 1 against defenseman Michael Young just as a UNO power play was expiring. Young took Benik, but Benik slid the puck to Kossila, who beat Thompson.
“For a team to score three goals like that, it's a momentum killer, but it's going to happen in this league,” Raubenheimer said. “It could happen in the playoffs. We just have to learn from it.”
So UNO just scored the first two goals of the second period as well to take a 4-3 lead.
UNO had a 19-7 advantage in shots on goal in the period. Zombo, who had four goals in the series, scored twice in the second period.
“I never really felt in danger of losing that game, even when they tied it up 5-5,” Blais said.
“Obviously the guys battled hard. It was a tough, tough game.”
St. Cloud State (14-6-4, 8-4-2) .......................................... 3 1 2—6
At UNO (10-12-2, 7-5-2-1) ................................................ 2 3 3—8
First period: 1, UNO, Parizek 1 (Polk, Davis), 2:33. 2, UNO, Montpetit 9 (Ortega), 4:36. 3, SCSU, Kossila 10 (Prow, Dowd), 7:15 (pp). 4, SCSU, Murray 6 (Prochno), 11:27. 5, SCSU, Kossila 11 (Benik), 18:15.
Second period: 6, UNO, Seeler 3 (Archibald, Polk), 3:28. 7, UNO, Zombo 10 (Guentzel, Archibald), 7:20. 8, SCSU, Morley 7 (Benik, Prochno), 10:10. 9, UNO, Zombo 11 (Guentzel, Archibald), 12:46.
Third period: 10, SCSU, Kossila 12, 3:12. 11, UNO, Raubenheimer 4 (Searfoss), 5:26. 12, UNO, Zombo 12 (Guentzel, Brady), 10:03 (pp). 13, UNO, Montpetit 10 (Walters, Megna), 13:19. 14, SCSU, Thorson 8 (Bertsch, Papa), 17:57.
Shots on goal:
St. Cloud State .......................................... 13 7 12—32
UNO .......................................................... 14 19 11—44
Power plays: SCSU 1-3, UNO 1-3.
Penalties-minutes: SCSU 3-6, UNO 3-17.
Goalies: SCSU, Faragher 13-5-3 (34 shots, 28 saves), 40:41; Lindgren (10, shots, 8 saves). UNO, Thompson (10 shots, 7 saves), 20:00; Peters 1-3 (19 shots, 16 saves).