OMAHA, Neb.—Northern Michigan University Men's Ice Hockey (7-7, 5-3 WCHA) was swept for the first time this season after falling, 4-1, to the University of Nebraska at Omaha (6-5-1, 1-3 NCHC) Saturday evening. Previously, the Wildcats had split four-consecutive series and five of six series in 2017.
The Wildcats fell behind just 34 seconds into the contest when the Mavericks scored on the game's first shot. UNO's offense controlled the offense for the opening five minutes, holding NMU without a shot during the span, while Omaha added to their lead with another goal 2:21 into the opening period.
After taking the first six shots of the game, the Mavericks finished the first period with a 13-6 shot advantage. NMU was called for three penalties in the period but held their opponents scoreless in three power-play chances. Through the first four periods of the series, the Wildcats went 7-of-7 in the penalty kill.
For the second-consecutive period, Omaha found a goal on the first shot of the period. The first score of the second period came just over two minutes in and gave the Mavericks a 3-0 advantage. UNO went up four goals 16 minutes into the second period.
Late in the period, sophomore defender Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minnesota) finally got the Wildcats on the scoreboard with their first score of the game. Beaulieu's second score of the weekend and fourth of the season came at 19:14 of the second period with junior forwards Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam, British Columbia) and Denver Pierce (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan) earning assists.
The score cut the Mavericks lead to three, 4-1, while a penalty with four seconds remaining in the period sent the Wildcats into the final frame with a power-play opportunity.
Despite beginning the final period with an on-ice advantage, NMU was not able to cut the deficit in the third period. Omaha would fend off seven Wildcat shots in the period to secure a 3-1 victory and series sweep.
Between the pipes, sophomore goaltender Mathias Israelsson (Ytterby, Sweden) made his second straight start. Israelsson faced 30 shots in the contest, making 26 saves. Israelsson's numbers for the season now include a .891 save percentage and 3.10 goals against average.
Coming into the series, the Mavericks owned the fourth-best power-play percentage in the country at 28.9%. The Wildcats continued their stretch of dominate special teams going 12-of-12 in the penalty kill over the two games. In the past four series, NMU has gone a combined 40-of-42 in the penalty kill, improving their penalty-kill percentage from 70% to 84.7% over that span.
NMU will return to the Berry Events Center next weekend when they host the University of Alabama-Huntsville Friday and Saturday after four-consecutive road contests. The Wildcats have four separate four-game road trips during the season, with two more remaining.
The puck will drop for Friday and Saturday's game at 7 p.m. in the Berry.