It may have taken a little while for Nebraska-Omaha’s offense to get going against NAIT on Monday night, but once it did, the floodgates opened in what ended up being a 6-1 exhibition triumph over the Ooks at CenturyLink Center.
UNO 6-1 NAIT (All photos by Matthew Semisch)
UNO head coach Dean Blais
UNO forwards Ryan Walters (left) and Johnnie Searfoss (right)
Other thoughts and notes:
- UNO senior forward Johnnie Searfoss told reporters after the game that his hat trick on Monday was his very first. Going through Dallas-Fort Worth youth hockey records to fact-check the Colleyville, Texas native’s claim might prove needlessly difficult, so let’s go ahead and just take his word for it.
- All three Maverick goaltenders – junior Ryan Massa and freshmen Kirk Thompson and Reed Peters – each played 20 minutes against the Ooks. Thompson (12 saves, zero goals allowed) had a somewhat stronger showing than Peters (five saves, one goal allowed), but Blais suggested that neither newcomer has locked down the No. 2 position behind Massa.
- Ryan Walters, a Hobey Baker Memorial Award candidate last season, was UNO’s best player early in Monday’s game. He didn’t register any goals against NAIT – and numbers from the game won’t count towards the Mavericks’ 2013-14 season statistics anyway – but he opened the game up and sprang Dominic Zombo and Searfoss for their goals in the first and second period, respectively.
- Going back to UNO’s eight freshmen, though, forward Jake Guentzel was arguably the Mavericks’ best newcomer Monday night. Put together on a line with Searfoss and fellow freshman Austin Ortega, Guentzel was everywhere on the ice when his line’s number was called, and, after coming into the NAIT zone on a 2-on-1, he placed a heck of a lot of zip on his centering feed to Searfoss for the senior’s third goal of the game.
- In all, five UNO freshmen found the scoresheet Monday. Guentzel, Ortega and defenseman Ian Brady each had one assist, defenseman Matt Youso had two, and forward Justin Parizek scored early in the game’s third period.
- As well as goaltending, defensive depth is one of UNO’s biggest question marks coming into the new season, but the Mavericks did a decent job of containing the Ooks’ offense. NAIT was outshot 39-24 on the game and went 0-for-9 on the power play.
- Former Nebraska-Omaha player Mike Gabinet (2000-2004) is in his second season as an assistant coach at NAIT. Interestingly, however, he wasn’t named over the PA system when the Ooks’ coaching staff were introduced to the crowd. Disappointing, that, as it was an opportunity missed to let Maverick fans show their appreciation.
- Speaking of spectators, the announced attendance Monday at the CenturyLink was 2,218. How many of those tickets were used by residents of a retirement home that was given a shout-out by the PA announcer during a break in the game, however, is unclear.