The Black Bears racked up their 7th victory in a thriller that came down to the final few minutes against the #6/7 Lowell Riverhawks.
The Black Bears got off to a hot start just five minutes in, while on the powerplay freshman Cam Brown fired a shot that went past Lowell goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to make the score 1-0. “Brownie’s shot was a great shot.” Said Gendron after the game.
Minutes later, Maine found themselves back on the powerplay and they made Lowell pay. On a odd man rush, Devin Shore found a streaking Ben Hutton who fired a wristshot high glove-side on Hellebuyck to make it 2-0 Maine. Hutton’s goal made him the leading goal scorer among defensemen in college hockey with his 7th goal of the season.
Those two goals seemed to light a fire under Lowell’s bench as they came out firing on the Black Bears showing no mercy. While it took Marty laying down, Lowell finally found the back of the net with Derek Arnold scoring making it 2-1 Maine after one period.
Lowell took that momentum and flat out was the better team in the second period. While they got off half the shots the Black Bears did, they were great at puck possession keeping Maine pinned in their defensive zones for great period of time. This led to certain frustration on some Maine players as Jake Rutt got called for interference late in the second. Lowell capitalized instantly as Ryan McGrath scored the equalizer just 5 seconds after the penalty to tie it up at 2 headed into the intermission. “They’re very good offensively.”
Red didn’t seem pleased with Rutt’s play, as Jake Rutt sat on the bench during the 3rd period. That means a short bench for the defensemen, they would be tested. Maine was able to battle back and get chances, both teams were close to scoring, their was a puck that pin balled near Marty, but he managed to stop it. Maine got a lucky break in the third period, Michael Kapla’s tripping penalty with 5 minutes left was the spark Maine needed.
“It hit my pads and took a weird bounce off my glove and went backwards.” -Connor Hellebuyck
“You put it on the net anything can happen. As Wayne Gretzky once said, you don’t score 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Red Gendron
“I thought I’d take a shot on net and hope for the best, and it [the puck] went in.” – Blaine Byron
Jon Swavely would tally an empty net goal to seal Maine’s victory with a score of 4-2. Maine improves to 7-6-1 on the season and 4-2-1 in Hockey East play.
Gendron praised the play of his defense and goaltending, “We did a better job blocking shots … Marty came up with a few phenomenal saves.” Maine’s defense blocked 15 shots in the game, with a majority coming in the second period
Devin Shore has found himself on quite a roll as of lately, he now is on a 5-game point streak. He said after the game, “That’s a huge win for us, in a one-game weekend it’s swept of be swept.”
While Maine is still showing signs of their road woes, we have to look at the bright side, Maine is continuing to win at home. Maine is 7-1-0 so far, compared to last season when Maine was 0-6-2 at this time last year. “We’ve come a long way … It hasn’t been easy.” said Shore.
I think Martin Ouellette put it best with this statement, “We [Maine] gotta learn from this and repeat it [winnning] on the road.” While these impressive victories at home are racking up, it won’t be till I see some W’s on the road that I can call this team a legitimate threat.
Maine currently sits in fourth in the Hockey East Standings
Lowell will get the week off before playing in the Catamount Cup in Burlington, VT over break. The Black Bears will host American International for two games on Friday and Saturday, check back later this week for a preview of that matchup.