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Three Things to Watch at Nebraska-Omaha

Published: February 27, 2014, 8:40 am, by Joe Paisley

UNO archibaldHere are three things Colorado College will need to be aware of headed into this weekend’s National Collegiate Hockey Conference series at Nebraska-Omaha, 6:37 p.m. Friday, 6:07 Saturday, CenturyLink Center:

1. Keep track of Hobey Baker contender Josh Archibald

While Boston College sophomore Johnny Gaudreau remains the odds-on Hobey favorite, Mavericks junior Josh Archibald is having a tremendous season with 26 goals, second only to Gaudreau (29), who has an eye-popping 63 points (34 assists) in 33 games.

The three-time NCHC offensive player of the week honoree, who leads Division I in third-period (12) and overtime (two) scoring, is strong in front of the net and has good speed in open space.

“The puck just seems to find it way in,” UNO coach Dean Blais said. “He is fast and has good hands and because of his speed he keeps getting scoring opportunities. Dominic Zombo gives him the pass at center ice and he (Archibald) blows right past the defender. There aren’t too many prolific scorers like him one-on-one in the NCAA.”

2. Do not let down following an emotional home weekend

The Tigers are riding a three-game win streak that culminated with a Saturday win that took back the Gold Pan Trophy from rival Denver. CC must guard against a letdown against a third-place Mavericks squad jockeying for playoff position.

Senior Alexander Krushelnyski was not concerned.

“I’m not too worried about that,” he said after the game. “This win was more about our boosting our confidence more than anything else.”

3. Dictate the pace of the game

Nebraska-Omaha has a potent offense with five players with 25 or more points, including 2013 Hobey Top 10 finalist and senior Ryan Walters (28, 22 assists) and league Rookie of the Year hopeful Jake Guentzel (25, 21 assists), younger brother of former CC defenseman Gabe.

The Mavs (13-15-2, 10-8-2-1 NCHC) are at their best when they play a run-and-gun style that takes advantage of their skill and speed.

“We have to continue playing within our system because Omaha will try to get us going up and down the ice,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said. “They have some firepower on offense.”