You may have heard this before.
Jayson Megna went pro in the offseason. Alex Broadhurst never got to UNO, opting for major junior hockey instead.
Both are centers who were expected to anchor the Mavericks' top forward lines.
What to do?
Check out who is centering a line that includes Ryan Walters and Josh Archibald on Monday night, as the University of Nebraska at Omaha lifts the curtain for the 2012-13 season with a 7:07 exhibition game against Lethbridge at the CenturyLink Center.
It's Matt White.
“Someone has to step in there,” Mav coach Dean Blais said. “Whitey has the skill to play it and is a well-conditioned athlete.”
White, a junior from Whittier, Calif., led UNO last year with 17 goals and 23 assists.
Certainly White, who played the position for one of his seasons with the Omaha Lancers, has the vision and anticipation required. He said he's ready for the added burden of the extra work required in the defensive zone and the end-to-end skating.
“It's going to be a lot more skating, but I played center in juniors, so I'm kind of used to it,” said White, who has been at center through captains' practices for the past month. “I'm just getting used to it at the college level now. It's a lot more difficult — the players are a lot stronger and faster.”
Maybe his assists will go up as a center. But with Megna and Broadhurst's older brother, Terry, having left the program, won't White also need to put more pucks in the net for the team to be successful?
Terry Broadhurst, who left a year early for the pros, was second on the team with 16 goals and 20 assists. Megna, who left with three years remaining, was third with 13 goals and 18 assists, and was also a plus-13.
Time will tell. Maybe the goals will be there for White, especially if he's alongside Walters and Archibald.
“It's an experiment to see how he does,” Blais said. “Alex Broadhurst would have had a chance at being (WCHA) rookie of the year, and Jayson Megna (a WCHA all-freshman pick last year) is gone, too.”
Junior Brock Montpetit is again centering another of UNO's top lines while freshmen Aaron Pearce and Tanner Lane and sophomore Joe Krause are listed as the other centers.
“I think it might depend on who we're playing — I could play wing or center based on the matchup,” White said. “Hopefully I stay. I feel comfortable there.”
White and the Mavs hope to find a comfort level in the exhibition with Lethbridge, which competes in the Canada West Conference and is 0-1-1 in regular-season games after finishing sixth in its league last year while going 7-18-3.
“We're going to approach it like a normal big-time game,” White said. “You can't take a game off, even if it's an exhibition. We're going to try to find some chemistry right off the bat.”
The Pronghorns, who lost to UNO 2-1 in a 2009 exhibition, will be playing an exhibition on a third straight night after previous stops at Minnesota (a 7-0 loss) and Minnesota State-Mankato (a 7-1 loss).
UNO's season officially starts at the Icebreaker tournament Friday and Saturday in Kansas City, Mo. The Mavs face Army on Friday, then play either Notre Dame or Maine on Saturday.
“This is the last chance we get to really play where we can still make some mistakes,” defenseman Andrej Sustr said. “But we still want to be ready for when we go to Kansas City.”
Blais said each of his three goalies — John Faulkner, Dayn Belfour and Anthony Stolarz — will play one period, and their performance will factor into who opens the season in goal.
All 15 forwards and all eight defensemen are expected to play, too.
“It's a big game because you only get one of them to prepare, then on Friday you're playing for real,” senior Bryce Aneloski said.
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