Maine made a statement last night by defeating the #7 Boston College Eagles 5-1 in front of a sellout crowd at Alfond Arena last night.
Maine was riding high on confidence and momentum following their 7-0 victory over BU. That is what they would need heading into a battle with a team that possesses the puck for long periods of time and is the most prolific offense in college hockey to this point. This was a game that featured Maine giving away free stuff, like rally towels and a Black Bear cutout mask. I wish I had the picture of my colleague Cody and I wearing the cutouts, check back soon for that photo.
Maine got on BC early and often in the beginning of the first period. Devin Shore scored the first goal of the game just 37 seconds into the game on a 2-on-1 from Connor Leen. “[first goal] that was big for us.” said Shore after the game.
“getting the early lead was important,” said Coach Gendron, “This place was absolutely electric tonight. I didn’t see any empty seats. I don’t care how good you are, when you come to Maine and it’s rocking the way it was tonight, it is a pretty tough place to play.”
Maine followed it up minutes late with Ben Hutton scoring on the backhand going top shelf to make it 2-0 just four minutes in. BC began to adjust to Maine’s fast scoring, but not before Ryan Lomberg was able to knock home a rebound goal to make it 3-0 Maine. BC finally got it together as Scott Savage found the back of the net to give Maine a 3-1 lead headed into the first intermission.
The 2nd period could be described as BC possession domination, while I don’t have official numbers for that period, BC held the puck in the Maine defensive zone for a good portion of the beginning of that 2nd period. The Black Bears were able to fend off the Eagles, and in fact managed to score a goal as Devin Shore had an open net off a rebound and buried the backhander and showed off some moves as he scored his second of the game giving Maine the 4-1 lead. The game featured a lot of back and forth after Shore’s goal, both teams getting chances, including Maine applying pressure late in the period and almost scored at the end of the period.
BC came into the 3rd once again possessing the puck in Maine’s end for long periods of time, the players started to get tired out there. The TV timeouts were a saving grace for the Black Bears as they looked gassed. Maine was able to hold off BC’s relentless attack, in fact Ben Hutton managed to score just after Johnny Hockey himself got out of the penalty box to seal it at 5-1. In the waning moments of the game featured no action as both teams knew the game was in hand and it ended the the fog horn going off for several seconds as Maine celebrated a 5-1 victory. Maine handed BC their 3rd loss on the season, and BC’s first loss in conference play this season.
BC Coach Jerry York said afterwards, “I thought Maine played real well for the whole 60 minutes, especially the first period,” said BC coach Jerry York. “They had us back on our heels and that 3-0 lead proved to be insurmountable for us. It gave them a lot of emotion and confidence … We didn’t get the puck to the critical blue-paint [the goalie crease] areas. [Ouellette] made some good saves but he didn’t have to make any great saves.”
One question we thought going into this game was whether or not Maine was going to be able to contain BC’s great offense. Well they did, a team [BC] that averages 4.5 goals a game was limited to one goal. Maine was able to contain BC in the sense that they allowed a lot of puck possession for BC, but they didn’t allow them to capitalize on those chances and kept them out of it.
Maine’s even strength play continued to improve as all five goals were scored 5-on-5, Red has made this a focus in recent weeks and it’s payed off as Maine has scored 9 even strength goals in their last two games.
The crowd continues to grow as this game was an official sellout, I couldn’t even find the last time Maine had a sellout, but it’s been quite a while. From a more personal perspective, that place was as full as I’ve seen in a while and it was fun to watch the towels fly. Maine’s been doing all the right things to as Gendron put it, “put the fannies in the seats.”
Maine will travel to UVM over Thanksgiving for a series Fri and Sat night. WMEB Sports won’t be covering that game, but UVM’s athletic site provides a free live video stream to watch. Maine will return home in two weeks to host Umass-Lowell. I’ll have a UVM preview mid-week, until then have safe travels for those people traveling for the holidays early in the week.