Men’s Hockey: Omaha Completes Weekend Sweep, Tops Cats 3-1

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

BURLINGTON – Evan Weninger made 29 saves and Austin Ortega scored twice to lift No. 3 Nebraska Omaha past the 20th-ranked Vermont Catamounts 3-1 on Saturday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse to sweep a weekend series. The Catamounts dropped to 1-2-0 (0-0-0 HEA), while the Mavericks remained unbeaten at 4-0-0 (0-0-0 NCHC).

Omaha jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead for the second straight night with a pair of goals in the opening eight minutes. Justin Parizek slid a forehand shot under Mike Santaguida on a shorthanded breakaway at the 5:38 mark, and Ortega snuck a one-timer through Santaguida’s pads at 7:49.

Vermont had several scoring chances in the middle period, including Liam Coughlin who was robbed at the left doorstep by Weninger’s right pad on a feed from Jarrid Privitera. The Catamounts nearly cut the lead in half on a power play later in the frame, but the top power play unit couldn’t connect on a scramble around the crease.

Santaguida stopped every shot he faced in the second and denied Jake Guentzel with his blocker on a clean breakaway to keep UVM within two.

After a trio of UNO penalties midway through the third period, Vermont finally capitalized on a 5-on-3. Alexx Privitera picked out Mario Puskarich at the top of the right faceoff circle, and Puskarich beat Weninger glove side with a quick one-timer for his third goal in as many games. Kevin Irwin collected the second assist to cut the Mavericks’ lead to one.

The Catamounts couldn’t cash in on the ensuing 5-on-4 power play and called their timeout to pull Santaguida for an extra skater with roughly 1:40 remaining. Omaha chipped the puck out of its zone, and Ortega coasted in for an empty-netter after a collision of UVM players at neutral ice.

Weninger stopped 21 shots in the final 40 minutes for his second win of the season, while Santaguida finished the night with 21 total saves. Vermont registered a 6-for-6 showing on the penalty kill and out-shot Omaha in both games of the series.

UVM returns to Gutterson next weekend for a two-game series against top-ranked North Dakota at 7:05 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 23) and Saturday (Oct. 24). All the action will be streamed for free in high definition on Pre-game radio coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on WVMT 620-AM and with Alastair Ingram on the call.

Vermont will host a TD Bank scroll giveaway on Friday, while Saturday is Fraternity/Sorority Night at Gutterson which includes a Thunderstick giveaway. On both nights, the Catamounts will hold post-game broomball for UVM students on the ice.

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