MARQUETTE, Mich. — Brock Montpetit’s goal with 2:51 left in regulation lifted UNO to a 2-1 victory Friday night at Northern Michigan in the opener of a two-game nonconference series.
The game-winner came after defenseman Brian O’Rourke took a shot from the right point. The rebound came to Zahn Raubenheimer, whose shot was also stopped — but it fluttered to Montpetit, who lifted it over goalie Mathias Dahlstrom for the winner.
“Brian O’Rourke and Zahn made good plays, and Brock scored by going to the net — kind of like his goal last weekend (against Bentley),” Mavericks coach Dean Blais said.
UNO’s Michael Young was hit with a hooking penalty with 1:13 to go in the third, and Northern Michigan pulled Dahlstrom for a 6-on-4 advantage, but freshman goalie Kirk Thompson made some strong saves as UNO blocked several more shots to preserve the win.
The Mavs (2-1) overcame nine penalties and killed off seven of Northern Michigan’s eight power plays in front of 2,026 fans at the Berry Events Center. Northern Michigan (0-3) had four power plays in the third period.
“The pace of the game was pretty up and down,” Blais said. “The third period was a nail-biter. We were kind of hanging on because of all the power plays, but the story of the game was our penalty kill. It was good.”
It was the second goal of the season for Montpetit, a senior who was limited to one goal and missed 13 games in an injury-plagued junior season. Montpetit skated on a line with fellow seniors Raubenheimer and Johnnie Searfoss.
“He’s healthy,” Blais said. “Last year he played hurt a lot. It looks like he’s skating well, and he was on the ice a lot tonight — 22 minutes.”
Montpetit also assisted on the Mavericks’ first goal, by Ryan Walters at the 2:35 mark of the second period. Walters, the returning Hobey Baker Award finalist, scored while UNO was on a 4-on-3 power play, on a shot from the right faceoff circle.
“It was a goal-scorer’s goal,” Blais said.
Northern Michigan tied the game less than five minutes later as Stephan Vigier scored on assists from Justin Rose and former Omaha Lancer CJ Ludwig with the Wildcats on a 5-on-3 advantage.
The game remained tied until Montpetit’s winner. It was Montpetit’s 20th career goal and his third career game-winner.
Thompson (2-0-0) won his second straight start for the Mavs, turning aside 28 shots.
“He was real good,” Blais said. “Good on the penalty kill. The few times he was screened, he saw enough of it to deflect it into the corners. And the D did a great job clearing out all the rebounds — but he made the initial save.”
UNO outshot the Wildcats 31-29. The Mavs were 1 for 4 on the power play.
Young, a senior defenseman, also picked up an assist — his second of the season — on Walters’ goal. He missed a couple of shifts after being kneed in the second period — Jake Johnson was hit with a five-minute major for the infractions.
The teams square off again Saturday night at 6:07 CDT.
As expected, Blais reconfigured his forward lines to spread scoring throughout — Dominic Zombo and Josh Archibald stayed together, but they were joined by Tanner Lane at left wing. Walters joined the line with freshmen Jake Guentzel and Austin Ortega.
“Just OK,” Blais said of the new combinations. “No magic. When Dominic’s line was out there, they had their best D on him, and when Walt was out there, they had CJ out there against him.”
UNO (2-1-0) ............................ 0 1 1—2
At Northern Michigan (0-3-0) ............................ 0 1 0—1
Second period: 1, UNO, Walters 1 (Young, Montpetit), 2:35 (pp). 2, NMU, Vigier 2 (Rose, Ludwig), 7:06 (pp, 5on3).
Third period: 3, UNO, Montpetit 2 (O’Rourke, Raubenheimer), 17:09.
Shots on goal:
UNO ............................ 9 12 10—31
NMU ............................ 10 8 11—29
Power plays: UNO 1-4, NMU 1-8.
Penalties-minutes: UNO 9-18, NMU 5-13.
Goalies: UNO, Thompson 2-0-0 (29 shots-28 saves), 59:44. NMU, Dahlstrom 0-2-0 (31-29), 58:42.