UNO Athletics The Omaha hockey team preached resiliency following its third straight one-goal loss on Friday night. On Saturday, the Mavericks put that resiliency into action, erasing a two-goal deficit and earning a 4-3 win over No. 20 North Dakota to earn a split of the weekend series.
Taylor Ward redirected a pass from Dean Stewart at 13:22 of the third period, capping a two-goal flurry in less than a minute and a half to give the Mavericks their third conference win of the season and their first since Nov. 10.
Omaha improved to 7-13-2 overall and 3-8-1-0/1 in the NCHC, good for seventh place. The Fighting Hawks saw a three-game winning streak end as they fell to 12-10-1 overall and 6-6-0-0/0 in the conference.
Trailing 3-2 entering the third period, the Mavericks got a goal from an unlikely source when Lukas Buchta's shot from the right point slipped past goalie Adam Scheel at 12:02. It was Buchta's first goal of the season and the second of his career.
That set the stage for Ward who earned his first career game-winning goal and sixth of the season.
Riley Alferd had given the Mavericks a 1-0 lead at 14:51 of the first. He took a long up-ice pass from John Schuldt and sped in on a breakaway, beating Scheel with a wrist shot over the glove hand.
But UND countered with two late goals, the second from Jordan Kawaguchi with 1.7 seconds to go in the first to make it 2-1.
The Fighting Hawks made it 3-1 at 1:42 of the second when defenseman Gabe Bast fired home a point shot for his second goal of the night.
Omaha answered back at 6:41 when freshman Jason Smallidge picked up his first career goal. His shot from the right point fluttered through traffic, surprising Scheel who was screen on the play.
The Mavericks may not have had a shot at their late-game heroics if not for a stout kill of a five-minute major given to Smallidge that ran for the first 4:19 of final period.
Weninger made a game-high 31 saves while Scheel stopped 20. UND outshot the Mavericks 34-24.
The Mavericks head north next week, visiting defending national champion Minnesota Duluth on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26.