Team of the Week: Nebraska-Omaha
CHN Staff Report
After an up-and-down start to the season, Nebraska-Omaha put together strong back-to-back performances in games at Michigan Tech last weekend to rise above .500 for the season. With that, the Mavericks earned CHN's Team of the Week honors.
The weekend featured the breakout of junior forward Zahn Raubenheimer, who was named WCHA Player of the Week for his efforts. Raubenheimer, who had four goals as a freshman and just one last season, scored four goals for the weekend (two in each game), upping his season total to five.
In fact, he was the entire offense in Friday's 2-1 win, including a shorthanded game winner. Saturday, he scored twice in a four-goal second period that ignited the Mavericks to a 5-2 win over Tech.
Raubenheimer was a prolific scorer in junior, notching 47 goals his last season, but has struggled to find his offensive game in college. But he's in the right hands with UNO coach Dean Blais.
“I’ve got my confidence back and Coach Blais has given me the leeway to step up and take the reins on offense and carry the puck more,” Raubenheimer told the Omaha World-Herald. “Tonight I just kept moving my feet, and Johnnie and Brock (Montpetit) kept finding me with great passes and the puck went in for me. It was a great weekend for our line.”
The team played without junior Matt White this past weekend. White has three goals in six games, but was sat out for the weekend because of academic issues. He is expected back this weekend when the Mavericks take on Minnesota-Duluth in a two-game set in Omaha.
Ryan Walters broke out of a 13-game goal-scoring slump by scoring his first goal of the season during Saturday's win. The power-play goal snapped a string of 18 straight chances without scoring.
“Whatever he did this week, I want to know so I can do the same thing,” Walters said of Raubenheimer.
The goaltending situation may be stabilizing. Senior John Faulkner was splitting time to start the season with freshman phenom Anthony Stolarz, a 6-foot-5 netminder who was drafted in the second round by Philadelphia last June. But Stolarz, after two tough-luck losses to start his college career, was pulled in favor in Faulkner during his third start.
Consequently, Faulkner got both starts this past weekend against the Huskies, and he responded, lowering his goals against average below 2.00 and improving his record to 4-0-1. After an up-and-down first three years in Omaha (just an .886 save percentage last season), Blais is hoping he's finally found a reliable go-to guy.
“It was a character weekend for us,” Blais told the Herald. “We were good on the penalty kill all weekend, we got good attempts on the power play and our line flow was better all the way down the ice.”