Orono, ME. – Maine needed a rebound game after the disappointment last night, instead they managed a tie against a team that was handled by Boston College 6-0 on Saturday night. New Brunswick drew first blood at the seven minute mark of the first period as Cam Critchlow sniped one past Maine goaltender, Martin Ouellette. Maine would score the equalizer seven minutes later as Beattie took a pass from Devin Shore and buried it past the Varsity Reds netminder to tie the game at one.
The second period was controlled territorially by Maine but was an evenly played period by both teams. Devin Shore gave the Black Bears a 2-1 lead 1:11 into the second and the lead would stand for 20 minutes. Chad Denny would score for the Reds two minutes into the third to tie the game and that’s where the game would end, not without a little drama at the end. At the end of the overtime it appeared that the Varsity Reds had scored but it came 0.2 seconds after the final horn and thus the game ended in a draw.
What I Saw
-Maine came out flat early in the opening period as New Brunswick took it to them physically. New Brunswick scored a goal amidst the pressure early in the first. Maine would rebound after the New Brunswick goal, but whenever Maine got ahead it seemed as though the Varsity Reds would jump back into the game. The game saw an unusually high number of odd man rushes, but Maine never could bury the puck when they had a chance.
-Maine’s power-play again struggled in the contest. Maine usually has one of the top power-plays in Hockey East and it has looked awful in their first two games. Power-plays usually struggle early in the season because of a lack of organized practice. Teams are allowed to start full practices on October 6th but the power-play will have to be a working point going into next weekend for the Black Bears.
-In one positive note on the weekend, Maine got consistent goaltending from all three goalies that played. Freshman Matt Morris saw his first action on Sunday night, making 13 of 14 saves against the Varsity Reds. Dan Ouellette also saw action for Maine and made 14 out of 15 saves.
What I thought
Maine was a rattled team after last night’s defeat and it showed early in the first period. In terms of downright skill and speed, Maine was the better of the two teams. As the game wore on Maine used this skill to take advantage of New Brunswick with odd man rushes but could never bury these opportunities. Despite lacking on the power-play, Maine was able to show their skill in 5 on 5 play.
Skill and goal scoring don’t always go hand in hand. Maine again struggled to put away many glorious scoring chances that would have put New Brunswick away in the second period. When New Brunswick scored the equalizer the game was destined to end a draw, in which it did.
Devin Shore, a freshman winger, is getting all the opportunity in the world as he is playing on Maine’s top line with Joey Diamond and Kyle Beattie. His play in this game was fantastic and it will be interesting to see where his performance will go as he further acclimates to the speed. Based on what was seen in this game and on Saturday night he could be the guy that steps up next to Diamond to become an elite player at Maine. In this game Shore was a participant on both Maine goals, scoring one and assisting on the other.
What They Said
Nick Pryor said: “The Effort was there for us tonight. I thought that we did a lot of good things tonight. We bounced back after last night and we came back strong tonight. Its early in the year for the power-play, we did struggle but I think we will do some good things on the power-play this year.”
Freshman forward Devin Shore said: “It is going to be a lot of fun for four years here, the fans are great. I just want to do my best and I like the role I am in this year being up with two great players (Diamond and Beattie). I am thankful for the opportunities that I am getting early in the year and am slowly adjusting to how much quicker the game is.”
Maine Coach Tim Whitehead said: “When you look at the two games this weekend I think it will really help us down the road. Tonight’s game was a really hard fought game. Tonight I felt we were much more thorough. We had good discipline tonight and we are going to have to find tune the power-play going into next weekend.”
What They Didn’t Say
The teams played the overtime at four on four. CIS schools have played four on four overtimes for sometime, which showed as they took the play to Maine in the overtime. Whitehead is a proponent of four on four hockey and having this opportunity to play at four on four had to be something that he enjoyed seeing.
What Else You Should Know
Maine needs to find scoring and needs to find it fast. Maine has had a bunch of chances in the first two games but has failed to capitalize. Maine will participate in the Icebreaker next weekend in Kansas City. They begin against Notre Dame and could be at serious risk of going 0-2. The Irish were ranked 10th in the CHN preseason poll. Unless Maine can find some scoring it could be a long weekend.