Rebry's Early OT Goal Sends WMU to NCHC Semifinals
CHN Staff Report
With the win, WMU, which is already assured of an NCAA berth, will play Minnesota-Duluth in the semifinals at Target Center in Minneapolis next Friday.
UNO's season is over with a 17-17-5 record. It hasn't advanced to the final weekend of their conference tournament since 2005.
On the game-winning goal, Rebry collected a bouncing puck along the left wing wall. He cut to the net and slipped a backhander between the legs of Evan Weninger for his second goal of the weekend.
"We were playing fast. We were pressuring the puck. And our guys were determined," WMU coach Andy Murray said. "And we had bodies in front of the net, something we didn't do in the first game.
"We talked before it went into the overtime, how it was going to switch ends again, and they were going to have the long change away from their bench. And it was going to be really important to get the first puck in and play in their zone — and obviously that's the exact play I drew up."
Western Michigan saw the return of senior captain Sheldon Dries to the lineup. The team's second-leading goal scorer, Dries missed the first two games of the series, and still isn't 100 percent, but returned anyway.
"Our captain was able to get back in the lineup tonight, and that was a source of inspiration for us," Murray said.
On the flip side, freshman standout Wade Allison left the game on a stretcher in the first period after a collision. He was taken to the hospital and later released.
For the second night in a row, the Mavericks got on the board first. On a power play, Austin Ortega carried the puck behind the Western Michigan net and then yanked a pass back to Tyler Vesel. Vesel was uncovered, and he knocked the puck past surprised goaltender Ben Blacker at 6:31.
But that was all for the Mavericks.
"We played everybody. Our minutes were balanced. We got solid goaltending," Murray said. "And the physical compete was at a real high level."