Portland, Maine- The first period was evenly played as Mercyhurst and Maine traded goals. Mercyhurst would score the first goal at three minutes, two seconds of the period on the power-play, as Nick Jones would take a point shot and Paul Chiasson would get the tip. Maine would score the second goal of the period as Steven Swavely won a faceoff right back to Joey Diamond and Diamond ripped one past the Laker goaltender, Jordan Tibbett to send the game into the first intermission knotted up at one apiece. The second period was a stalemate where neither team scored a goal to send the game into the third period tied at one.
In the third period Maine would score the only goal on the power-play as Kyle Beattie passed from the right corner to Ryan Lomberg, and Lomberg buried it to make it 2-1. Maine would hold on to that lead and defeat the Lakers, 2-1. Maine improves to 5-11-2 on the season and wins their third game in a row, while Mercyhurst falls to 8-7-1.
What I Saw
- The Mercyhurst power-play came as advertised. An early power-play for the Lakers, on a Maine too many men on the ice call, gave them an early opportunity to showcase the power-play, in which they did. Mercyhurst controlled the puck for most of the power-play and eventually scored to take a 1-0 lead. The movement was great and getting in front of the net for the tip by Chiasson was what good power-plays do.The Lakers sat in sixth place nationally scoring at a rate of 23.1 percent entering tonight’s contest.
- Joey Diamond scored the first goal for Maine and his absence from the scoresheet has been one of the major reasons why Maine has fallen so far this season. On this night though, he looked like a different player coming off an injury. For much of the night he was the best player on the ice. He was physical, smart and his rip on the first goal gave Maine glimpses into what they saw from him last year. If he can go on a tear Maine will be instantly improved.
What I thought
- Maine continued its struggle to score. Despite scoring six against Cornell last weekend at the Florida College Classic, it seemed as though they picked up right where they left off the first half. Maine entered the game last in offense in Hockey East, scoring only 1.59 per game, and despite having many opportunities throughout they were never able to bury them like good teams should. The 1.59 goals per game is .6 goals less than any other Hockey East team, and if they truly want to back up their performance last week at the Florida College Classic, they will have to start scoring at a higher rate. If not it could be another long semester for the storied program.
- Mercyhurst received a good performance from goaltender, Jordan Tibbett, but it got wasted as the Lakers were unable to get anything going on the offensive side of the ice. The Lakers did have many great chances, like Maine did, but they were unable to bury them throughout the game. For a team that has scored at a clip of 3.13 per game they struggled to just get anything going against the Black Bears. Maine has struggled at times defensively this season, but they controlled play and Mercyhurst struggled to bury their opportunities.
What They Said
Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin said,
“I thought it was a good college hockey game. Maine is Maine and they are good team. We knew that they would be good and they didn’t disappoint. We had some chances and we didn’t capitalize. If you let a Hockey East team like Maine hang around and give them a few power-plays bad things are going to happen.”
“Both goaltenders gave their team a chance. At the end of the game Maine took advantage of their chance. Jordan gave us a chance tonight and I think that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
Mercyhurst goaltender Jordan Tibbett said,
“It was a battle at the end. It was a fun game but unfortunately we didn’t come out on the right end of it. I thought we played good tonight, we just hope to have a better outcome tomorrow night.”
Maine Coach Tim Whitehead said,
“They are a good team that are skilled and very well balanced. We knew we were going to have our hands full and we did. Joey Diamond said after the game that this would have been a game we would have either tied or lost at the beginning of the year. We are learning how to win now. We aren’t where we need to be right now but we are showing progress because we are finding ways to win.”
“Both goalies were great tonight and that save Marty made at the end going across was fabulous.”
“It is a little of everything going right for us right now. We are building confidence and belief in each other We are a young team and it has taken some time to develop our confidence. Key saves and key goals at the right times, and its great to see the key situations working our right now.”
Maine forward Kyle Beattie said,
“We are on a little roll right now with our confidence and they came out and gave us a good. We had a good feeling that we were going to win the whole time and battled it out to get the win. Some huge saves by Marty really gave us the chance to win this one.”
What Else You Should Know
Maine and Mercyhurst will play tomorrow night up at Alfond Arena in Orono Maine. The Black Bears play one game a year in the biggest city in the state of Maine. The win was Maine’s first home win of the year, but are still winless at the famed Alfond Arena.
Maine freshman forward Ryan Lomberg scored again tonight. He has now potted a goal in the last three games, after going without for the whole first half of the season.