The first Hockey East victory of the season was earned and a rare power-play goal was scored over the weekend as the University of Maine men’s ice hockey team was able to split their weekend series with the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
UMaine freshman defenseman Ben Hutton was assisted by freshman forward Devin Shore and sophomore forward Connor Leen on a power-play goal that was UMaine’s only goal in Friday night’s 2-1 loss, while freshman defenseman Kyle Williams scored the game-winning goal for the Black Bears Saturday night in a 4-3 victory.
UMass-Lowell junior defenseman Chad Ruhwedel was called for roughing 19 minutes into the first period on Friday night to set up a UMaine power play. The Black Bears had been 1-44 on their previous power-play opportunities, but with 5 seconds left to play in the first period, Hutton was able to fire a shot past River Hawk junior goaltender Doug Carr to put the Black Bears up 1-0.
Carr was able to save 24 of 25 shots on the night as UMaine was unable to score again in this contest. UMaine junior goaltender Martin Ouellette was awarded the start Friday, as UMaine has struggled to find a consistent starting goaltender all season. Ouellette saved 23 of 25 shots for the Black Bears.
The River Hawks were able to even the score just over 4 minutes into the second period, as senior forward Riley Wetmore scored with the assist coming from junior forward Derek Arnold and freshman forward AJ White.
Ruhwedel made up for his earlier penalty 3 minutes later when he and junior forward Joseph Pendenza assisted junior forward Josh Holmstrom in scoring the game winning goal.
UMaine pulled Ouellette for the final minute of the game, but the River Hawks were able to fend off the 6-on-5 and come away with the 2-1 victory.
Ouellette received the start once again on Saturday night in a game that featured more penalties called than the previous night: UMaine was called for seven penalties for a total of 25 minutes as compared to three penalties for 6 minutes the night before and a disqualification was called on junior defenseman Brice O’Connor on a contact to the head penalty in the third period.
Both UMaine and UMass-Lowell took advantage of special teams opportunities as the River Hawks scored on a power play and the Black Bears were able to score, short-handed.
The River Hawks started the scoring in the same way the Black Bears did the night before with a power-play goal in the first period. Ouellette was called for hooking 8:30 into the first period, and sophomore forward Connor Leen served the time in the box. Arnold scored for the River Hawks midway through the first period after being assisted by Ruhwedel and Pendenza.
When senior defenseman Mark Nemec went into the box for interference less than 30 seconds later, it looked as if UMass-Lowell had another chance to extend the lead on the power play. UMaine however was able to score themselves with only four skaters on the ice as Leen was assisted by senior defenseman Mike Cornell with 13 minutes gone by in the first period.
After many opportunities in previous games to score a goal, most notably in the season opener against Quinnipiac University when he missed an open net shot, senior forward Adam Shemansky scored his first goal of the season to give the Black Bears the 2-1 lead late into the first period.
UMaine was able to extend their lead again when freshman forward Devin Shore was able to pick up his first goal of the year after being assisted by O’Connor and freshman forward Ryan Lomberg 8:40 into the second period to give the Black Bears a 3-1 lead.
The River Hawks got back to within one goal 3 minutes later as Wetmore scored unassisted to put the score at 3-2, and tied it up with 30 seconds to play in the second period when White assisted Pendenza on a goal.
UMaine took the lead for good midway through the third period when Williams put one past Carr to take a 4-3 lead. The Black Bears were able to hold off the River Hawks for the rest of the game and survive the disqualification on O’Connor as well as a 30 second 6-on-5 when UMass-Lowell pulled Carr from the game, giving the Black Bears their first victory since Oct. 12.
This weekend’s results gives UMaine their first points in the Hockey East standings and moves their record to 2-9-0 and1-5-0 Hockey East. The Black Bears still remain in last place in Hockey East with two points, while UMass-Lowell retains their second-to-last place standing of three points after the weekend with their record moving to 2-4-1 and 1-3-1 Hockey East.
The Black Bears will attempt to win their first home game Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Alfond Area, as they face the 3-4-0 — 2-4-0 Hockey East — University of Massachusetts Minutemen.