UNO Sweeps Miami; Leitner Gets First Goal for Minnesota State
CHN Staff Report
Nebraska-Omaha made its case for College Hockey News Team of the Week with a weekend sweep of Miami.
Saturday, Tanner Lane scored a shorthanded goal early in the second period for the eventual game winner, and Ryan Massa stopped 25 shots for his fifth straight win.
UNO is now 5-1 in the NCHC, atop the standings.
“(Critics) were saying maybe it wasn’t going to be our year,” senior forward Ryan Walters told the Omaha World Herald. “Obviously we’re not the same team we were a month ago. I think it goes to show that if you keep working hard and know that you can do it ... it shows a lot of character.”
Friday, Miami was lit up for an uncharacteristic five goals in the second period in a 6-3 loss.
“I thought it was a better effort by our guys (Saturday),” Miami coach Enrico Blasi told the Herald. “Two power-play goals, and a shorty was the difference ... The credit goes to UNO. They played great all weekend, deserved to win both nights, and we’ve got some work to do to get back on track.”
Minnesota-Duluth avenged Friday's loss with a 6-2 rout of Minnesota on Sunday. Though these two teams are no longer conference rivals, it's of course still a big intrastate matchup.
The win helped UMD get back above .500, at 6-5-1, while Minnesota dropped just its second game of the season (9-2-1). It was the Gophers' first loss at Mariucci Arena since last March.
The Bulldogs scored three goals on the game's first eight shots. Dominic Toninato set the tone with a shorthanded goal to open the scoring.
After Minnesota got it to 3-1, UMD scored a pair of power-play goals to widen the gap, from Austin Farley and Kyle Osterberg. The latter goal ran Minnesota starter Adam Wilcox from the game. Wilcox, who stopped 36 shots Friday, allowed five goals on 17 shots in Sunday's loss.
“You can’t give up four goals on the penalty kill and give up a shorthanded goal, and give ourselves a chance to win,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia told reporters. “We didn’t play with great structure. I don’t think we were real disciplined in our play.”
Minnesota's Sam Warning extended his season-opening point streak to 12 games.
Minnesota plays its first-ever Big Ten conference games next weekend, ending a six-game homestand with a series against Wisconsin.
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Minnesota State rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat host Bowling Green in overtime Saturday. That earned a split of the series, after Bowling Green won in OT on Friday.
Junior forward Matt Leitner, a preseason WCHA Player of the Year pick, finally scored his first goal of the season, opening the scoring for the Mavericks. He then assisted on the game winner, 1:30 into overtime.
Stephon Williams was pulled after allowing two goals on 13 shots, and freshman Cole Huggins got the wins, stopping all 21 shots he faced.
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Cory Ward scored his team-leading eighth goal of the year one minute into overtime to lift the Bemidji State to a 2-1 victory over Lake Superior State on Saturday. The teams split the weekend series. Bemidji State had been 0-5-14 in its last 19 overtime games until then.