UNO will seek to continue its winning ways this weekend in its first road trip of the season.
The 2-0 Mavericks play Friday and Saturday at Ohio State (1-0-1), ranked 12th and 13th nationally. Friday’s game starts at 6 p.m. and Saturday’s begins at 4 p.m.
The Mavs opened the regular season with a pair of victories — 6-1 and 5-0 — over Alabama Huntsville last weekend.
But it gets tougher for coach Mike Gabinet’s squad against Big Ten member Ohio State. The Buckeyes won the Icebreaker tournament in Toledo, Ohio, last weekend with a shootout win over Western Michigan and a victory over RIT in the final.
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“We’ll be facing a strong opponent,” Gabinet said. “But I just want our guys to focus on playing our game.”
The Mavs received strong efforts last weekend from freshman goalies Isaiah Saville and Austin Roden. Saville made 14 saves in the season-opening win, and Roden posted a shutout the next night in his collegiate debut.
Gabinet said he wasn’t certain how the goalie rotation would play out this weekend.
“They both competed,” the coach said. “They played with confidence, which is something you like to see.”
Gabinet added that the 12 freshmen on UNO’s roster didn’t seem overwhelmed by opening weekend.
“I give a lot of credit to our strength coach (Mike Lewis) for having our young guys ready to play,” he said. “They worked hard all summer, and I really like our fitness level.”
Gabinet said there also has been an absence of drama among the newcomers.
“They’re not worried about what line they’re on,” he said. “They just want to play together and win as a team.”
Several players contributed to the scoring against Huntsville. Forward Zach Jordan had three goals while forwards Tristan Keck and Kevin Conley each had three assists.
UNO also will seek to make an impact with its special teams. The Mavs were 6 for 12 on the power play in their two wins over the Chargers, including five power-play goals last Friday to tie a school record.
Gabinet said the team had a good week of practice and appears ready for the challenge presented by the Buckeyes.
“It’s early and we still have lots to learn,” he said. “I’m excited to see how we’ll perform on the road against a quality opponent.”