Sunday, March 02, 2014

UNO Sweeps Colorado College with 2-1 Overtime Victory

Senior defenseman Michael Young's goal just 55 seconds into overtime gave UNO a 2-1 victory over Colorado College. The weekend sweep of the Tigers moved the Mavs into sole possession of third place, and virtually assured UNO of home ice in the first round of the NCHC playoffs in two weeks.

Thanks to multiple accidents on Interstate 80 last evening, we were late arriving to the game, and missed Colorado College's goal just 35 seconds into the game.  UNO tied the game midway through the first period with a power play goal by Jake Guentzel, but from there, both goalies held firm.  UNO had multiple opportunities to win the game late in the third period, with Ryan Walters narrowly missing on a breakaway attempt with just under two minutes in regulation, then Dominic Zombo unable to take advantage of an out-of-position CC goalie Josh Thorimbert a few seconds later.

But UNO kept the pressure up in overtime to secure the six point weekend.  UNO now trails North Dakota and St. Cloud State by one game going into the final weekend of the season.  If UNO can sweep fourth-place Minnesota Duluth on the road this weekend, the Mavs have a chance to finish the season tied for first place if both North Dakota (at home against Western Michigan) and St. Cloud State (on the road at Colorado College) can only manage weekend splits.

To maintain home ice, UNO just needs one point - either by them or North Dakota.  It would take sweeps by both Duluth and Western Michigan (at North Dakota) to put the Mavs on the road for the first round of the playoffs. So is UNO rooting for the Sioux? Probably not, because if Western Michigan can somehow pull off a sweep, UNO could claim a regular season title.

The standings are pretty tight from positions one through six only being about three games apart, so UNO's opponent for the playoffs won't be known until after next Saturday night's games. The most likely opponents would be Denver, who hosts last place Miami, or Western Michigan.  That series would begin on Thursday, March 13th, thanks to MECA's Demi Lovato concert, which was somehow scheduled for Sunday night.  Games two and three would be Friday and Saturday night (if necessary).

The postgame celebration at the CenturyLink Center with fans:

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