Orono, ME- The crowd has returned to the Alfond and on this night the electric, sold-out crowd was treated to quite a show by its hometown team. Maine opend the scoring at 10 minutes, one second of the first period as Devin Shore slid a puck past Sean Maguire on a two on one to give the Black Bears the early lead. With six seconds remaining in the first, Maine made it 2-0 on a 5 on 3 power-play, as Connor Leen found the back of the net. Maine took the 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Maine would take over play mid-way into the second period, as Ben Hutton would score a 5 on 3 shorthanded goal that signified the beginning of the end for BU. Maine would add two more in the second period to give them the commanding 5-0 second intermission lead. Maine added two more in the third period and the Black Bears would pick up the 7-0 win over the Terriers. The margin of defeat was the worst for BU since 1995. Maine improves to 5-4-1, 2-2-1 in Hockey East while BU falls to 4-6-0, 2-3-0.
What I Saw
- Maine controlled the game from the opening face-off ,and it showed on the scoresheet. Maine was the team that was hustling and it won nearly every battle against BU. Maine clearly wanted it more and the fans were in the game for the entirety of the game, which made it difficult on its fragile opponent.
- BU just laid an egg, as it failed to win the necessary puck battles to even be in the game from the get go. It appeared to take some of the momentum away early in the second period, when it drew a 5 on 3 situation. But BU would give up a lazy 5 on 3 shorthanded goal, where two defenders misplayed the puck on Maine’s blue-line and its opponent went down on 2 on 1, which led to a Maine goal. This was absolutely deflating for the Terriers and for the remainder of the period it was dominated by the Black Bears territorially, in shots and on the scoresheet.
- Martin Ouellette had a great performance that will go unnoticed but his play kept BU out of the game for its entirety. But the whole defense in front of him has to be applauded as well. Everything that was even dangerous was immediately cleared but when tested Ouellette was absolutely, downright solid. He has picked up right where he left off last season.
What I Thought
- What a difference a year makes for Maine and its fans. Last year at this time Maine was in an absolute struggle to win and score goals. On this night everything went right and every opportunity they had went into the net. For Maine, the changes are 360 degrees from this date last season.
- For BU, the complete opposite can be said. It looked like a rattled bunch and it failed to possess the puck and get quality opportunities against Martin Ouellette. When it got quality chances, though, Martin Ouellette was up to the task and made some key saves look easy.
- It was nice to see the Maine crowd in the form it was on this night. It was raucous and loud from the opening puck drop. Maine responded to it and it played a bigger role than I think most will write about. I have been to Maine three times and in all honesty this was by far the best I have seen. It lived up to its reputation of being one of the best and it played a significant role in the contest. What Red Gendron has done in such little time with this program has to be applauded and the fans have done nothing but reward him, as it was evident on this night. It seriously is the best home rink advantage in the country, once again.
What They Said
BU Coach David Quinn said,
“As fragile as a group that we are now, to give up the third goal the way we did really demoralized us. I liked a lot of things tonight, more so than against BC but this is going to be a process. It was one of those nights where everything they did found its way in the net.”
“We had a good first period and they had one good shift in the first period, where they found the back of the net. Early in the second period we came out and had some chances in their end. It was just frustrating because I felt we took a step in the right direction in a lot of areas. The 5 on 3 power-play though, they get a goal on the shorthand and we don’t even get a sniff. When your throwing passes into skates and you aren’t alert shooting passes, you are going to struggle on a 5 on 3 and that’s what happened. Them getting a goal changed the whole complexion of the game.”
Maine coach Red Gendron said,
“I expect the very best out of my players every single shift but we as a staff expect compete, we expect work habits and we expect it every shift, every period and every game for the entirety of the season. When I see that I am not getting that from a player, he hears about it immediately and if it goes on for too long they take a seat next to me and rest, that’s how it works.
“The first period was even except that we got two goals. But we won our share of puck battles.”
“When our fans can see us working and leaving it all on the ice like we did tonight they are going to get excited. Provided we can continue we will be just fine. We talked about our identity before the game: Hard working, puck pursuit and all of that and winning puck battles is who we are. We need to sty that way until our last game.”
Maine defenseman Ben Hutton said,
“It was a big 5 on 3 shorthanded goal, and obviously no one looks to score on a 5 on 3 kill. We were looking to kill it and get back on the offense but I was lucky enough to squeak on through their goalie. It was a huge momentum change for us.”
Maine assistant captain Devin Shore said,
“No question that it’s a lot more fun when you are on the winning side of game’s like these”
What Else You Should Know
Maine will play Boston College next Saturday night at the Alfond Arena. If tonight is any indication it will be packed and raucous once more. When the building is hopping, Maine feeds off it and looks practically unstoppable. BC though will be a formidable opponent for the Black Bears and many of the deficiencies they saw from BC’s Comm Ave rival will not be present from the Eagles.
BU will play a home game against Connecticut on Sunday and will look to bounce back from a dreadful performance. BU needs to get back to basics and actually win some puck battles, but the friendly confines of Agganis Arena should be a welcome sight for them.