The University of Nebraska at Omaha hockey team hopes that Monday’s No. 18 ranking in the USCHO.com poll is just the start.
“It’s nice that people around the country see you are having a little success early on, and it is early on,” assistant coach Troy Jutting said. “We haven’t accomplished anything other than a couple of good weekends.”
The Mavericks, who have won four straight for the first time since February 2011, had been receiving votes. It is their first national ranking since October of 2011.
They’re also receiving votes in the USA Today and USA Hockey Magazine top 15.
Jutting said the ranking shows that the Mavericks are headed in the right direction.
“The kids’ hard work through to this point has paid off for us,” Jutting said. “One of the reasons we’ve been successful is our work ethic so far, and we want to keep that up in practice.”
UNO is 6-3-1 overall and 4-1-1 in the WCHA. With nine points, the Mavs are one point behind first-place Denver (5-1).
The Mavs got the day off Monday after their weekend sweep of No. 20 Minnesota-Duluth, the 2011 national champions. They’ll also get a break this upcoming weekend with no games scheduled.
They don’t play again until Nov. 23 and 24 against Alabama-Huntsville, an independent team that has split with the Mavericks each of the past two seasons.
They’ll have plenty to work on until the next series.
“You’re always working on improving special teams and continuing to help them jell,” Jutting said. “It’s early yet — we have to continue to improve in all areas of our game.”
Jutting liked what he saw of center Dominic Zombo, who had two goals and an assist on Sunday. Left wing Ryan Walters also had three points in the 6-3 win. Both collected five points in the two wins.
He said defensemen Andrej Sustr, with a goal and three assists, and Michael Young, with a goal and two assists, also had good weekends.
“Those kids had some production to go along with playing well,” Jutting said.
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