Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Period to Forget

Yesterday's UNO-Boston University hockey game in Woostah started off promising, with an early power play goal by Bill Thomas giving UNO a 1-0 lead, and freshman Jerad Kaufmann making outstanding save after outstanding save. But late in the first period, BU tied it up after an interference penalty on Scott Parse, making the Mav faithful gathered in the DCU Centre and sports bars all over town a little uneasy, as BU seemed to be controlling the play after being surprised by the Mavs early on.
In the second period, the Terriers came out like you'd expect the consensus #1 team in the country would, taking a 3-1 lead. The Mavs' Tomas Klempa quickly answered to pull the Mavs within one. But BU quickly countered with 2 goals in the next minute to blow the game wide open, ripping the heart out of the Mavs.
UNO's first NCAA game ended as a disappointing 9-2 blowout. Fans of teams that just missed the Big Skate will point to this game as proof that UNO didn't belong, but they forget that one week earlier, BU beat NCAA qualifier New Hampshire by the same 9-2 score. Boston U just might be that good. Like the Huskers vs. Miami-FL in the 2001 BCS title game at the Rose Bowel, someone else might have had a better matchup, but chances are that BU would have smashed anybody yesterday.

UNO fans can mope about the blowout, or remember a memorable season. UNO made that next step and played in the tournament, getting valuable experience. They've now experienced that environment, and know what champions play like. If they choose to, they can remember that awful taste in their mouth all summer long in the weight room and in training to drive them to take this program to the next level.

UNO loses seniors Mike Lefley and Jason Krischuk for sure, and it's quite possible that Scott Parse will sign with the LA Kings. That leaves quite a few talented underclassmen (Bill Thomas, Tomas Klempa, Alex Nikiforuk, Dan Charleston) with one more year of experience. Plus a solid goaltender with experience in Jerad Kaufmann. This team should still be loaded next year and can make another run for post-season.

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