UNO shuffled its line combinations to find more balance with injured Brock Montpetit still out, breaking up the line of Dominic Zombo, Ryan Walters and Josh Archibald.
It seemed to work just fine.
Archibald had a hat trick, Walters scored his nation-leading 13th goal and added three assists, and freshman Tanner Lane scored his first two collegiate goals as the Mavericks rolled past Colorado College 8-4 Friday night in front of 6,112 at CenturyLink Center.
“We talked about breaking up Archibald, Zombo and Walters, and they still managed to get their points,” University of Nebraska at Omaha coach Dean Blais said.
Zahn Raubenheimer, Archibald’s and Walters’ new linemate, also scored a goal — his second in nine games after a hot start.
Lane joined the line of Zombo and Matt White. Zombo had three assists, and White had a goal and two assists.
The Mavs took a 2-1 lead in the first period and then scored four goals in the first 7:50 of the second against a skilled offensive opponent that has struggled defensively.
“Those guys had tremendous jump,” Colorado College coach Scott Owens said of UNO. “You can see why they’re the (one of the) highest-scoring teams in the country, and they were on. … It was too much speed and too much skill for us to handle.”
Nos. 15 and 16 UNO (12-8-1, 8-4-1 WCHA) moved into a three-way tie for second place in the league and will jump past idle teams into sole possession of first if it can complete the sweep in Saturday’s 7:07 p.m. series finale.
If the Mavs get there, it’s believed it would be the latest point in any season in program history that UNO would be in first place.
“You try not to think about it, but it’s in the back of our minds,” Archibald said. “You go into every game to win. With winning comes things like this.”
Colorado College (8-11-2, 5-7-1), despite a hat trick by defenseman Mike Boivin, saw its winless streak extended to six games (0-5-1) and dropped to 1-8-2 in its last 11. The Tigers are 1-10-2 against ranked teams.
Lane scored 1:13 into the game, as White flipped a backhander on goal from outside the right faceoff circle. Lane, all alone on the left post, jumped on the rebound.
“Playing with Zombo and Whitey, those guys make a lot of things happen,” said Lane, a former Winnipeg Jets draft pick. “So I just had to get to the net and make things happen, too.”
UNO took a 2-1 lead with 6:42 left in the period, with Archibald setting up a play behind the net and scoring on the rebound of White’s laser from the high slot.
The Mavs made it 3-1 25 seconds into the second period, setting up their four-goal barrage. Raubenheimer raced to pick up a loose puck that had fallen out of the air while defenseman Peter Stoykewych couldn’t find it. Raubenheimer turned the corner in front of Stoykewych and jammed it past Josh Thorimbert while being hooked.
UNO scored on the ensuing power play, too, after Walters and Archibald skated in 2-on-1. Walters threaded a pass to Archibald in front.
“That was a turning point,” Owens said. “They scored on the rush and then on the power play. That set the tone.”
Colorado College, which had converted one of its previous 20 power plays, made it 4-2 as Boivin took a back-door pass and beat John Faulkner high for his seventh goal of the season at 3:39.
But back came UNO. Zombo stickhandled his way from the blue line, to the corner, and then along the goal line to the post and set up Lane.
Colorado College changed goalies, but the Mavs scored again 25 seconds later to make it 6-2. With White forechecking behind the net, Walters jumped on a turnover and scored before Joe Howe could get back into position.
Then Boivin scored again, short-handed around a defenseman on a rush, with 13 seconds left in the second period to give Colorado College a bit of life heading into the third period.
Boivin made it 6-4 with a goal with 4:52 left, but White took advantage of an out-of-position Howe after a tricky bounce behind the net 17 seconds later to take the lead back to three goals.
Archibald scored a shorthanded tip-in from in front off a nice pass by Michael Young with 41 seconds left to complete his hat trick.
UNO had lost four of five and was swept last weekend in a nonconference series at No. 5 Quinnipiac.
“It was nice to get back and get into the WCHA,” Walters said. “I think a lot of guys were sort of (ticked) off after that weekend, and we used that to our advantage.”
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