HOUGHTON, Mich. — Zahn Raubenheimer’s short-handed sneak attack gave the University of Nebraska at Omaha the game-winning goal with 1:10 left in regulation Friday night in a key 2-1 WCHA victory over Michigan Tech.
“I don’t think they thought I was going to be challenging the D,” said Raubenheimer, who scored both Maverick goals. “Maybe they thought I was going to just dump it in (to the offensive zone). But it’s a move I have — I’ve used it before in juniors.”
Raubenheimer slid the puck through the legs of a Huskies defenseman, then split between him and another player, picked up the puck behind them and beat goalie Kevin Genoe with a backhand that went between the keeper’s legs.
“It was one heck of a move,” UNO coach Dean Blais said. “And then he still had the presence of mind after he beat the two defensemen to tuck it into the net. A lot of times you’re so surprised a move like that works that you’re on top of the goaltender and you don’t get off a good shot.”
The Mavs held on from there and picked up two key league points without high-scoring forward Matt White — the junior co-captain stayed home for academic reasons. White, who had played in 83 consecutive games, shares the team lead with three goals this season and was the Mavs’ leading scorer last year.
“He’s definitely a go-to guy,” Raubenheimer said. “But we knew that without him, some of us had to step up and pull through for him.”
UNO scored first, at the 5:38 mark of the second period. Raubenheimer outraced defenseman Jimmy Davis for a pass from Johnnie Searfoss and sent it through the legs of Genoe while shrugging off contact.
Raubenheimer, a junior forward from Smoky Lake, Alberta, has three goals this season after recording one goal in 29 games last season.
The Huskies tied it just less than 10 minutes later, as a Mav turnover led to a Tanner Kero goal — Kero shot a rebound high past John Faulkner.
UNO (3-3-1 overall, 1-1-1 WCHA) fought off 48 seconds worth of a 5-on-3 disadvantage in the second period — a period in which the Mavs spent much of the time on the penalty kill. Counting a third-period penalty, UNO was hit with five consecutive minors.
Michigan Tech went on one final power play with 2:39 left in regulation, but Raubenheimer countered with the Mavs’ second short-handed goal of the season, stunning a MacInnes Student Ice Arena crowd of 2,738.
“We had been attacking a bit on the PK, trying to create a little offense,” Raubenheimer said. “It all came together there in a span of about five seconds.”
Faulkner (3-0-1) remained unbeaten as the Mavs’ Friday-night goalie, starting for the fourth consecutive time on the opening game of the weekend and stopping 21 shots.
Genoe (1-1) had 26 saves for the Huskies (2-5, 1-4). The teams play again Saturday at 6:07 p.m. CDT.
It was a big bounceback for the Mavs, who suffered a loss and a tie in a home series last weekend with Bemidji State. Then they went on the road without White.
“(Winning) was really hard to do considering we only got one point last weekend and the guys knew we were without probably our top forward,” Blais said. “We had to grind it out, and that’s exactly what we did.
“We played a good, smart road game. We didn’t get fancy, and we were patient with everything we did.”
UNO (3-3-1, 1-1-1) .................. 0 1 1—2
At Michigan Tech (2-5, 1-4) .................. 0 1 0—1
Second period: 1, UNO, Raubenheimer 2 (Searfoss, Montpetit), 5:38. 2, MTU, Kero 2 (B.Pietila, Petan), 15:30.
Third period: UNO, Raubenheimer 3, 18:50 (sh).
Shots on goal
UNO .................. 7 14 7—28
MTU .................. 2 13 7—22
Power plays: UNO 0-2, MTU 0-7.
Penalties-minutes: UNO 7-14, MTU 2-4.
Goalies: UNO, Faulkner, 3-0-1 (22 shots-21 saves), 59:18, MTU, Genoe 1-1 (28-26), 59:10.