UNO hockey hopes Lake Superior road trip delivers first wins of season
The UNO hockey team will hit the road this weekend, looking for the success they couldn’t find at home.
The 0-2 Mavericks play Lake Superior State on Friday and Saturday after opening the season last weekend at Baxter Arena with a pair of 4-3 losses to Niagara.
It was the first time since the 2003-04 season that the UNO started 0-2.
“It was a disappointing weekend for us,” coach Mike Gabinet said. “We did a lot of things well and if we play those games again we could get one or even two wins.”
Gabinet said a few mistakes made by his young team that includes 10 freshmen ended up in the back of the Mavs net.
“They capitalized on some things we gave them,” the coach said. “So now we have to focus on a good veteran Lake Superior State team this weekend.”
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Game time Friday at Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan is 6:07 p.m. and 5:07 p.m. Saturday.
Gabinet said it might be good to play on the road to try to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment.
“Road trips are always exciting, especially the first one,” he said. “We are lucky to spend time together and build additional relationships.”
This will be the season opener for the Lakers, who shared a pair of early-season games last year against the Mavs.
“They played a few exhibition games and I think they only had one freshman on their roster,” Gabinet said. “They pretty much have their entire squad back.”
One of the highlights of the UNO was the play of Jack Randl. The senior striker has scored three goals against the Purple Eagles after netting nine last season.
“It wasn’t surprising,” Gabinet said. “It’s impressive to watch him and how he behaves and it will rub off on the younger ones.”
Randl said the team showed good energy in practice this week and hopes to make amends down the road.
“We have learned that we have to do better,” he said. “We’re just excited to be back after this weekend.”
Randl, an alternate captain, said the team needs to finish games against Lake Superior State.
“We have to play a full 60 minutes,” he said. “We walked away from that in both games last weekend, so we have to clean that up.”
The Lakers were 1-2 in exhibition play. Damon Whitten is in his ninth season as Lake Superior State coach. The Lakers were 18-18-1 last year.
The teams have met 32 times since 2000, with the Mavs holding a 17-10-5 advantage.
The Mavs return home next weekend for games Friday and Sunday against Alaska Fairbanks.
Freshman defenseman Griffin Ludtke will sit out this weekend due to a lower-body injury he sustained Oct. 1 in the 7-2 win over Minnesota State.
Casey Roehl (game by game) and Terry Leahy (color) return to radio this season.
The Mavs are the only winless member of the NCHC’s eight teams.
Photos: UNO hockey hosts Niagara on Saturday