The Black Bears left Amherst only accumulating one point in their Hockey East matchup against the UMass Minutemen tying 1-1 on Friday and losing 2-1 on Saturday.
On night one they played to a tie 1-1. Sophomore Ben Hutton got his second goal of the season in the 2nd period on the powerplay. The middle portion of the period was plagued with multiple penalties by Maine as Jake Rutt, Dan Renouf, and Cam brown all got 2 minute minors throughout the period. This momentum for UMass was capitalized as Conor Sheary with less than three minutes left in the period scored the equalizer.
Maine had scored a goal late in the 3rd period with just 45 seconds left, but it was waived off after video review. It was determined that Connor Leen had ran into UMass goalie Steve Mastalerz and goaltender’s interference was the call. Coach Gendron said, “They said he jumped in the air and hit the goalie. He knocked him on his rear end so (Mastalerz) wasn’t able to get across to the other side,”
Neither Maine nor UMass were able to get a goal in overtime leaving night one with a draw. “They battled their tails off. I’m proud of them for that. But we didn’t win so we aren’t satisfied,” said Gendron. Maine played well, just not great enough to get the two points. Marty stopped 31 of 32 shots on Friday. Coach Gendron didn’t tinker his lineup on Friday going with the same lines from last weekend; as the cliché goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Night two was a night Maine will want to forget as they lost 2-1 Saturday. While they did a good job preventing the Minutemen from scoring in the first period. Come the second period, Michael Pereira and Ray Pigozzi scored two goals in a 17-second span about eight minutes into the period. Maine never fully recovered, Devin Shore score a goal towards the beginning of the third, but it wasn’t enough as UMass walks away from this series with 3 points and Maine takes 1 point back to Orono. Goaltender Steve Mastalerz was phenomenal stopping 38 of 39 shots and earning the #1 star of the game on Saturday.
Maine doesn’t have too much they can hold themselves high on, other than the fact that they got a point over the weekend. They shut down one of the nation’s best teams on the powerplay, scored some goals on the powerplay, Marty was great, just not as great as his counterpart for the Minutemen.
It’s a tough pill to swallow for Maine, but UMass has shown that the Black Bears are still in need for improvement. They’re powerplay is finally getting better with many PP goals over the last few weeks. But they’re overall offensive production continues to be lackluster. Two goals in two games isn’t gonna cut it in this conference.
With this “soft” schedule to start Hockey East, Maine needs to take advantage of these games instead of just having to rely on beating BU, BC, Notre Dame, and Lowell just to name a few. Maine has Vermont coming up for two Hockey East conference games this weekend.
Coming up on Wednesday is my preview for this weekend’s series against Vermont, stay tuned.