OMAHA, Neb. –Tyler Vesel was at a Skate with the Mavs event a few weeks ago when Omaha men’s hockey fans started approaching him.

“I couldn’t even count how many times people came to me asking the same questions,” said Vesel, a senior forward. “How do you manage to score so many goals?” “

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Vesel struggled to answer.

But he admitted that there is no doubt the Mavericks have been a much different team at home at Baxter Arena than on the road this season.

At home, Omaha is 10-3-1, the fifth best home winning percentage in the country. On the road, Omaha is 4-10, the 55th best winning percentage.

At home, Omaha is averaging 4.86 goals per game, the highest score in the country. On the road, the Mavs are averaging just 2.36 goals per game, ranking 45th nationally.

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In the 14 home games, Omaha has nine players who have double-digit points total this season. In the 14 road games, the Mavs only have one double-digit player in points.

At home, the power play converts to 30.4 percent. On the road, 22.8%.

“It’s something we talked about at the start of the year,” said Omaha first-year coach Mike Gabinet. “There are so many rinks around varsity hockey that are tough to play in North Dakota or Denver, things like that, you have to establish the same in your home rink. We have big fans here, a big community here to support us. We want to make sure that we compete hard in our home ice rink and that we are tough to play. “

The three-year-old Baxter Arena has been an even tougher place to play lately.

Heading into this weekend’s two-game series with UND (6:37 p.m. tonight, 7:07 p.m. Saturday), the Mavericks have won six in a row at home.

They have scored 6.33 goals per game at home during that span.

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In one of the matches, Omaha allowed seven goals and still won by four.

“Fans love to see goals scored,” said Gabinet, whose program ranks sixth nationally in home participation with 5,900 per game. “We want to work hard, compete and keep putting those pucks in the net.

“As you know in North Dakota, when your audience is kicking up, the adrenaline rushes up and you don’t get tired that easily. It’s nice to see them supporting us like that, and obviously with the conference in which we play, there are so many tough home games to play. “

With one more win, Omaha will set their record for most wins in the Baxter Arena. The Mavericks went 10-8 in the inaugural season and 6-10-2 last season.

“Our fans have been great,” said Vesel. “We got off to a good start, two goals ahead and from there. We feel more comfortable and proud to be a tough place to play.

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“Our power play has been good at home for some reason. It kind of kindled the fire. It’s amazing the number of goals we have scored. I couldn’t explain why this is happening. At the back of the net. “

Omaha will now try to turn the tide on UND, who enters this weekend with a perfect 4-0 record at Baxter Arena. The Fighting Hawks won 9-1, 7-3 last season.

The teams also battle for a top-four position and an advantage on the ice for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoffs, while also battling for position in the pair standings, which is used to determine the tournament field. of the 16-team NCAA.

UND is in third place in the NCHC with 27 points. Omaha is seventh with 21 points, but could tie the Fighting Hawks with a sweep this weekend. The Mavericks are currently ranked 10th in the Pairwise, two places ahead of UND, 12th.

“For any team coming up, this is the critical moment,” said UND defenseman Andrew Peski, whose team have six regular-season games to play. “You get that sense of urgency towards the last two games.”

This article is written by Brad Elliott Schlossman of Grand Forks Herald and was legally authorized via the Tribune Content Agency via the NewsCred network of publishers. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]