UNO freshman goalie Austin Roden made sure his family’s long journey to Omaha would be worth it.
Roden posted a shutout in his first collegiate start as the Mavericks defeated Alabama Huntsville 5-0 on Saturday night. It was the second straight win for UNO over the Chargers and came in front of 4,525 at Baxter Arena.
That crowd included Roden’s parents Kent and Kirsten and his sister Cayden, who made the lengthy trip from their home in western Canada — a journey of about 2,000 miles.
“I absolutely love having my family here,’’ Roden said. “It doesn’t feel real to get the shutout because I didn’t expect it.’’
Freshman goalie Isaiah Saville came close to a shutout in his debut Friday night in a 6-1 win over the Chargers. Huntsville scored on a power play with 7:10 left.
“Getting a shutout didn’t cross my mind,’’ Roden said. “The team played so well that it makes it easy on the goalie.’’
Zach Jordan scored twice to lead the offense. Joey Abate, Ryan Jones and Chayse Primeau also scored for the Mavs, who put 23 shots on Chargers goalie David Fessenden.
“It’s always nice to get a couple of goals,’’ Jordan said. “I’ve just been trying to focus on playing the game the right way.’’
Abate, one of 12 freshmen on the roster, scored his first collegiate goal with 12:43 left in the opening period. He took a pass from Jordan and put a shot past Fessenden.
The Mavs made it 2-0 on the power play with 7:53 left in the second period. Jones fired home a slap shot from the blue line past the screened goalie.
Jordan’s first goal of the night extended UNO’s lead four minutes later. He charged the net and jammed home his own rebound.
The Mavs put the game away in the third period on goals by Primeau and another by Jordan.
It was Primeau’s second goal in two nights while Jordan netted his third to take the team lead.
“I liked our team game tonight,’’ UNO coach Mike Gabinet said. “I challenged our group and I was really proud of our effort.’’
Gabinet said Roden, a native of British Columbia, played well in his first start.
“He did a really good job,’’ the Gabinet said. “He was calm in the net and played with confidence.’’
Roden made his best save midway through the third period, when the Chargers threatened to once again spoil the shutout. He made one stop and then denied Connor Merkley on the rebound at close range.
That second save elicited approval from the bench as several players tapped their sticks on the boards.
Roden said he didn’t feel any nerves before his first start.
“The ice rink is the same size,’’ he said. “It was just a matter of getting that first game out of the way.’’
Gabinet said Jordan also played well against the 0-4 Chargers.
“He’s taken his game to another level,’’ the coach said. “He’s using his size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and I’m really proud of the work he’s put in.’’
It gets tougher next weekend as the Mavs will play a pair of games at Ohio State, ranked 12th and 13th in the preseason.
“I liked our attention to detail tonight,’’ Gabinet said. “Now we need to keep progressing.’’
UNO was 1 for 4 on the power play Saturday night after converting 5 of 8 chances on Friday night ... Jordan took a slap shot off his foot in the final minute but said he would be OK ... The Mavs won’t return to the Baxter Arena until Nov. 8 when they start a two-game series against Wisconsin ... UNO narrowly missed a sixth goal with 34 seconds left when Ryan Brushett fired a shot off the cross bar ... Kevin Conley had a pair of assists for the Mavs.
UAH (0-4).............0 0 0—0
At UNO (2-0).........1 2 2—5
First period: 1, UNO, Joey Abate 1 (Zach Jordan, Kevin Conley), 7:13.
Second period: 2, UNO, Ryan Jones 1 (Tristan Keck, Travis Kothenbeutel), power play, 12:07. 3, UNO, Zach Jordan 2 (Kevin Conley), 16:21.
Third period: 4, UNO, Chayse Primeau 2 (Josh Boyer, Dean Stewart), 6:15. 5, UNO, Zach Jordan 3 (Ryan Jones, Ryan Brushett), 16:55.
Shots on goal:
UAH 3 6 9—18
UNO 8 10 5—23
Saves: UAH, David Fessenden (18). UNO, Austin Roden (18).
Power-play conversions: UAH 0-3. UNO 1-4.
Three stars: 1, UNO, Austin Roden. 2, UNO, Zach Jordan. 3, UNO, Ryan Jones. A: 4,525.