Dominic Zombo scored a hat trick and the Omaha hockey team put up a season high in goals to knock off No. 5 St. Cloud State, 8-6, on Saturday night at the CenturyLink Center.
The win moves the Mavericks into a three-way tie with North Dakota and Denver for second in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference with a record of 7-5-2-1. They are 10-12-2 overall. The Huskies suffered just their second road loss of the year, dropping to 14-6-4 and 8-4-2-0 in the conference, still good for first place.
The hat trick was the first of Zombo’s career and the second for UNO this season. He finished the weekend with four goals. The eight goals scored by the Mavericks were the most in a game this season.
The Mavericks led 5-4 entering the third period, but St. Cloud State’s Kalle Kossila tied the game and completed a hat trick when he grabbed a turnover in the UNO end and zipped a wrist shot past goalie Reed Peters at 3:12.
But as they had done all night in a back-and-fourth game, the Mavs retook the lead when Johnnie Searfoss set up Zahn Raubenheimer in the slot. He wired a shot past SCSU goalie Charlie Lindgren for his fourth goal of the year and second of the weekend.
Lindgren, who entered the game in relief of starter Ryan Faragher in the second period, was lifted, and Faragher returned to the game. He was victimized later when Zombo completed his hat trick by finishing off a feed from Jake Guentzel during UNO’s third powerplay of the game.
The Mavericks increased their lead to 8-5 when Brock Montpetit picked up his second goal of the night, firing home a pass from Ryan Walters at 13:19.
SCSU’s Cory Thorson completed the scoring at 17:57.
Stung by a 5-3 loss to the Huskies on Friday, the Mavericks started quickly, scoring just 2:33 into the first period. James Polk steered a pass from Jono Davis to Justin Parizek stationed at the left-wing face-off circle. Parizek one-timed home his first career goal, beating Faragher to the short side. Davis earned his first collegiate point with an assist.
Montpetit doubled the lead just 2:02 later. He took a pass from Austin Ortega and fired a shot just under the crossbar for his ninth goal of the year.
St. Cloud State got a five-minute power play when Davis got a penalty for checking from behind and a game misconduct. Kossila scored the only goal during the advantage, jamming in his own rebound at 7:15 to make it 2-1.
The Huskies tied the game at 11:27 when Jimmy Murray got free and fired a shot past UNO’s starting goalie Kirk Thompson.
The visitors took the lead with 1:45 to go in the period when Kossila converted a pass from Joey Benik during a 2-on-1 that came just as their penalty kill had ended.
The Mavericks wasted little time tying the game in the second. Nick Seeler took a low wrist shot that found its way inside the right post for his third goal of the year.
UNO then retook the lead less than four minutes later. Guentzel got loose behind the St. Cloud State net. He found Zombo crashing the net, and Zombo banged home the pass for his 10th goal of the year.
The goal chased Faragher who had made 23 saves to that point.
St. Cloud State responded off a 4-on-3 rush up ice to tie the game at 4. David Morley, stationed alone at the left post, hammered home a pass from Benik past Peters who started the second period in place of Thompson.
The Mavericks continued the see-saw battle by retaking the lead before intermission. Guentzel, stationed at the left wing half boards, threw a shot toward the net that was tipped just under the crossbar by Zombo for his 11th goal of the year.
Peters got credit for his first collegiate win, stopping 16 shots and allowing three goals. Faragher was saddled with the loss after allowing six goals on 34 shots as the Mavericks outshot the Huskies, 44-32.
Josh Archibald and Guentzel each finished with three assists. Zombo’s hat trick helped him equal his career best for goals in a season (12), set last year. With two goals, Montpetit equaled his career best for points in a season (21) during his freshman campaign.
The Mavericks improved to 4-1-1 against St. Cloud State in Omaha but still trail the all-time series, 6-8-2.