Nanook icers trade wins as Mavericks ‘go rogue’
The Nanooks had a rollercoaster of a weekend on the ice, as the hockey team went one-and-one against the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks at the Carlson Center.
Despite a Saturday night loss, Coach Dallas Ferguson said the team is still poised to control their destiny in the second half of the season. “I wouldn’t say we’re on a roll,” he said. “But I wouldn’t think we’re in a tailspin either.”
Friday’s game got off to a shocking start when UNO’s Jeric Agosta batted the puck past Alaska goaltender Scott Greenham only 17 seconds into the first period. The Nanooks answered back in short order, however, scoring three goals in the space of a minute and a half midway through the period. Chad Gehon tacked on a fourth score at 7:43 in the second period, and then the Mavericks’ offense came alive. Omaha unleashed a furious attack on Greenham and the UAF defenders that resulted in two Nebraska scores in the next four minutes. With the score at 4-3, the Nanooks managed to avoid getting further bucked by the Mavericks and hung on for the rest of the game. Greenham managed 31 saves to assure the win.
After the Friday game, players and coaches alike were happy to have come away with a win. “We haven’t been our best on Friday nights, so it’s good to get out here and get our victory,” said freshman wing Gehon. “Now we can look forward to focusing on tomorrow night.”
Saturday saw a different Mavericks squad than the one Alaska faced the night before. Though the Nanooks struck first with an early goal from sophomore defenseman Aaron Gens, Omaha came back with a furious attack that kept the Nooks playing defense for much of the remainder of the first and second periods. The Alaska squad stepped up their level of play too, and only one shot slipped by Greenham as the second period came to close.
The third period was another story altogether. The Mavericks poured in four straight goals on Greenham, leaving the Nanooks stunned and frustrated. The team fought back with everything they could muster, but time was short and despite goals from senior Dion Knelsen and freshman Andy Taranto, the effort came up short and Alaska fell 5-3.
“They capitalized on a few breakdowns and unfortunate situations… it’s a pretty tough hill to climb at that point in the game,” said junior wing Kevin Petovello after the game. “I think the will was there, it’s just the way it worked out tonight, with a hungry team on the other side.”
In a post-game press conference, Ferguson made no bones about Saturday’s result. “We’re very disappointed with the outcome,” he said. “Obviously, going into the third period, we wouldn’t have ever thought that was going to happen.”
Ferguson said that, more than anything else, the split series might help the team focus as they consider their course for the rest of the season. “If you want to be a top college hockey team, you have to be extremely tough mentally,” he said. “[The team’s situation] could be a lot worse. I don’t think we should talk about it like it’s bad.”