ANCHORAGE, Alaska — UNO did what it needed to do Friday night, getting an early goal from Ryan Walters, late scores by captains Brent Gwidt and Matt White, and a shutout by Dayn Belfour in a 3-0 win against last-place Alaska-Anchorage.
The win at Sullivan Arena allowed the 16th-ranked Mavericks to move into a three-way tie for second place in the WCHA with 28 points.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha aims to complete a sweep of the two-game series in Saturday’s 10:07 p.m. game.
The Mavs (17-12-2, 13-8-2 WCHA) had been tied for third in the league with 26 points, along with No. 2 Minnesota, which also won Friday. No. 6 North Dakota, which has the weekend off, had started the night in sole possession of second. Minnesota has two games in hand on UNO, while North Dakota has one game in hand.
Solid work on the cycle set up the Mavs’ first goal, with White eventually sending a goal-mouth pass to Walters, and the Hobey Baker Award candidate delivered his 18th goal of the season.
White snapped a five-game pointless streak, while Walters increased his point total to 43, just behind national leader Greg Carey of St. Lawrence (44). Walters is tied for the eighth-highest single-season point total in school history and is tied for ninth for goals in a single season.
In a tense, low-scoring and low shot-on-goal game, Gwidt delivered an insurance goal for UNO with 10:35 left. Gwidt, a senior, had the puck knocked off his stick but stuck with it and swept it past Chris Kamal for his sixth goal.
Then Bryce Aneloski’s head-man pass set up White for his 15th goal, which came with 1:21 to go.
Belfour, who made his season debut in a 2-1 loss to North Dakota last Friday and then relieved John Faulkner midway through the first period the following night, got the start in goal and was rarely tested — he made 10 saves.
It was the third career win and first as a starter for Belfour, a sophomore who appeared in six games last year and went 2-1-2.
Alaska-Anchorage (4-18-7, 2-17-6) recorded the fewest shots on goal against UNO since Western Michigan managed the same number Nov. 28, 2009.
UNO’s shot total of 19 was also a season low, and was its lowest output since getting 15 on goal in a win against Minnesota-Duluth on Jan. 14, 2012.
Also in the WCHA on Friday, Minnesota beat Wisconsin 3-2 and Minnesota State-Mankato beat Michigan Tech 4-2.
Minnesota State, Denver and Wisconsin had been in a three-way tie for fifth with 25 points, but MSU is now in sole possession of fifth, with Wisconsin and idle Denver tied for sixth.
UNO’s win allowed it to increase its margin for error for securing home ice for the first round of the playoffs as one of the top six seeds. The Mavs are now three points ahead of the potential seventh seed.
UNO (17-12-2, 13-8-2) ................. 1 0 2—3
At Alaska-Anchorage (4-18-7, 2-17-6) ................. 0 0 0—0
First period: 1, UNO, Walters 18 (White, O’Rourke), 10:04.
Third period: 2, UNO, Gwidt 6, 9:25. 3, UNO, White 15 (Aneloski), 18:39.
Shots on goal: UNO 10-6-3-19, UAA 3-4-3-10.
Power plays: UNO 0-2, UAA 0-0.
Penalties-minutes: UNO 1-2, UAA 3-6.
Goalies: UNO, Belfour 1-1 (10 shots-10 saves), 60:00. UAA, Kamal 2-10-3 (19-16), 60:00.