The University of Maine Black Bears remain winless after being swept by Hockey East conference foe UMass Lowell over the weekend. The Black Bears were downed 2-1 on Friday night in Lowell before returning to Orono on Sunday night to be trounced by a score of 6-0. After the weekend, Maine falls to 0-8-3 on the season and 0-4 in Hockey East, one of the worst starts in the history of the program.
River Hawks hang on to 2-1 lead
First-year netminder Rob McGovern received his fifth straight start in net for the Black Bears Friday night, but his 26-save effort was not enough to silence the No. 5 UMass Lowell River Hawks, who held on in the third period to defeat Maine 2-1.
“Points in Hockey East are hard to come by. Whenever you get them you’ve got to be very happy regardless of if it was a perfect game,” River Hawks Head Coach Norm Bazin said. “From our standpoint, a little frustration creeps in, but you’ve got to stick to the process. When you do, good things happen.”
Despite the loss, the Black Bears converted on the power play with the help of fourth-year forward Will Merchant. Power play goals have been hard to come by thus far for Maine.
After two scoreless periods, the River Hawks came alive in the final segment, scoring two goals before the Black Bears response. Third-year defender Michael Kapla found the back of the net near the 10-minute mark. Kapla received a pass in the slot from first-year forward Nick Master, and sent a wrist shot through traffic that beat McGovern between his legs and into the back of the net for a 1-0 River Hawks lead.
UMass Lowell tallied another goal with just 1:01 remaining in the contest on an empty net. Maine pulled McGovern for an extra attacker but the River Hawks were able to beat the Black Bears defense one more time. Third-year forward Joe Gambardella found second-year forward C.J. Smith up ice, who was able to chip the puck in to double the River Hawks advantage.
Maine was able to get on the board with 30 seconds remaining in the contest. Fourth-year captain Steven Swavely made a pass from behind the net first-year defender Rob Michel at the left circle. Michel skipped a quick pass to Merchant at the right circle, and Merchant slapped the puck home to cut the River Hawks lead in half at 2-1.
Maine couldn’t tally another goal in the final 30 seconds of action. UMass Lowell fourth-year goaltender Kevin Boyle played well between the pipes, stopping 28 of 29 shots he faced on the night.
“It was a well-played hockey game. I thought there was enough chances on both sides to be a high scoring game. It was tight, both teams kept their best for the third period,” Bazin said.
Maine outshot the River Hawks 29-28 in the contest, but couldn’t notch goals when they needed it most.
UMass Lowell routs Black Bears 6-0
A season of mishaps and miscues continued for the Maine Black Bears Sunday night, as they fell to the River Hawks in the second game of a weekend series by a score of 6-0. Maine gave up four goals in the opening period, whiffing on a plethora of grade-A opportunities to keep the scoring disparity at a maximum. Maine outshot the River Hawks in the contest 38-33 but couldn’t seem to find the back of the net.
“We made mistakes early and had a million scoring chances that didn’t go in,” Black Bears Head Coach Red Gendron said.
Four goals against in the first period of their home opener wasn’t the start the Black Bears expected.
“That’s not how you want to start by any means,” fourth-year Maine Captain Steven Swavely said.
First-year left winger Ryan Dmowski notched the first River Hawk goal less than two minutes into the contest. Second-year defender Tommy Panico sent a slap shot from the point that deflected off the skate of a Black Bear defender in front of the net. Dmowski found the puck and chipped the puck over the pads of Maine first-year goaltender Rob McGovern for a 1-0 lead.
Second-year forward Michael Louria added the second UMass Lowell tally on a great individual effort. Louria received a pass out from a scrum in his own defensive end before bringing the puck up ice with speed. Louria deked a pair of Black Bear defenders before he backhanded a shot over the stick-side shoulder of McGovern to double the River Hawks lead.
Maine got one of its many scoring opportunities after the Louria goal, but the Black Bears couldn’t capitalize. An errant pass and deflection at mid-ice gave third-year forwards Blaine Byron and Cam Brown a breakaway opportunity on the UMass Lowell net. Byron sent a pass across the face of River Hawks fourth-year netminder Kevin Boyle, but it was too quick for Brown to handle.
“It was a good pass and I couldn’t capitalize. Bottom line, we have to finish off our chances,” Brown said.
“It looks like it’s going to be 2-1, and then it’s 3-0 eight seconds later,” Gendron said. “When we made mistakes, they burned us.”
A River Hawks defender recovered the loose puck after Brown’s misfire and headed up ice, burning the Black Bears in transition. Third-year defender Dylan Zink sent the puck back to second-year defender C.J. Smith who was uncovered at the point, and sent a sniping slap shot to the top right corner of the net for a 3-0 River Hawks lead.
Fourth-year right winger Adam Chapie added the final goal of the period for UMass Lowell.
McGovern was replaced by third-year goaltender Matt Morris after the Chapie goal.
The second period wasn’t much prettier for the Black Bears, though they only gave up one goal. Joe Gambardella saved a clearing attempt in the offensive end, waiting for his team to change lines and return into the zone. Gambardella made a pass to fourth-year wing Ryan McGrath in the slot, who toe-dragged and chipped a puck across the crease to second-year forward Gage Hough, connecting with the puck into a wide open net for a 5-0 advantage.
Maine found the back of the net in the middle period, but the goal was waved off by an early whistle that ended play while members from both teams wrestled in front of the UMass Lowell net.
Louria scored his second goal of the night when he sent a wrist shot off a faceoff in the third period that deflected off Morris’ shoulder into the back of the net, rounding out the River Hawks scoring on the night.
“We’re happy to leave here with points. I think we were the beneficiary of loose pucks tonight. If it wasn’t for bad luck, [Maine] would have no luck at all,” River Hawks Head Coach Norm Bazin said after the game.
With the loss, McGovern moves to 0-6-2 in net for Maine, while Boyle improves to 8-1-2 in the crease for the River Hawks. UMass Lowell moves to 8-1-2 on the season and 4-0-2 in conference action.