PIt was an uphill battle Friday night but UNO eventually rallied for the win against Western Michigan.
Chayse Primeau scored with 7:22 left to boost the Mavericks to a wild 6-5 victory at Baxter Arena. No. 17 UNO trailed by three goals after the first period against the Broncos, a team it had beaten 10-2 two weeks ago.
“We knew they were going to come out hard after that last game," Primeau said. “When we were down we knew that we just had to stick with it."
Taylor Ward scored a pair of second-period goals to help fuel the rally. His first came 70 seconds into the period when he fired a shot past goalie Austin Cain after Primeau won a faceoff.
“I’ve got good chemistry with Chayse," Ward said. “He snapped the puck right back in my wheelhouse."
A power-play goal by Jack Randl four minutes later drew UNO within 3-2. The fired-up Mavs held a 10-0 edge in shots that period until Western Michigan’s Ethen Frank slipped the puck past starting goalie Austin Roden midway through the period.
Isaiah Saville replaced Roden in goal and he kept the Broncos off the scoreboard the rest of the period. The Mavs drew to within 4-3 on Ward’s second goal, a tip-in of a shot by Tyler Weiss.
UNO (5-3-1) surged ahead in the third period. Defenseman Jonny Tychonick scored his first of the season and Martin Sundberg added his fourth to give the Mavs their first lead, though it would be short-lived.
Western Michigan (2-6-1) tied it with 9:22 left when team captain Paul Washe stole the puck at the UNO blue line and beat Saville on a breakaway. The short-handed goal tied it, but Primeau’s rebound goal two minutes later proved to be the game-winner.
He was camped near the net and ready when the rebound of a shot by defenseman Jason Smallidge caromed his way.
“I was pretty fortunate,” Primeau said. “I was lucky enough that the puck found my stick.”
The Mavs had to hang on in the final minute after the Broncos pulled their goalie and UNO was whistled for having too many men on the ice. When a pass in the closing seconds hopped over a Western Michigan defenseman’s stick at the Mavs’ blue line, UNO had its victory.
“Lots of different emotions after that game,” said UNO coach Mike Gabinet, whose team is 3-1-1 in its last five games. “I was proud of our guys for finding a way to win after being down by three goals.”
Western Michigan coach Andy Murray said it was a tough loss for his young team that suited up 10 freshmen.
“We played well in the first period but we spent nine minutes of the second period in the penalty box," he said. “It’s tough to generate any offense that way.”
UNO finishes pod play at Baxter Arena on Monday with a 12:05 p.m. game against Colorado College.
» Western Michigan was 0 for 2 on the power play as UNO stretched its penalty-kill streak to 23 straight.
» Freshman defenseman Jake Harrison picked up his first collegiate point, assisting on Sundberg's goal.
» Sophomore forward Josh Boyer had the biggest hit of the night, nearly putting a Broncos player into the UNO bench.
» Ward took over the team lead in goals with five.
Western Michigan (2-6-1).....3 1 1—5
UNO (5-3-1)..........................0 3 3—6
First period: 1, WMU, Joyaux (Worrad), 1:27. 2, WMU, Hillebrand (Gallant, Polin), 13:37. 3, WMU, Van Os (Brickey, Bennett), 19:28.
Second period: 4, UNO, Ward (Primeau), 1:10. 5, UNO, Randl 4 (Ward, Conley), power play, 5:13. 6, WMU, Frank (Worrad), 8:19. 7, UNO, Ward 5 (Weiss, Primeau), 9:40.
Third period: 8, UNO, Tychonick 1 (Abate, Conley), 5:58. 9, UNO, Sundberg 4 (Sullivan, Harrison), 6:46. 10, WMU, Washe (unassisted), shorthanded,10:38. 11, UNO, Primeau 4 (Smallidge, Ward), 12:38.
Shots on goal:
WMU......11 5 11—27