Mavericks vs Mavericks in first-ever WCHA home series
November 5th, 2010
Update: The Mavericks swept Minnesota State-Mankato with two decisive wins: 5-1 Friday and 5-2 Saturday.
Omaha, NE – The Nebraska-Omaha hockey team gets back in action Friday, Nov. 5, following an idle weekend.Â The series with Minnesota State-Mankato is significant for more than just one reason â€“ itâ€™s is a first for the Mavericks.
UNO plays its first ever conference home game as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. UNO spent 11 years as a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey association, but switched to the WCHA before this season.
The new environment hasnâ€™t slowed progress at all, as UNO has jumped out to a 5 and 1 start, with their only loss coming on October 23rd at sixth-ranked Michigan. The praise has been high for Coach Dean Blais and his boys. They are currently ranked eighth in the nation by the United States College Hockey Organization.
â€œWe swept Minnesota in our first ever WCHA games,â€ Blais said. â€œYou never can get really high expectations in this league because itâ€™s who wants it the most. Itâ€™s hard to tell until you get actually into the game.â€
That first series win over Minnesota came on the opening weekend of WCHA play, when the Mavericks visited the Gophers at Mariucci Arena.Â A different school from Minnesota provides this weekendâ€™s opponent. The team from Mankato also claims the Maverick as its mascot. The dueling monikers have given rise to the â€œSpirit of the Maverick,â€ a traveling trophy awarded to the winner of the UNO-Minnesota State series each year. UNO and Mankato have played each year since the 2001-02 season, but the trophy has been around since 1998.
David Ahlers, the play-by-play voice of UNO hockey, has been witness to some of the rivalry between the two Maverick squads. â€œI think that whenever you get together with a school that youâ€™ve been playing a long time thereâ€™s certainly a little more animosity,â€ Ahlers said. â€œThe history brings back some of the memories of past battles, and I think thatâ€™s what makes this so much of an exciting weekend.â€
When the puck drops at 7:37 p.m. on Friday, and at 7:07 p.m on Saturday, you can hear David along with color commentator Terry Leahy calling the action on Classical 90.7 KVNO.
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