Nebraska-Omaha used a quick-strike offense to pull away from No. 20-ranked Minnesota Duluth for a second straight day Sunday afternoon to earn a 6-3 victory and a Western Collegiate Hockey Association men’s sweep before 4,817 fans at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.
The Mavericks (6-3-1 and 4-1-1 in WCHA) broke a 2-2 tie with goals 64 seconds apart late in the second period, from 6-foot-8 defenseman Andrej Sustr and center Dominic Zombo, to pull ahead for good. Omaha, on a four-game win streak, added goals five minutes apart early in the third period.
UMD (2-5-1 and 0-3-1) is on a five-game winless streak (0-4-1) for the first time since Feb. 21 to March 7, 2009 (0-3-2). The Bulldogs are also last in the 12-team WCHA heading on the road this weekend to face No. 6 North Dakota, while Omaha is just a point behind first-place Denver.
“Our last period wasn’t acceptable,” UMD captain Cody Danberg said by phone Sunday. “When you have a chance to move up the ladder (in the league), you can’t come out flat. We got one goal (to pull within 4-3) and then stayed back and got off our game.
“At the end of the second period it was just a lack of concentration on our part. We only played well in spurts.”
In Saturday’s 3-2 Omaha win, the Mavericks scored twice in the game’s first five minutes and earned the winning goal with 7:48 to play.
On Sunday, UMD took its only lead of the weekend just 3:13 into the game on a goal by senior winger Mike Seidel, his second of the series, fifth of the season and 35th of his career.
Omaha connected for goals four minutes apart for a 2-1 lead late in the first period. Zombo’s first goal of the game, and first of the season, came on a power play and winger Matt White stepped around UMD’s defense and scored from the left circle with 4:16 left. White, with four goals this season, sat out last weekend’s sweep at Michigan Tech because of an academic problem.
UMD’s Joe Basaraba tied the game 2-2 with 55 seconds to go in the first by converting a Wade Bergman rebound.
Sustr, from the Czech Republic, scored on a power play with 1:14 left in the second period and Zombo followed with 10 seconds to go. When freshman winger Austin Farley produced UMD’s 10th power-play goal of the season, 70 seconds into the final period, the Bulldogs were within a goal.
Five minutes later, Ryan Walters put Omaha up 5-3.
“After Farley’s goal we had a chance to get the momentum and we didn’t take advantage of that. After that fifth (Omaha) goal, we didn’t play very well,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said by phone. “I didn’t like our third period and we certainly didn’t play a whole game.”
Zombo’s line led Omaha. Zombo had two goals and an assist, left winger Walters had a goal and two assists, and right winger Josh Archibald added two assists.
Omaha goalie John Faulkner remained unbeaten at 6-0-1 with 31 saves, while UMD freshman Matt McNeely, in a fourth straight start, had 22. UMD led in shots on goal 34-28.
It marked just the second time in the past 91 games that UMD allowed more than five goals in a game. The last occurrence was an 8-2 loss to St. Cloud State on Feb. 11, 2011 at Amsoil Arena.
The Bulldogs were without sophomore defenseman Derik Johnson, who received a game disqualification Saturday, and defenseman Chris Casto, who didn’t make the trip because of an injury. Freshman winger Charlie Sampair made his UMD debut Sunday.
Minnesota Duluth……………. 2-0-1—3
First period — 1. UMD, Mike Seidel 5 (Tony Cameranesi, Austin Farley), 3:13; 2. Nebraska-Omaha, Dominic Zombo 1 (Josh Archibald, Michael Young), 11:45 (pp); 3. Nebraska-Omaha, Matt White 4 (Andrej Sustr, Jaycob Megna), 15:44; 4. UMD, Joe Basaraba 3 (Wade Bergman), 19:05. Penalties — Dan DeLisle, UMD (interference), 4:08; Basaraba, UMD (hooking), 10:13.
Second period — 5. Nebraska-Omaha, Sustr 3 (Ryan Walters, Zombo), 18:46 (pp); 6. Nebraska-Omaha, Zombo 2 (Archibald, Walters), 19:50. Penalties — Walters, Nebraska-Omaha (tripping), 3:46; Nick Seeler, Nebraska-Omaha (high-sticking), 6:52; Drew Olson, UMD (interference), 9:07; Bryce Aneloski, Nebraska-Omaha (tripping), 12:48; Justin Crandall, UMD (tripping), 17:54.
Third period —7. UMD, Farley 2 (Andy Welinski, Cameranesi), 1:10 (pp); 8. Nebraska-Omaha, Walters 3 (Seeler, Aneloski), 6:38; 9. Nebraska-Omaha, Brent Gwidt 2, 11:41. Penalties — Andrew Schmit, Nebraska-Omaha (too many men on ice), :33.
Shots on goal — UMD 13-7-14—34, Nebraska-Omaha 10-9-9—28. Goalies — Matt McNeely (1-3-1), UMD (28 shots-22 saves); John Faulkner (6-0-1), Nebraska-Omaha (34 shots-31 saves). Power plays — UMD 1-of-4, Nebraska-Omaha 2-of-4. Referees — Derek Shepherd, Marco Hunt. Linesmen — Chad Evers, Scott Fitzpatrick. A —4,817.