The University of Maine men’s ice hockey continued their hot streak of in-conference success on Friday when they went to Chestnut Hill, MA to take on Boston College at the Conte Forum.
UMaine entered the contest looking to move to .500 on the season, at 12-13-2. Boston College held a slim one-point lead over Maine for seventh place in the Hockey East standings, meaning the winner of the game would be in seventh place at the end of the night.
Maine had struggled on the road throughout the season and were looking to change the narrative that their 3-9-1 road record portrayed.
It was a fast start for the Black Bears as red-hot third-year forward Lynden Breen buried his team-leading 15th goal of the season just over five minutes into the first period.
First-year forward Thomas Freel and third-year forward Donovan Villenueve-Houle were credited with assists on a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play that gave Breen a shot at the open net.
The fun didn’t stop for the Black Bears, as fourth-year forward Didrik Henbrant made use of a strong breakout pass by second-year forward Nolan Renwick to score a shorthanded goal on a breakaway. This marked Maine’s sixth shorthanded goal on the season, good for fourth in the NCAA.
After scoring twice in the first, UMaine began to park the bus, as their defense and third-year goaltender Victor Ostman did not allow a goal until late in the third period. Third-year forward Trevor Kuntar kept the Eagles’ hopes alive as he exploited a rare hole in the Maine defense to get an unimpeded shot at Ostman.
With three massive conference points still up in the air, Boston College decided to pull their goaltender late in the third period. They managed to apply some pressure on the forecheck, before Donovan Houle was able to find the empty net, scoring an athletic goal on one knee as a Boston College defender took his legs out from under him with his stick.
The game ended shortly after, with the final score of 3-1. This victory put Maine ahead of Boston College in the Hockey East standings and brought the Black Bears back to .500 overall on the season.
Ostman continued a great campaign, allowing one goal and making 31 saves. The Black Bears’ penalty kill unit proved to be a difference-maker again, as the Eagles went 0-4 on the power play.
By percentage, Maine’s penalty kill is 13th in the nation, as they’ve been able to prevent power-play goals 83% of the time.
It has been a great stretch of games for the Black Bears, as they are 7-4 since the start of the new year. They will be on the road next week to face the University of New Hampshire, before returning to the Alfond to finish out the year with a stretch of four home games, including a doubleheader rematch with Boston College.
Maine looks to make a statement to finish the season after being the sole team to miss the Hockey East playoffs last year.