UNO goalie Isaiah Saville was motivated to play better Sunday night, which was bad news for Lake Superior State.
Saville stopped 24 shots to earn the shutout as the Mavericks defeated the Lakers 3-0 in front of 2,837 people at Baxter Arena. It was the first win for UNO and avenged a 4-3 overtime loss the previous night.
The junior netminder shouldered the blame for that season-opening setback. The Mavs outshot Lake Superior State 40-19 on Saturday night, but the Lakers tied the game late in regulation and won it in overtime.
"I could definitely tell yesterday wasn't my game," Saville said. "I knew today that I needed to come out and player better."
UNO coach Mike Gabinet said it was nice to see the Mavs' goalie bounce back with the shutout.
"Good for him," the coach said. "It was nice to see him respond because he has to continue to take steps for us to continue to take steps."
Saville had to be sharp in the first period because Lakers netminder Ethan Langenegger was stopping everything at the other end. It started in the opening minute, when the Mavs' Brock Bremer was denied from point-blank range.
A few minutes after Saville stopped a breakaway in the second period, UNO broke through. Matt Miller, who scored the first goal Saturday night, did the same Sunday by putting a low shot past Langenegger.
"It feels good to get those two goals," Miller said. "Everybody was passing the puck well today, and it was a good team effort."
Nursing that one-goal lead, the Mavs scored early in the third period on the power play. Taylor Ward, the team's top goal scorer last year, took a pass from Chayse Primeau and lifted a shot high into the net.
"That was a big relief," Gabinet said. "We had some good looks and hadn't scored, so it was nice to go up by two."
Martin Sundberg, a healthy scratch Saturday, added an empty-net goal with 1:39 left to cap the victory.
"It was a great win for the team tonight," Gabinet said. "I liked the fact we had to grind it out and overcome some adversity."
Saville was probably one of the happiest Mavs after the game.
"I think I just wasn't good yesterday," he said. "There's really not any excuse not to be ready for the home opener, and I understood that I had to bounce back today."
UNO returns to action Friday night, opening a two-game home series against Maine.
NOTES: The Mavs, who killed off 50 consecutive penalties last season, killed off six on Sunday. The Lakers were 0 for 9 on the power play in the series ... There were some offbeat penalties called against UNO in the third period. There were infractions for illegal equipment, faceoff delay and embellishment ... The Mavs were awarded a penalty shot for the second straight game, but Joey Abate was unsuccessful. Brannon McManus converted in the series opener ... There was a moment of silence before Saturday night's game for Omaha philanthropist and UNO booster Walter Scott Jr., who died Sept. 25.