Devin Shore headlined Maine’s offensive showcase against American International in a 7-1 5-1 sweep.
Coming into Friday night Gendron made a change in the lineup, he sat out Jake Rutt after his costly penalty led to a tying goal on Sunday’s game. In his place was sophomore Kyle Williams, who only played one game previous (10/12 vs. St. Lawrence).
It took time for Maine to get settled in, a lot of back-and-forth action saw no scoring for Maine. Then 8 minutes in, Shore passed the puck up front and in the sea of bodies, Steven Swavely managed to find the puck and bury it home. Minutes later Dan Renouf fired a soft slapshot that found its way to the net giving Renouf his first career goal. Late in the first with the period winding down, Schurhamer fired a wristshot from the edge of the faceoff circle to close out the first with Maine up 3-0.
Devin Shore got on the board with the most unusual goal he will ever score. Early in the second, AIC goalie Hunter Leisner looked like he was gonna cover the puck, but at the last second tried to release it. But Shore was able to pick his pocket and score a shorthanded goal. AIC managed to get on the board with a rebound goal from a 3-on-2.
But that was all Maine would give as they flexed their offensive muscle three times in the third. Connor Leen, Mark Anthoine, and Stu Higgins all joined the goal party in the third period as Maine walked away with a 7-1 victory.
“We wanted to get off to a good start and we wanted to keep the intensity up.” Said Shore, he added, “It was that kind of night. The bounces went our way.” Gendron was pleased with his team after the game, “I thought we played hard for the entire game … We’re putting more pucks on net now.”
Red Gendron had the quote of the night.
Shore preached the importance of putting the game behind them and getting ready for game two. Certainly AIC would put up a better fight in night two if they got overconfident. Maine outshot AIC 59-21, Maine managed to get 26 Grade A chances to AIC’s 7. The defense did a great job protecting Marty as they were able to contain AIC to outside shots that weren’t challenging to Marty.
Night two saw some changes once again to the lineup, Brady Campbell checked in for Will Merchant on the fourth line, Jake Rutt returned to his defensive-pairing with Conor Riley. But the biggest one of the night was the return of Dan Sullivan in the return of #sullysaturday as my colleague Cody Beckett would tweet. Dan Sullivan started for the Black Bears, for the first time in 13 months (Nov 4 vs. UNH).
Unfortunately for Sullivan, the game didn’t get off the way he had hoped. AIC showed some explosion right at the start and just 31 seconds in Chris Porter scored on Sullivan. “We left him [Sullivan] out to dry on that goal.” The defense didn’t play great in the initial moments, but they were able to collect themselves.
98 seconds later Blaine Byron tallied the equalizer with a point-blank slapshot. AIC managed to contain the Black Bears from scoring going into the intermission tied at one. “[During the intermission] I told them they’re gonna have to figure this one out for themselves.” Said Red afterwards.
Dan Sullivan would come through in the clutch with an amazing save when him and Chris Porter were all alone. In the second period Porter was able to get a quality chance against Sullivan. He managed to make the kick save and prevented AIC from getting back in it.
One thing Maine has been successful with recently is putting pucks on the net and crashing the net. A streaking Stu Higgins collected a rebound and just managed to squeeze one by Ryan Kerpan to give Maine the lead. Less than two minutes later Ryan Lomberg fired a backhand shot off a rebound that went five-hole. Maine would tally two goals in the third, Brian Morgan and Ryan Lomberg put this one away in Maine’s sweep of AIC with a 5-1 victory on night two. Note, Devin Shore got the assist on Lomberg’s second goal to extend his point streak to 7 games.
Gendron complimented “That [Anthoine-Higgins-Lomberg] line was obviously our top line tonight … They threw pucks to the net low and went for the rebounds.” Gendron followed that up with praise to Lomberg’s play, “It was great seeing him have a night like that. It was certainly something he’s capable of doing. It took him the whole semester to do it but it’s way better that it’s happening now rather than in the second semester.” Ryan Lomberg got 3 points from two goals and an assist in the victory earning himself the first star of the game.
Maine outshot AIC 44-19, and got 23 Grade A opportunities in the game.
As the semester winds down at the University of Maine, Maine ends their semester with a three-game winning streak. “It’s a nice way to end the semester…on a high note” Said Devin Shore, who has been the star for the Black Bears through 16 games. His six points went a long way for the Black Bears as he assisted on 5 of the 11 goals (He scored a goal, which I didn’t count).
Other stars over the weekend include Connor Leen who on Friday got four points off one goal and three assists, on night two he was awarded a penalty shot which he missed. Mark Anthoine also got 4 points from a goal and 3 assists on both nights.
Overall, there’s not much to say about this weekend, this was a series Maine was supposed to win. They did that, it was nice to see Devin Shore continue to thrive as he has had quite the sophomore campaign and is seeing his hard work rewarded as he leads the team in points and tied for leading goal scorer (Ben Hutton).
It was refreshing to see Dan Sullivan in net as I remember flashbacks of my freshmen year (2011-12) when Sully was the man for the Black Bears. Obviously this wasn’t an impressive opponent, but it has been an ongoing discussion of how long we’d see Marty in net. With the stretch of games that Maine has coming up, it was nice to see Marty work the clipboard for a night. I only hope that Sully will see some more action before Boston (1/11), when I assume Red will plug-in Ouellette for the rest of the season.
Maine will have next weekend off as this week is finals week, next week they’ll travel to Estero, FL in a holiday tournament that they host along with Cornell called the Florida College Classic. They’ll play Princeton in the first round, then play the winner/loser of Cornell/UNH depending on how Maine does, I’ll have updates for that.
As it is the official halfway point, I quickly reflect on this team with its 9-6-1 (4-2-1 HE) record. This team has re-established their home dominance boasting a 9-1 record at home. Problem is they’ve shown some road woes with a 0-5-1 record away from Orono. While the Florida College Classic is neutral, the next 5 games (that count) after that are all road games (Quinnipiac, BU, Lowell, BC, & UNH).
Check in over the next week as I’ll have some midseason posts about grades and ranks about the UMaine Black Bears as they have 13 calendar days before the Florida College Classic.