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February 2, 2014 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

Roundup: Zombo Hat Trick Powers UNO

Duluth Rolling, Sweeps at WMU

CHN Staff Report

Defense and goaltending have been issues for St. Cloud State during its recent shaky stretch, but nothing could've foretold giving up an eight-spot to Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday.

The Mavericks won 8-6 as the teams split the weekend. Joey Benik scored twice for St. Cloud on Friday in his return from injury. UNO then got a hat trick from Dominic Zombo.

The track meet was the kind of game UNO coach Dean Blais reveled in when he coached North Dakota to a pair of national titles.

“I love to win those games,” Blais told the Omaha World-Herald. "I was (ticked) we gave up that sixth goal. That would have been good team defense.”

But UNO forward Josh Archibald acknowledged that it's not necessarily good to rely upon that kind of game.

“You get in games like this and everything is going in — bounces, weird-angle shots,” Archibald said to the OWH. “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.”

SCSU goalie Ryan Faragher was pulled after allowing four goals in 27 minutes, and his save percentage is down to .904. But he came back in after a brief stint from freshman Charlie Lindgren.

“There was a lot of questionable goaltending going on, that's for sure,” Huskies coach Bob Motzko told the OWH.

UNO was playing without goalie Ryan Massa, who is nursing a groin injury. Freshman Kirk Thompson started, but didn't fare well. Fellow freshman Reed Peters then stopped 16 of 19 shots to get his first career win in just four appearances.

None of UNO's goaltenders have a save percentage better than .887.

* * *

Minnesota-Duluth improved to 6-1-2 in its last nine games with a sweep at Western Michigan this weekend, including a 3-1 win Saturday behind 32 saves from Aaron Crandall.

“We played a team that was on top of their game and Duluth had a tremendous weekend," WMU coach Andy Murray said. "They had their skating legs, their work ethic, their work boots were on, and they played really hard. I thought tonight was a total difference from last night’s game in the sense that I liked my team tonight. Last night, I felt at times I was coaching a group of individuals that had a focus that was beyond what was good for the team and tonight I thought we had a group that battled and competed hard, it was unfortunate that we didn’t score on some of the opportunities that we had. Nine shots on that one power play and we couldn’t find the net.

“Some of our individual players will look at this weekend and say they were not on top of their game and we need to find a way so that is not the case."

Western Michigan came into the weekend with a six-game unbeaten streak, but leaves with two losses.

“Our team was riding high and we were confident coming into this weekend," forward Will Kessel said. "Obviously two losses is not what we were aiming for at all. Our team is down right now but Monday we are going to come back and regroup and be ready for next weekend. ... We made some bone head plays and we weren’t there mentally on some of the goals that we gave away.”

Neither team scored on a combined 11 power-play chances.

“It is an intense and physical brand of hockey," Murray said. "That is what we are building towards and the types of players that we are recruiting so we can compete in these kinds of games. We are taking steps here every single day."

The Bulldogs won three of the four regular-season meetings this season.

“They are a chippy team and we are a chippy team," Kessel said. "They are fun to play against, they got the best of us in the four game series this year but hopefully we get a shot in the playoffs.”

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