Took in my first Nebraska-Omaha hockey game this past weekend and came away impressed with my first glance at the new-look Mavericks. Assuming that UMass-Lowell is as good as some expect (ranked 10th nationally in the preseason polls), coming back to win 4-3 is a good start. What impressed me at the start was the crispness of play after just one week of official practices; I didn't see the lazy passes and mistakes that you normally see early in the season. The speed level seemed better, and at the end of the game, UNO was able to carry the play much of the way.
Freshman Terry Broadhurst scored the first two game-winning goals this weekend, breaking out to an impressive start. Redshirt freshman goalie John Faulkner came on in relief both games this season to bail out senior Jeremie Dupont. I'm surprised by Dupont's struggles in the early games, as I expected to see Dupont take advantage of his opportunity to become a dominant goalie in his senior season. Faulkner did well in junior hockey playing on offensive-minded teams, which might prepare him well for what we'll see at UNO.
Overall, it was a good night of hockey to cap off a good start to hockey season. New radio play-by-play announcer Dave Ahlers was fine, and it's nice to listen to the game with FM clarity on a stronger signal. It's going to take some time to get adjusted to former Z-92 morning host Otis XII promoting Mozart during breaks in the action, and I think the continued branding of "Omaha's Team" may become even more annoying than Steve Pederson's horrid "Power of Red" slogan. The loss of the band at games wasn't as disappointing as I thought it would be. I'd still like to see the Music and Athletic departments find an agreement, but it's not as big of a loss as I originally feared.
I'm curious to see how this squad reacts to the Blais system. First weekend was very good, but I still expect some bumps as the team adapts to a more offensive mindset.