Maine moves into a tie for fourth place with UNH after losing at the Whittemore Center 3-2 Friday night.
UNH set the tone from the beginning as they managed to score just 47 seconds in. Marty was way out of his net as Nick Sorkin took advantage of the vulnerability of Maine’s defense. Maine was able to tie it up as Will Merchant tallied a goal just 2 minutes later.
Maine would out shoot UNH 16-6 and had some quality chances but Casey DeSmith did his best to stop some great chances as Maine peppered him [DeSmith] with shots towards the end of the period without any success.
In the second period UNH seemed to have the momentum as Eric Knodel fired a snapshot past Ouellette to make it 2-1 Wildcats. UNH would surge on through the period outshooting Maine 10-6, defensive miscues began to show highlighted by Brice O’Connor slipping in a comical style almost like there was a banana peel on the ice, plus UNH clanked a post or two in the period.
The third got off to a similar start just 2 minutes in as Jay Camper extended UNH’s lead with a goal. Schurhamer and Renouf were outnumbered and UNH took advantage and Marty couldn’t get relief.
Most of the third was a lot of back-and-forth with no success, on either side. With Maine’s goalie pulled, Mark Anthoine buried one past DeSmith with 54 seconds left. Despite Maine’s final surge, they couldn’t get the equalizer as UNH held on for the victory.
My initial thoughts are that there is clearly something about this team that they just can’t figure it out on the road. They’re 0-8-2 on the road and it gets harder from here in terms of a road schedule (2 with ND in 2 weeks and 2 with NU in a month).
The injuries on the offense are starting to add up with Swavely still hurting, and Higgins done for the season. This team needs to start figuring it out as they’ve lost 2 center man this month. Norman took over as 4th line center last night and did a decent job, but it still wasn’t enough.
This defense has been shaky, I’ve praised the play of Schurhamer and Renouf but lately they’ve been subpar. Rutt and Riley have been okay, O’Connor has been struggling, only Hutton has been the bright spot among defenders recently. But Maine’s defense as of late (and I mainly refer to the exhibition games) have been lackluster.
Which brings me to my biggest concern, what in the world has happened to Martin Ouellette? Marty was in such a groove through the first half I thought nothing would shake him going into the second half. Plus the great showing against Lowell made me feel optimistic, and I gave Marty a pass against BC because it was BC, but after a rocky showing in an exhibition game, I’m wondering if it’s a confidence thing or what. Partly to blame is his defense not helping him, but we’ve come to expect that for most of the season. But we still have tonight’s game to figure it out as Maine returns to there venue of dominance, the Alfond.
I expect tonight’s matchup to be another good one. I’m feel there’ll be a bit bit of a shakeup on the lines tonight, but nothing major or drastic. We’ll just have to wait and see.
As it is a home game, WMEB 91.9 FM will have the call for tonights game starting around 6:50 pm. To find out about line charts, they’ll be up on the WMEB Sports twitter feed around 5:00. I will be there live-tweeting the action, hope you tune in if you’re not going to the game tonight. The game will also be streamed on WMEB Sports Plus (click on this link: