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Men’s hockey struggles against No. 8 Notre Dame

After two periods knotted in a 1-1 tie, the University of Maine men’s hockey team imploded on themselves the final period, allowing three Notre Dame tallies in the last 10 minutes of the contest to fall to the No. 8 Fighting Irish 4-1 on the road Friday night.

Black Bears fourth-year forward Andrew Tegeler and Notre Dame fourth-year forward Thomas DiPauli traded first period goals before the Fighting Irish notched three goals in a row, one on the power play, to overcome a Black Bears team that was able to hang around for most of the contest.

First-year forward Jack Jenkins broke the 1-1 tie at the 9:38 mark in the third period. On a play that originally began on the power play, Jenkins received a puck at the right dot from second-year forward Jake Evans. Jenkins skated into the slot and sent a backhand shot that found its way through traffic and through the legs of Black Bears redshirt third-year netminder Matt Morris just as the power play concluded. Jenkin’s tally would prove to be the game-winning goal.

During the play, Black Bears first-year defender Keith Muehlbauer would commit a foolish interference penalty that would give the Fighting Irish another power play opportunity on the ensuing puck drop.

Notre Dame’s highly-touted fourth-year left winger Mario Lucia would net a power play goal to extend the Fighting Irish advantage to 3-1. Second-year forward Anders Bjork would find the puck on a broken play in the slot and send a shot that deflected off the post and out into the crease behind Morris as he flashed to the opposite puck. Lucia, known for being in the right place at the right time, clapped the puck on the wide open net to give his team a greater cushion.

Black Bears Head Coach Red Gendron would pull Morris with over three minutes remaining in the contest, allowing DiPauli to notch his second goal of the contest on an empty net with 2:34 remaining in the contest.

Despite the loss, Morris was stellar in net once again for the Black Bears, coming off a weekend series against Providence where in game one, he made a career-high 50 saves. Morris’ numbers weren’t quite as spectacular in game one against Notre Dame, but he still stopped 39 of the 42 pucks he faced in the contest.

Second-year goaltender Cal Petersen saved 21 of 22 in net for the Fighting Irish.

Tegeler’s tally in the first period came on a breakaway opportunity, where he lost control of the puck but had Petersen out of position, and the puck slid untouched through Petersen’s legs and into the back of the net. First-year forward Daniel Perez and second-year defender Mark Hamilton assisted on the play.

Notre Dame stomps Maine 5-1 in game two

The Black Bears didn’t have an answer for Notre Dame on the back end of the weekend series, despite outshooting the Fighting Irish on their home ice. Maine finished the game with a 41-35 edge in shots on net, but could only notch one goal in the contest. The Fighting Irish spread the wealth with five different scorers, completing the sweep with a 5-1 victory. Notre Dame scored the first five goals of the contest before first-year forward Brendan Robbins notched Maine’s lone goal.

From the outset, the game was incredibly physical. Black Bears second-year forward Cedric Lacroix received an unsportsmanlike penalty just 1:22 into the contest. Maine would go on to earn a charging penalty, and both teams would receive roughing penalties before the final horn.

Morris got the start in net for Maine again, but was replaced midway through the third period for first-year goaltender Rob McGovern. McGovern saved all seven shots he faced in the final 12:35 of action. Morris struggled after game one, stopping only 23 of the 28 shots the Fighting Irish sent his way.

Petersen was stout again for Notre Dame, posting a .976 save percentage after stopping 40 of 41 shots.

Evans scored the only goal in the first period for Notre Dame with an assist from third-year defenseman Justin Wade. Evans would finish with three points with one goal and two assists.

Fourth-year wing Sam Herr, second-year center Connor Hurley, first-year wing Dylan Malmquist and Bjork would all tally goals for the Fighting Irish by the 4:37 mark in the final period. Hurley’s goal came on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity after tripping and too many players on the ice penalties for Maine. Bjork notched his second goal of the weekend while the teams skated at 4-on-4.

Maine failed to convert on their only chance on the man advantage. Robbins scored the lone Black Bears goal with under three minutes remaining in the contest, his fourth of the year.

On top of outshooting Notre Dame, the Black Bears edged out Notre Dame in faceoff wins 30-25, but couldn’t make the most of their scoring chances throughout the contest.

After the loss, Morris moves to 6-9-3 in net for Maine on the season while Petersen improves to 18-5-7 between the pipes for Notre Dame.

Maine returns to action next weekend when they play Merrimack in a two-game series at the Alfond Arena for the last time this season. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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