Tigers run into team hitting on all cylinders

February 28, 2014 Updated: February 28, 2014 at 10:58 pm

OMAHA, Neb. - Colorado College's momentum came to a sudden halt Friday against red-hot Nebraska-Omaha.

Mavericks freshman Austin Ortega scored 11 seconds into the National Collegiate Hockey Conference game, a school record, and the hosts never looked back en route to a 6-0 victory.

"They were really good tonight," CC coach Scott Owens said. "Their forwards gave us a lot of trouble. We were slow to react and were flat-footed to start the game."

The third-place Mavericks (14-15-2, 11-8-2-1 NCHC) took a three-goal lead early including when Brock Montpetit scored a shorthanded goal only 2:15 into the contest.

It was the first shorthanded goal allowed by the seventh-place Tigers (6-19-6, 6-10-5-1) this season.

Almost three minutes later, UNO made it 3-0 when Dominic Zombo forced a turnover behind the Colorado College net and passed to freshman Jake Guentzel, younger brother for former Tiger Gabe Guentzel, for the score with 14:32 left.

The third goal on four shots ended senior goalie Josh Thorimbert's night.

Junior Courtney Lockwood came on and recorded 23 saves in 55 minutes.

Colorado College had its opportunities to battle back, with Nebraska-Omaha picking up two penalties on junior Jaycob Megna in the first period. But the UNO power play continued its torrid pace since Christmas (91 percent). The CC power play was able to generate only five shots over four power plays.

UNO pulled away when league-leading scorer Josh Archibald scored in the second period and again in the third period for his 27th and 28th goals this season, setting a school record. Zombo picked up his third assist of the game on the fifth goal with 15:56 left in the third.

"We're a good hockey team and we are playing well right now," Zombo said. "But we cannot worry about home playoff ice. We just need to focus on the first period Saturday against CC."

Nebraska-Omaha moved within three points of second-place SCSU in the standings with three games remaining in the regular season. North Dakota pulled ahead of everyone with a 5-2 road win over St. Cloud State to improve to 15-2-1 in its last 18 games.

Less than a week after the high point of the season - winning the Gold Pan Trophy over rival Denver - the Tigers will try for a road split Saturday.

"We'll see," said Owens, who coached his 600th game (323-223-54) at his alma mater. "We are playing a good team. They are a third-place team which is on a bit of a roll right now."

CC remains seven points ahead of last-place Miami, 5-4 losers at home to fifth-place Minnesota-Duluth, with three games (maximum nine points) remaining.

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