Jan. 4, 2003
OMAHA, Neb. – Dan Hacker’s power-play goal held up as the gamewinner as Nebraska-Omaha battled back from a 3-2 deficit to reverse the score from Friday night’s 5-3 loss, earning a weekend split with visiting Notre Dame in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.
Notre Dame (9-8-3, 7-7-0 CCHA) missed out on a chance to move into fourth place in the CCHA standings, sliding one point behind Miami and Michigan, while Nebraska-Omaha (8-10-2, 6-8-0) moved up to eighth place in the conference standings.
The growing rivalry now has seen the teams split play at the OCA (4-4-1) while the Mavericks hold the overall series edge (7-5-1), with the Irish owning a slim 39-38 scoring edge in the series. Each of the last five games in the series has been decided by one goal or in a two-goal/empty-net situation.
The loss spoiled another strong game from sophomore center Yan Stastny, who extended his point streak to eight games by scoring the first two Irish goals. Stastny’s second goal forged a 2-2 tie in the second period and Irish senior left wing Jake Wiegand then scored just 11 seconds later – but the hosts went on to sore the final three goals of the night.
Josh Weeks’ second goal of the season opened the scoring at the 4:56 mark, after a Mike Lefley shot popped away from Irish goaltender Morgan Cey – with Weeks pouncing on the puck and sending it into the vacated net (4:26).
Stastny tied the game with his 10th goal of the season, converting on a scramble in the slot after a deflected shot from linemate John Wroblewski (10:05). UNO reclaimed the lead in the second period, as Joel Andresen collected a rebounded Joe Pereira shot and lifted his own second goal of the season over a sprawling Cey (8:15).
The Irish stunningly snatched the lead three minutes later. Stastny’s second goal of the night came as he was falling to the ice, scoring on a backhanded shot from the left slot (11:29). Just seconds later, the teams were scrambling behind the net and Irish freshman center Cory McLean knocked the puck loose, with Wiegand sneaking a 1-on-1 shot pass UNO netminder Dan Ellis for his fourth goal of the season and the 3-2 lead (11:40).
UNO senior David Brisson tied the game with his 10th goal of the season, after the Irish turned the puck over in their own end. Brisson wasted little time, beating Cey with a backhanded shot to set up another exciting finish. Brisson then clinched the win with an empty-net goal.
Notre Dame had not allowed a power-play goal in the previous three games (in 12 penalty-kill situations) before giving up the pair of costly PPGs in Saturday’s game.
Wiegand’s four goals this season surpass his total from the previous three seasons combined (3).
Notre Dame (9-8-3, 7-7-0 CCHA) 1 2 0 – 3
Nebraska-Omaha (8-10-2, 6-8-0 CCHA) 1 1 3 – 5
1st Period: UNO 1. Jason Weeks (Mike Lefley, Joel Andresen) 4:26; ND 1. Yan Stastny 10 (John Wroblewski, Aaron Gill) 10:05.
2nd Period: UNO 2. Andresen 2 (Joe Pereira, David Brisson), PP, 8:15; ND 2. Stastny 11 (Gill, Wroblewski) 11:29; ND 3. Jake Wiegand 4 (Cory McLean) 11:40.
3rd Period: UNO 3. Brisson 10 (-) 6:49; UNO 4. Dan Hacker 4 (Aaron Smith, Dan Ellis), PP, 12:10; UNO 5. Brisson 11 (Anthony Adams, Andrew Wong), EN, 19:48.
Shots: ND 10-10-9 – 29, UNO 12-12-13 – 37.
Saves: Morgan Cey, ND (11-11-11 – 33); Dan Ellis, UNO (9-8-9 – 26).
Power Play: ND 0-for-3, UNO 2-for-4.
Penalties: ND 10 for 20:00, UNO 8 for 16:00.