Black Bears Drop Three Big Points to Northeastern

It was Devin Shore who said last week, “there’s no more time to waste points, every point is crucial.”

Well apparently he wasn’t talking about their series against Northeastern as with their control of their own destiny dwindled a little as they could only grab one point in a disappointing showing against the Huskies.

They close out their road games in the regular season with an abysmal record of 1-10-3.

On night one the Black Bears battled in a shootout with the Huskies jumping out to a 2-0 lead, only to give up three unanswered goals. Maine responded with two goals of their own including Mark Anthoine’s go-ahead with just over six minutes left in the game. But then, similar to Notre Dame, the Black Bears gave up the tying goal as Braden Pimm netted the equalizer with just over one minute left in regulation. Neither team was able to get a goal in overtime resulting in a tie.

“Parts of our performance were terrific and other parts weren’t terrific. We didn’t get the win so we’re not satisfied. But the effort and compete level were there,” said Gendron after the game.

Connor Leen (6), Steven Swavely (8), Blaine Byron (7), & Mark Anthoine (8) were the goal scorers Friday night for the Black Bears.

One problem for Maine on game one was the absence of Ryan Lomberg and Eric Schurhamer. Schurhamer has been out for the last few games with an undisclosed injury, while Lomberg was serving his one game suspension for elbowing a Merrimack player on Saturday. Maine was outshot and didn’t look like the better team as I would say they were lucky to have gotten the one point.

Coming into night two the Black Bears were looking to rebound and make it a three-point weekend, but it didn’t look that way early. In an exact reversal of game one, the Northeastern Huskies got off to a quick 2-0 lead less than seven minutes into the game. Maine was able to respond with Ben Hutton scoring a powerplay goal in the first and Devin Shore netting the equalizer. Northeastern didn’t flinch as they scored two more goals, one in the second and the other in the third, to make in 4-2 Huskies.

Unfortunately for the Black Bears they couldn’t mount a comeback despite a Ben Hutton goal late in the game as Maine lost to Northeastern 4-3. This was the Black Bears tenth road loss of the season, as the road woes just never went away.

Ben Hutton 2 (13) & Devin Shore (13) were the goal scorers on Saturday night.

Ben Hutton tied the single-season goal scoring record among Maine defensemen with 13 as he’s currently tied with Dwight Montgomery in 1979-80, Jack Capuano in 1987-88, and Jeff Tory in 1994-95. He still has two games against Providence to set the record.

Overall it was a disappointing weekend for the Black Bears as they are in the midst of a battle for a home-ice and currently sit in fourth place in Hockey East. They didn’t have that urgency that I was seeing last week as they were outplayed by Northeastern, but fortunately played well enough that they trailed by one goal in the aggregate total of the weekend series. With New Hampshire and Providence right behind them by only one point (NH plays Mer & Prov plays Maine next weekend), there really is no more time to fool around.

Standings as of Feb 22, not factored in is ND's 2-0 W over BU

Standings as of Feb 22, not factored in is ND’s 2-0 W over BU. courtesy of Hockeyeastonline.com

My closing thought is that this was a lackluster weekend for the Black Bears. They played ok, Northeastern was better than them as they’ve (Huskies) earned their spot moving up to third place in the Hockey East Standings. But the Black Bears still control their own destiny as winning out or a win and UNH loss would clinch home-ice for the Black Bears.

Check back in the mid-week for a preview of next weekend’s series against Providence as well as other Hockey East playoff info as things become more clear in terms of scenarios.

Alex Quirk

About Alex Quirk

Alex covers UMaine Hockey for WMEB Sports, the sports department at WMEB 91.9 FM, as the sideline reporter/live-tweeter during the games. .