As the first installment of my year in review of the Black Bear season, I’m gonna be taking a look at the season month-by-month. This first piece will be where the Season began, all the way back in October.
October 11-12, at St Lawrence, Appleton Arena
Results: L 3-1 & L 5-2
This was the beginning of the season, and a bit of a foreshadow of what to come this year away from the Alfond as the Black Bears faltered to an 0-2 start with a pair of road losses. Freshman Blaine Byron got the first goal of the season for the Black Bears making it the second straight season a freshman scored first (Steven Swavely did it last year vs. Quinnipiac). St. Lawrence got on the Black Bears early and didn’t look back on night one.
Night two saw the Black Bears get on the board first, then give up two unanswered goals, tying it with eight minutes left in the game, only to blow it with just under five minutes left to fall yet again to the Saints. Ryan Lomberg and Mark Anthoine got the goals for the Black Bears in this one. The sweep now made it four straight victories for St. Lawrence over the Black Bears, dating back to last year.
One thing I saw that would become normal was the line pairings of Leen-Shore-Lomberg & Morgan-Brown-Byron as they’d be two of the top performing lines on this Black Bear squad.
October 19, vs Bentley, Alfond Arena
Result: W 2-1
Stu Higgin’s pair of goals led the Black Bears to their first victory of the season. By no means was it a great effort, as they had to play three-and-a-half minutes on a 3-on-5 penalty kill. The one goal given up was a faceoff that broke down with Bentley getting a shot up high blocker side on Marty. The Black Bears got their first home win of the season much earlier than last year which was a sign of things to come for the Black Bears this year at home.
Stu Higgins was the only scorer of goals in this one and Marty stopped 24 of 25 shots in the effort. As the headline for the post suggested, it was baby steps towards improvement and that was the team was committing a lot of penalties and keeping teams in the game late.
October 25-26, vs Umass, Alfond Arena
Results: W 3-2 OT & W 8-4
Post: Get Out the Brooms
Of note this was a non-conference series.
Game one featured an OT thriller that saw a goaltending dual that was phenomenal to see as Connor Leen netted the goal in OT for the victory. The Black Bears jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead before allowing Umass to score two unanswered goals. Both teams had some quality chances in the third but Martin Ouellette and Steve Mastalerz were standing tall as they made some great saves in the third. Mark Anthoine & Ben Hutton were the goal scorers for the Black Bears in regulation.
In OT, Shore setup in Gretzky’s office (behind the net) and skated around till he found Connor Leen right out front and Leen buried the game-winner. I provided a video below of the goal along with Connor Leen after the game.
The radio call was great as my colleague Cody Beckett rejoiced in the victory
Night two was an offensive explosion for the Black Bears as a six-goal second period propelled the Black Bears over the Minutemen to earn the sweep. But the night didn’t get off to a nice start as the Black Bears gave up a shorthanded goal just under three minutes into the game.
Something must’ve been said in that locker room as the Black Bears came out scoring like gangbusters. Freshmen Josh Henke, Brian Morgan, Cam Brown, & Blaine Byron mounted the assault with first four goals for the Black Bears. Mark Anthoine & Jake Rutt joined in the goal party as both men scored a goal in the final minute of the second period headed into the break with a 6-2 lead.
Steven Swavely netted a shorthanded goal at the beginning of the third to make it 7-2. Umass managed to score a pair of goals to cut the defect to three, but Mark Anthoine’s empty net goal sealed the victory and the sweep for the Black Bears.
Overall the weekend was a success, it was unfortunate that this was a non-conference series cause these were points the Black Bears could’ve used (but more about that down the line).
Friday W 3-2 OT
Saturday W 8-4
End of the Month Record: Overall 3-2-0, Conference (0-0-0)
Season Record: Overall 3-2-0, Conference (0-0-0)
Check back next week as I’ll have more posts of the latter months as we venture into Hockey East play.