Mavericks hockey

UNO's Jason Smallidge tries to corral the puck working against Miami's Rourke Russell.

A frantic comeback in the final minute of regulation Friday night allowed UNO to salvage a 3-3 tie with Miami.

Zach Jordan knocked in a rebound with 54 seconds left to pull the Mavericks within a goal. With 10 seconds left, Kevin Conley slipped a shot past RedHawks goalie Grant Valentine to get it tied, much to the delight of the 5,322 at Baxter Arena.

The teams played a scoreless five-minute overtime before Miami scored a goal in the second overtime to earn an extra point in the NCHC standings.

“I was happy to get the one point but we can play better,’’ UNO coach Mike Gabinet said. “We played well in spurts but we have room for growth tomorrow night.’’

The teams play again Saturday at 7:07 p.m.

Friday’s game started well for the Mavs when freshman Nolan Sullivan backhanded a shot past Valentine, who was making his first collegiate start. But UNO then was held scoreless until the final minute in the third period when the Mavs got it tied.

“I liked our start,’’ Gabinet said. “But maybe it was kind of a bad thing because I think our guys thought it was going to come easy.’’

Miami ruined those thoughts by scoring twice later in the first period against freshman goalie Isaiah Saville. Casey Gilling fired home a shot on the power play and Ryan Savage put the RedHawks ahead on a shot that deflected off Saville’s pad.

After a scoreless second period, Miami scored an insurance goal with 4:51 left in regulation. Alec Mahalak, who had scored one goal in 76 previous games, lit the lamp to put the RedHawks up 3-1.

The Mavs pulled Saville for an extra attacker with 3:16 left and the strategy paid off. Jordan scored his fifth of the season and Conley, who had a hat trick in a win last Saturday over Western Michigan, knotted the game 44 seconds later.

Riding that momentum, UNO stormed the Miami net early in the first overtime but couldn’t get anything past Valentine. Saville then saved the day at the other end late in overtime, denying tough shots by defenseman Derek Daschke and forward Karch Bachman.

The game then officially went in the books as a tie, though the teams played a five-minute second overtime — 3 on 3 — to decide which squad got the extra standings point. The RedHawks then were allowed to add an extra attacker when UNO’s Joey Abate was sent off for hooking.

“I didn’t like that call,’’ Gabinet said. “It’s tough when you’re playing 3 on 3 so I didn’t understand it.’’

Savage  scored to give the RedHawks the extra point.

“I think we got a little too complacent after that first goal,’’ Conley said. “We weren’t playing Omaha hockey.’’

Jordan agreed.

“We took our foot off the gas,’’ he said. “We came out with a point, but I think we were lucky to get that.’’

Valentine made 24 saves to earn his first victory. He made several quality stops early in the game to keep the RedHawks’ deficit at just one goal.

Saville made 19 saves for the Mavs.

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Miami (3-6-3).....2  0  1  0—3

UNO (6-3-2).......1  0  2  0—3

First period: 1, UNO, Sullivan 2 (Ward, Stewart), 3:28. 2, M, Gilling (Green, Savage), power play, 9:02. 3, M, Savage (Knies, Bachman), 14:31.

Second period: No scoring.

Third period: 4, M, Mahalak (Savage, Bachman), 15:09. 5, UNO, Jordan 5 (Sullivan), 19:06. 6, UNO, Conley 6 (Brushett, Primeau), 19:50.

Overtime: No scoring.

Shots on goal:

Miami....5  11   4  2—22

UNO......9   6  10  2—27

Saves: M, Valentine (24). UNO, Saville (19).

Power-play conversions: M 1-3; UNO 0-2.

Three stars: 1, M, Ryan Savage. 2, UNO, Nolan Sullivan. 3, M, Karch Bachman.

A: 5,322.

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Mike covers high school sports, primarily volleyball in the fall, girls basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer. He also reports on horse racing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MPattersonOWH. Phone: 402-444-1350.

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