Three things to watch in the CC/Nebraska-Omaha matchup

Three things to watch as the Colorado College Tigers face the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks on Friday and Saturday at World Arena.
By Joe Paisley Updated: December 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm • Published: December 4, 2013 | 7:45 pm 0

Slow down the Mavericks' transition offense

Nebraska-Omaha has a deep group of forwards, including 2013 Hobey Baker finalist and senior forward Ryan Walters (11 assists), who is tied for the team lead with junior Josh Archibald (10 goals) with 15 points. Three other upperclassmen have at least 10 points for the league-leading Mavericks (8-6, 5-1 NCHC), not including freshman forward Jake Guentzel (10, eight assists), the NCHC Rookie of the Month for November and the younger brother of former Tiger defenseman Gabe Guentzel, who now plays in Italy.

"We need to minimize turnovers and avoid blind passes to help cut down on their Grade-A scoring chances," Tigers coach Scott Owens said.

Generate chances in front of the Mavs' net

The Tigers (1-10-2, 1-5-2 NCHC) must jump-start an offense (1.31 goals a game), ahead of only 0-14 Alabama-Huntsville (0.93).

"The shame of it is we have gotten some good goaltending from (senior) Josh Thorimbert and haven't taken advantage," Owens said.

That 1.31 rate is despite recording 31 or more shots in each of the past nine games, showing CC must capitalize on rebounds. They have not done so consistently, leading to an eye-popping .953 saves percentage for opposing goalies.

It will be especially important to generate more quality chances against UNO junior goalie Ryan Massa of Littleton, whose season totals (2.73 goals against, .899 saves) contrast with his most recent games; a home sweep of No. 12 Miami (league-leading 55 goals) when he stopped 93.4 percent of shots faced and allowed only 1.99 goals.

Continue improvement by CC power play

The Tigers power play has clicked at a 3-for-12 rate over the past four games; a considerable improvement for a power play that went 0 for 32 from Oct. 19 to Nov. 9. Colorado College, now at 9.4 percent (5 for 53), has an opportunity to generate some opportunities with the man advantage.

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