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Nebraska Omaha is looking to have younger players step into larger roles

The Mavericks lost five of their top six scorers and starting goalie Isaiah Saville from last season, so there is plenty of competition going on in Omaha in the preseason.

College hockey players and coaches in interviews
Omaha captain Nolan Sullivan speaks to the media during NCHC Media Day on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

ST. PAUL — With 11 new players on the roster, the Nebraska Omaha hockey team has had to take some time to get to know one another in the preseason.

"I was lucky enough to get to campus a few days early and help them move in and learn faces off the hop," said Mavericks forward Nolan Sullivan, a senior from Eden Prairie. "But it definitely was a struggle at the start."

"To be honest, it's been great to see so many new faces that you've recruited for a long time," said Mike Gabinet, who is beginning his sixth season as UNO's head coach. "It's been exciting. These new guys bring lots of energy. They're workers and high character individuals and those are guys you love to coach."

With five of the team's top six scorers from last season and starting goalie Isaiah Saville moving on, the Mavericks have a lot of questions going into the season.

"There's lots of opportunities up for grabs for guys," Gabinet said. "I think guys like Matt Miller and Jack Randl, Cameron Berg and Ty Mueller and some of our younger players are going to get that opportunity now to get more ice time and play more significant roles."


Head coach: Mike Gabinet (6th season, 75-86-11 overall, 48-65-7 NCHC).

Last season’s record and finish: 21-17-0 overall, 11-13-0 NCHC. Mavericks were swept in the opening round of the NCHC playoffs by Western Michigan.

Last season’s NCHC finish: 6th out of 8 teams.

NCHC preseason media poll: 7th.

Notable changes: The Mavericks lost five of their top six scorers from last season. Forwards Taylor Ward (19 goals, 39 points), Brannon McManus (32 points) and Kevin Conley (10 goals, 21 points) and defenseman Brandon Scanlin (31 points) all signed pro contracts. Forward Chayse Primeau (23 points) transferred to Notre Dame. Goalie Isaiah Saville (2.52 goals-against average, .907 save percentage) signed a pro deal after his junior season after playing in 30 of the team's 38 games last season.

Outlook: Omaha got some good news when Tyler Weiss, who was second on the team in points (33), decided to return for a fifth season. Sophomore forwards Cameron Berg (23 points) and Jack Randl (20 points) also need to move into more prominent roles. There are 10 freshmen and one transfer on the roster. The goaltending situation looks to be wide open with freshmen Simon Latkoczy and Raythan Robbins and senior Jacob Zab all on the roster.

New faces: Forwards Ray Fust, Jacob Slipec, Cam Mitchell, Michael Abgrall and Tyler Rollwagen; defensemen Joaquim Lemay, Griffin Ludtke and Jacob Guevin; and goaltenders Latkoczy and Robbins are freshmen. The transfer is forward Jake Pivonka, who is beginning his fifth year of college hockey after four seasons at Notre Dame.

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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