BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- The University of Nebraska-Omaha got two goals and an assist from Matt White, while Johnnie Searfoss and Jaycob Megna each pitched in a goal and helped on another to help the Mavericks hold off a late charge by Bemidji State University and earn a 5-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) victory at Sanford Center Friday.
The Beavers opened the series in front of their largest crowd of the season (3,536) and it took just 99 seconds and a shot to get the Sanford Center faithful behind them. Brady Wacker (Sr., D, Jansen, Saskatchewan) put BSU ahead on his first goal since Jan. 14, 2012 when Aaron McLeod (Sr., F, Ottawa, Ontario) won an offensive zone faceoff to the blue line. Wacker wound up and unleashed a seeing-eye blast that found its way to the back of the net. It was the senior defender's first goal of his senior season and McLeod's team-leading 12th assist of 2012-13.
UNO bounced back to close the period with goals from Jaycob Megna at 6:50 and Matt White at the 18:47 and take 2-1 cushion into the second session.
Megna's shot from the top of the left faceoff circle trickled through the pads of BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh (So., G, Dawson Creek, British Columbia) to tie the game early and White redirected a shot from the point past the BSU goaltender before time ran out on the period.
The Mavericks dominated play early in the second period stretched their lead to 3-1 2:21 into the second on a goal by James Polk. Brent Gwidt an Andrew Schmidt were credited with assists on the play.
BSU trimmed the Mavericks' lead to a goal, 3-2, when David Boehm (Sr., F, Naples, Fla.) found Jordan George (Sr., F, Madison, Wis.) on the top crease with a backhand pass from behind the net. The goal stood as the eighth of the season for George.
White scored his second goal of the night at the 9:21 mark of the second period to give UNO a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes of play.
UNO opened the final period with a commanding 25-16 edge in shots on goal.
Bemidji State started getting the bounces it needed during the third period, Aided by two power-play opportunities, BSU outshot the Mavericks 9-6. Sam Rendle (So., D, Grand Rapids, Minn.) helped the Beavers again reel Nebraska-Omaha to within a goal, 4-3, at the5:27 mark of period when he fired a shot from outside the blue line that took a fortunate bounce into the goal.
BSU would get a third power-play opportunity late and had a couple near misses with an extra attacker, but could not sink the equalizer before UNO's Searfoss scored an empty-net goal with six seconds to go to put the game out of reach.
The Beavers finished the night 0-for-3 on the power play, extending its string of game without a goal on the man advantage to three (0-for-15).
UNO also came up dry on its only power-play change of the night.
The Mavericks finished the night with a 31-25 edge in shots on goal.
Walsh dips to 4-9-4 on the season stopping 26 shots in 58:48 of play. John Faulkner, the Mavericks' goaltender, finished the night with 22 saves and three goals allowed to improve to 12-4-2 in 2012-13.
The Beavers and Mavericks will settle the series tomorrow when they meet at 7:07 p.m. in final game of the season series.