Four Goal Second Period Dooms Denver in 4-3 Loss to Omaha

Following a Saturday night 0-0 first period and 18-hour delay, Omaha and Denver (8-3-1) hockey resumed the final 40 minutes of hockey Sunday afternoon at Magness Arena. It was the first five minutes and the last four minutes of the second period when Denver miscues allowed to visiting Mavs to score four goals, enough to forge a 4-3 win and a series split.

Omaha got on the board early with an open Matt Miller blast past goalie Freddie Halyk. A Denver turnover in front of Halyk led to another Mav goal, 2-0 – all in the first 5-minutes. DU countered on a feed from Carter King when speedy Jared Wright cut the deficit in half with a wrister over Mavs goaltender Simon Latkoczy glove hand at the midway mark of the period. Two minutes later, Rieger Lorenz pulled the game even for Denver with a short-handed unassisted breakaway, 2-2.  But the Pioneers defense could not hold up in the waning minute of the period. Following a Denver timeout and a faceoff, Omaha buried a shot from the top of the circle with 1:39 remaining. Disaster struck again on another Pioneer defensive lapse as Omaha scored with four seconds left in the period, 4-2.

Denver looked to make a comeback in the final period when Miko Matikka scored two minutes into the third period, 4-3. Omaha held Denver off the rest of the period. Denver pulled Halyk in the final two minutes but the Pioneers could never get the puck past Simon Latkoczy. Unfortunately, Matikka’s goal was all Denver could muster against the tough forecheck of the Mavericks. Denver outshot the Mavs 26-19 but the shot quality and overall effort on the afternoon was not enough to secure a victory.

Next up for DU is a Thanksgiving tilt against Yale at Magness Arena.


5 thoughts on “Four Goal Second Period Dooms Denver in 4-3 Loss to Omaha”

  1. Ugly game for Denver’s defense. Halyk didn’t have a great game, either. Those must improve…

    DU also had a really slow start again, and this has been a pattern all season, and last year too Time for the coaches and captains to figure out why this team starts so flat…

  2. What in the world is the deal with this team? They have a habit of sleep walking through the first period. Yesterday they spent the majority of the second period in Omaha’s end. I know it’s a young team. Any thoughts on Davis returning in goal?

  3. There are almost always clinker games in a long season at all levels of sport, and this one weird two-day game certainly fell into that category.

    Yes, DU’s very young defense is struggling right now, especially on d-zone coverage, clears and puck management, leading to turnovers, poor positioning and allowing easy shot opportunities to score by opponents. The coaching staff is well aware of these issues, which are not uncommon with rookie defensemen. DU should be able to fix this aspect, as the new players gain more experience, so I’m not very worried about that.

    But there are two other aspects of this DU team that worry me a great deal, and I don’t know how fixable these are…

    First is the really historically poor goaltending we’ve been watching, which has been somewhat masked by Denver’s top-ranked offense (where DU scoring five goals per game is covering most of the poor netminding). But the numbers are grim right now as DU goalies Freddie Halyk and Matty Davis are both struggling big time. Freddie’s saves percentage is .872 overall, and .839 in the last 5 games. That overall number ranks 78th out of 84 goalies nationally who have played at least 33% their teams games. Following right behind Freddie is Junior Matt Davis, who ranks 79th nationally out of 84 at a .872 saves percentage. These are historically bad goaltending numbers for DU, certainly the worst Pio goaltending numbers posted in decades. I’m sure to the coaches hope that fixing the young defense will fix the goaltending and improve those saves percentage by taking away the opponent’s easy shots. But I also think that neither goaltender is really proven themselves at this level, either, and I think we’re all wondering if DU misfired in recruiting these well below average goalies to date…I remain hopeful that that both will break out of their slumps…

    Finally, a disturbing trend that really has been an issue for some time is DU’s slow starts. The Pios rarely seem to be ready out of the chute, and seem to rely on growing into each game, rather than setting the tone. In seven of the nine games this played year, DU’s opponent has scored first. Is it this complacency? Lack of motivation? Whatver it is, the coaches and captains need to figure it out and fix it. Playing from behind is a bad when playing good opponents….

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