UNO hockey looks for strong showing at Long Island as conference schedule looms

UNO and Alaska Fairbanks handshake after the game ends in a fight.

After the wild weekend, the UNO hockey team will head out for two games at Long Island University.

The Mavericks are coming off a home split against Alaska Fairbanks, lost 3-2 in overtime last Friday night and then won by the same result in overtime on Sunday.

After their victory, the Nanooks celebrated in front of the UNO bench. The Mavs then celebrated in front of the Fairbanks’ bench when the tables turned two days later.

That led to fist punches in the post-game handshake line as UNO sporting director Adrian Dowell and AD assistant Mike West took to the ice to end things. The officials refereed the teams for 120 minutes in penalties – 70 for the Nanooks and 50 for the Mavs.

“Looking back on the tape, it was a somewhat unfortunate situation,” said coach Mike Gabinet. “Just my opinion but it was initiated by the other team and is resulting in two of our guys not being able to play on Friday night.”

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Strikers Brock Bremer and Kaden Bohlsen have both been given hefty fight penalties and are serving a one-game ban.

Gabinet said Sunday’s win will give the team momentum in this weekend’s games against the Sharks.

“It was definitely nice for the players to be rewarded with what I think was a good 60 minutes of ice hockey,” said the coach. “Having that resilience to come back and ultimately win in overtime shows the level of growth this team is experiencing.”

The Mavs go 2-3-1 this weekend while Long Island is 1-4-1. UNO came back with a win and a tie in his only previous road trip against Lake Superior State two weeks ago.

“We have 12 new positions here (10 newcomers, two transfers) and the road trips give us all the chance to network,” said Gabinet. “I think that’s always positive.”

Forward Cam Berg said he enjoys playing games outside of Baxter Arena.

“I enjoy long car rides,” he says. “You’re with the guys pretty much all the time and then you go play in front of a hostile environment, so that’s kind of fun.”

The Mavs won two games against Long Island last season in Omaha, beating the Sharks 13-1. It was the first time the teams met.

UNO has a tough road ahead after this weekend as the NCHC season gets underway. The unranked Mavs will play their next eight games against No. 6 North Dakota, No. 19 Minnesota Duluth, No. 3 Denver and No. 17 Western Michigan.

“I think maybe those games are in the back of our minds,” Berg said. “But right now we have to get past Long Island before we can focus on the others.”

Gabinet said the Mavs will also be short-handed at the blue line due to injuries. Defensemen unlikely to play are sophomore Victor Mancini and freshmen Griffin Ludtke and Jacob Guevin.

“It’s maybe the first time we’ve had to play a striker at the back,” he said. “You just have to think of it as a great experience for other guys to have some time on the ice.”

Berg, who has one goal and two assists, said he hoped he wasn’t the striker.

“I wouldn’t mind staying on point and shooting pucks all day,” he said. “But I don’t know if the guys want to see me skate backwards.”

REMARKS: Senior forward Jack Randl continues his offensive tear in the preseason. He leads the nation with eight goals, six more than anyone on the team… Brett Riley is in his third season as head coach on Long Island… The Sharks, who have lost four straight games, were defeated at Michigan State last weekend… Freshman Goalie Simon Latkoczy, born in Slovakia, celebrated his first career win on Sunday. He stopped 19 of 21 shots…Long Island began its varsity program for the 2020-21 season and is the only Division I hockey program in New York City.

UNO (2-3-1) on Long Island (1-4-1)

Friday at 6:45 p.m., Saturday at 6:07 p.m

Northwell Health Ice Center, East Meadow, New York

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