Matt White spent part of his weekend refreshing live in-game boxscores online while his teammates were skating against Michigan Tech.
“I was definitely nervous,” he said. “After the first game (Friday), I was hoping the boys would pull it out Saturday. And once we got ahead Saturday I started feeling comfortable because I knew how hard they were going to work.”
Even without the high-scoring White, UNO went on the road and swept the Huskies, picking up four points that put the Mavericks (4-3-1 overall) alone in third place in the WCHA with five points (2-1-1).
White, a junior captain from Whittier, Calif., is expected to be back on the ice for an important league series this weekend against No. 20 Minnesota-Duluth (2-3-1, 0-1-1), with games at the CenturyLink Center on Saturday at 7:07 p.m. and Sunday at 2:07 p.m.
“We don't want to do that too often — especially when you're having scoring problems,” UNO coach Dean Blais said of leaving White at home.
White and Blais discussed staying home early last week. The trip to Houghton, Mich., was a five-day affair — the Mavs left Wednesday afternoon and made the 14-hour return trip after Saturday night's game.
White declined to get into the specifics that led to his streak of 83 consecutive games played come to an end.
“I just had to take care of some stuff,” he said.
Blais had said previously White missed the trip to focus on academics.
The Mavs moved forward without White, and are hoping to make another jump with him back.
“No one wants to miss games, but the team stepped up and played really well,” White said. “I'm really proud of the guys for picking it up last weekend, and now we've got to carry it into this weekend. I'm just glad to be back on the ice with the guys.”
White led UNO in scoring last year, with 17 goals and 23 assists for the program's first 40-point season since 2007-08. Through six games this year he has three goals and one assist, and is tied for ninth on the team with four points.
The Mavs were planning to rely heavily on White this season after the unexpected offseason departures of high-scoring forwards Terry Broadhurst and Jayson Megna.
But strong starts from Zahn Raubenheimer (5-3-8), Brock Montpetit (1-7-8), Josh Archibald (5-1-6) and Johnnie Searfoss (2-4-6) have put the Mavs in solid position. And it figures to be a matter of time before Ryan Walters (1-5-6) returns to the goal-scoring form that made him the Mavs' second-leading returning scorer.
White said he sensed no hard feelings from his teammates when he returned to practice this week.
“They obviously don't want me to miss games,” he said. “But they understood and were supportive.”
Blais said he's leaning toward having White skate this weekend on a line centered by freshman Aaron Pearce and including senior Brent Gwidt, the Mavs' other co-captain.
“I'd like to put Matt back with Montpetit and Searfoss, but that would be poor coaching,” Blais said, referring to a line that included Raubenheimer, who scored four goals and was the WCHA player of the week. “If it's not broken, don't fix it. Those guys were something special. They were all over the ice and were the difference in both games.”
White said he's comfortable skating with any of the Mavs' forwards and isn't concerned about with whom he's paired.
“You don't want to mess with that line,” he said.
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