The UNO hockey team continued it's February surge with a 4-3 victory over formerly #7 Wisconsin tonight. The Mavs opened the scoring on a sweet two-on-one break, with Ryan Walters feeding Brock Montpetit for the easy goal midway through the first period. Wisconsin tied the game with under 30 seconds left in the period, then momentarily appeared to take the lead with just seconds left with a high arching shot. That goal was waived off after it was determined that a Badger deflected the puck well over his head with one of the more flagrant high sticks seen in quite a while.
Midway through the second period, Matt Ambrosz tapped in a rebound into a wide open net while being hauled down by Wisconsin's Eric Springer to not only give UNO the lead but also a power play.
Alex Hudson tapped in a rebound later in the second to widen the lead to 3-1, then Ambrosz drilled home the eventual game winner on another 2-on-1 break early in the third period. Two unfortunate penalty calls late in the third period resulted in two Badger power play goals, but the Badgers were unable to tie the game in the closing seconds.
The Mavs now are tied with Minnesota-Duluth for third place, and sit a mere two points out of first place in the conference standings. Not sure how UNO will fare nationally, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Mavs inch closer to the top ten. But that's not as important as the Pairwise rankings; last week, UNO was on the bubble as the last team in the NCAA tournament. The sweep of the Badgers caused the Mavs to jump to eighth place; a solid position, but very volatile since games remain against Denver and Minnesota-Duluth, who both are ahead of the Mavs.
Can UNO put together a campaign to promote the series against #4 Denver in two weeks? Considering what's at stake (playoff seeding, PairWise rankings, and a potential regular season championship), it's certainly worthy of a big crowd and the promotion.