Photo credit: Omaha World-Herald
Goaltender Isaiah Saville played strongly for the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks and held the #4 Denver Pioneers to a lone first-period goal from Tyler Ward through 65 minutes of regulation NCAA hockey at Baxter Arena in Omaha, Nebraska. Meanwhile, the Mavericks were able to stay in the game and eventually capitalize with a third-period shorthanded goal to force overtime at 1-1. Brett Edwards then gave the Pioneers the extra point in the NCHC standings with a goal in the fifth round of the shootout.
With the tie, the Pioneers did extend their unbeaten streak against Omaha to 17 games, dating back to January 2014. But at the same time, with the tie and shootout win, Denver will lament the chance to gain more ground in the NCHC standings with first-place North Dakota earning just two points against Miami(OH) and Minnesota Duluth’s loss to St. Cloud State.
Once again, though, the NCHC shows how tough it is from top to bottom. Omaha, sitting in fifth place in the conference, gave Denver all it could handle and the Pioneers let the Mavericks hang around just long enough to extend the game past what DU would have preferred and got burned for it. The Pioneers hit multiple pipes and generated great scoring chances throughout the second and third periods but couldn’t find that elusive second goal to put the Mavs away.
In the end, two points on the road in the NCHC are still two points and Denver is continuing to at least keep pace with the two teams above them in the standings. And the Pioneers still have a chance to take three more points tomorrow night in Game Two.
We’ll do a much more in-depth dive into this game and tomorrow night’s game on Sunday in our weekend recap. In the meantime, comment with your own thoughts on the tie/shootout win below.