Maine’s 2014-15 season came to a conclusion this past weekend as the Black Bears fell to Vermont two games to one. Here’s how it sounded over WMEB 91.9 FM.
Game one, Friday March 6, 2015
Vermont W 4-2
Game two, Saturday March 7, 2015
Maine W 4-2
Game three, Sunday March 8, 2015
Vermont W 3-2 OT
In my four years of college, I’ve been to 56 games at the Alfond as a fan and broadcaster. I’ve been witnessed it all, close games, blowouts, classics, and heartbreakers . As my four seasons as an undergrad came to an end last weekend, I wanted to compile a list of what I view as my top 10 games of my time here in Orono.
Maine vs. New Hampshire, January 23, 2015
Maine won 6-4
It was hard to limit my list to 10, so as an honorable mention I start the list with a game from the Border War. In this game it was a battle that was back and fourth, that had many on the edge of their seat. It started out with a goal by Swavely just 47 seconds in, but what followed made the game memorable. UNH would score three unanswered goals in the first, but that wouldn’t phase Maine as they managed to tally one before the end of the period. They’d score three unanswered goals of their own, and then both sides exchanged goals to make the final of 6-4.
Anytime you beat your rival it’s a big win, in this case for the Black Bears it was a great victory at the Alfond. But just based on some of the other contenders, this one was just outside the top 10.
(10) Maine vs. #17 Boston College, January 18, 2015
Maine won 4-2
Anytime BC comes up to the Alfond, you know it’s gonna be a great game, this game was no exception. It was a game that was evenly matched, first period neither team could score and both sides had 10 shots on net. Maine finally broke through with a pair of goals from Jake Rutt and Liam Pecararo in the second period. The Eagles would make it interesting, but every time BC came close Maine found a response, with Shore and Lacroix scoring goals in the third to give the Black Bears a 4-2 victory.
This was a big win on the season, as this was the best opponent Maine has beaten in the 2014-15 season. Especially after the deflating effort two days prior against Umass-Lowell, this result came as a bit of a shock. Maine kept battling for 60 minutes and their effort showed as they played one of their best games of the season.
(9) Maine vs. Boston University, November 15, 2013
Maine won 7-0
Maine got off to an early lead and didn’t look back as Marty got the shutout. Maine got a pair of goals in the first to make it 2-0 after 20 minutes. But then after a pair of Maine penalties, BU had a 5-on-3 powerplay halfway through the period. Maine would turn their luck as a turnover at the point which led to Ben Hutton on the breakaway where his shot would trickle through the padding of O’Connor to make it 3-0. From there Maine would run away with it as they’d get goals from Blaine Byron, Brian Morgan (2), and Bill Norman. Martin Ouellette would stop all 34 shots faced in his shutout performance.
The only blowout you’ll find on this list, this game was as I view it, an exorcism of all the demons of prior BU games in my time. Watching Maine lose twice and “tie” to the Terriers was tough to watch. The only thing that could’ve made this any better would be Jack Parker behind the bench of this beatdown. It was the moment in the season when we started to believe in Maine, as they didn’t have an impressive win on the résumé to that point. While this was a weak BU team, the fact is this is the only time Maine beat the Terriers at the Alfond in my four years.
(8) Maine vs. New Hampshire, January 25, 2014
Maine won 4-2
Anytime Maine and UNH square off, it’s a battle, and this game was one of their best in recent memory. In another annual installment of the Border War, the game got off to a quick start with both sides exchanging goals in the first seven minutes. The Wildcats would take the lead on a goal late in the second to make it 2-1 UNH headed into the third. Maine wouldn’t let that affect them as they managed to tie it up early in the third. Then halfway through the period Nick Sorkin had the puck at the point [of the UNH zone], Devin Shore swoops in and picks his pocket, then finds Ryan Lomberg on the faceoff dot and scores the game-winner on a one-timer. Brian Morgan would score an empty-netter to seal it.
This game’s significance goes beyond the ice sheet, as the team was still reeling from the season-ending injury to Stu Higgins earlier that week in an exhibition game. Nobody knew what the impact would be down the road, but for that night Maine won a big conference game on their home-ice. This game was the best Maine-UNH game in my four years at Orono.
(7) Maine vs. Umass, October 31 & November 1, 2014
Maine won 6-5 OT & 3-2
One of the only times you’re gonna see a whole series lumped into one, because both games were classics. Night one was a shootout, that unfortunately saw Maine blow two leads at 3-0 & 5-3. But at the end of it all, Maine would finish the job as Devin Shore fed Brian Morgan in the faceoff dot, and Morgan’s shot managed to trickle through the padding of Henry Dill to win it in overtime. The next night saw the Black Bears with a comeback of their own including the game-winner with Blaine Byron completing the sweep. The play started with Riley’s shot from the point which was saved, the puck went to the corner where Byron collected it and threw it on net, the puck managed to bounce off Mastalerz and go into the net to give Maine the lead with 1:23 left to go in the third period.
As one of the high points of the 2014-15 season, this series was two classics rolled into one, an overtime winner and a third period comeback. While this would be the last time Maine won a game for a month-and-a-half, it was a big win, they got off to a 2-0 start in conference play and with the way Maine’s season has unfolded, every point has meant now more than ever.
(6) Maine vs. Alabama-Huntsville, February 3, 2012
Maine won 4-3 OT
In a game that nobody expected going in, this game became a classic solely based on the results, otherwise Maine defeating a 2-24-1 is not a top game. But as a freshman that was coming off the high of the BC sweep at home two weeks prior, there’s was anticipation in the air for a potential run. Going into this I was like this is gonna be a cake walk, I read about how they were on the verge of dropping the hockey team, and that it was gonna be an offensive showcase for Maine, boy was I wrong.
The Chargers came out battling, and halfway through the first period, Alabama struck first. They’d pile on in the second with a pair of goals to put a strangle hold on the Black Bears leading 3-0 after two periods. Maine would slowly get back into the game, first Matt Mangene scores two minutes in to cut it within two, then Andrew Cerretani managed to sneak one by the net minder to make it a 3-2 game. Then with 45 seconds left, Hobey Baker finalist Spencer Abbott scored on a rebound to tie it up. Maine wouldn’t take long to pull away in overtime as freshman Stu Higgins buried the puck on an open net to seal the victory in overtime.
Despite this being a game should’ve won by a larger margin, which they would do the next night. The game was an instant classic as there’s only been a handful of time the Black Bears have comeback from a three-goal deficit. For what it was, the game itself is a classic that to this day I still remember being in the stands when Higgins scored the game-winner. It was the next step towards Maine’s eventual tourney run that season.
(5) Maine vs. Merrimack, March 8, 2014
Maine won 2-0
A playoff game can instantly raise the level of greatness for said game. This game was one of them, between two teams that had duked it out at the Alfond three weeks prior, this game was expected to be a tough one that would have people on the edge of their seat. This game certainly wouldn’t disappoint as it’s my fifth best game of my time at Orono.
Maine got on the board early as Mark Anthoine scored just two minutes in on a backhand that went top shelf over Tirronen. From there it was back and forth that had the fans, as well as some certain broadcasters on the edge of their seats as it was a nail biter. Marty came up with his biggest save with just over a minute left as Shore’s turnover in the defensive zone led to a breakaway for Hampus Gustafsson. Shore would redeem himself as he outraced his defender to prevent the icing and manage to throw the puck on net to score an empty net goal to seal it.
This game had elements of an instant classic, the playoff game just added to it. With the season hanging in the balance, Maine did what they needed to do to escape. The last time Maine played at the Alfond in the 2013-14 season, they went out in style.
(4) Maine vs. Boston University, February 16, 2013
Maine lost 5-4 OT
The only loss on this list, and man was it a heartbreaker of a loss. But truly a classic for the ages as Maine came back from a three-goal deficit to tie it up with, then to lose with 3.8 seconds left in overtime. It was heartbreaking that I still think about how Maine lost it in the last possible moment.
Maine got off to a good start as Ryan Lomberg netted a powerplay goal (a rarity in that season) to make it 1-0 Maine. Then BU came storming back with four unanswered goals, the fourth just over a minute into the third period to make it 4-1 Terriers. From there Maine slowly crawled their way back as series of intricate passing found Joey Diamond on an open angle to close the deficit to two. Then on the rush, Riley threw the puck on net and Shore was camped out in the crease and buried the puck to make it 4-3. Then with goalie pulled, and only 44 seconds left, Jake Rutt’s shot from the point gets tipped in front by Steven Swavely to tie it up with 39.9 seconds left in regulation. Maine and BU would go back in forth in overtime before Maine’s final rush came to an abrupt halt as Nemec’s attempt to dump the puck hit a stanchion and led to an odd-man rush for BU on a 2-on-0 as Evan Rodrigues fed Matt Nieto to win the game with 3.8 seconds left in overtime.
As heartbreaking as a loss is like this, it doesn’t take away from the fact this was one of the best games I saw in Orono. Unfortunately not all the classics will go in your favor, and this one hurt. But it was a classic where in a ten minute period Maine fans went from pure elation to heartbreaker. Can’t take away the fact the team battled back despite facing such a large deficit.
(3) Maine vs. Merrimack, February 15, 2014
Maine won 3-2
A late goal with less than 30 seconds left as Leen lifted Maine in another close battle between Maine and Merrimack. While it was a foreshadow of what lied ahead as the Black Bears struggled against one of the worst teams in Hockey East that season, but no one can argue it wasn’t a great game.
Maine and Merrimack in a low-scoring battle, was a classic battle that took late-game heroics to win the game. Ben Hutton got the scoring started in the first, then Merrimack and Maine exchanged goals in the second to make it 2-1 Black Bears headed into the third. A series of bad penalties led to a 5-on-3 powerplay goal for Merrimack to tie it up with 8:41 to go in the game. Maine would get outshot 14-7 in the third as Merrimack imposed their will on the Black Bears. Then late in the period, an initial shot went wide of Tirronen, then Cam Brown found Devin Shore who ripped a slapshot from the faceoff dot and Connor Leen managed to get a piece of it to give the Black Bears the lead with 28.3 seconds left to give the Maine the lead and victory.
This game was a nail biter, and having a late goal with less than 30 seconds made this a classic moment. Despite it being a close game against a bad team, the fact is the game had a moment that made it an instant classic. One of the final good memories of the 2013-14 season, Maine battled to the final whistle and finished what they started. Beating a team that’s considered somewhat of a rival always makes a game better.
(2) Maine vs. Merrimack, March, 11, 2012
Maine won 2-1 in Game 3 of the HE Quarterfinals
#2 on this list belongs to the home playoff game, while it was a low scoring affair, the game’s importance in both the season as well as recent history makes it a top game. In game 3 of the Hockey East Quarterfinals, the Black Bears were looking to advance to the Garden for the Hockey East championship.
Maine got on the board first as Spencer Abbott notched a goal over halfway through the first to make it 1-0. Brice O’Connor would score the game winner three minutes into the second, and Merrimack would get one but nothing else. This game is infamously known for the Spencer Abbott “embellishment” penalty in the second period, as tempers from the prior night heated over into game 3. With a 1:40 left, a faceoff in front of the Maine penalty box (foreshadow to what happened next), Abbott was standing on the wing while Merrimack sticks were trying to whack Abbott. It boiled over both men were issued minor penalties, then a few others were assessed for penalties totaling seven penalties in this sequence. In the end Maine held on to win the game 2-1 and move onto the next round.
It being the Hockey East Quarterfinals at the Alfond, something sadly I’ve only gotten to experience once, this game is a classic. Regardless of how this game draws ire due to the penalties described in the last paragraph, doesn’t detract from the fact Maine won an important game that went towards the Maine’s eventual NCAA tournament bid. This game also proves what I’ve said on our talk shows over the last few years, Maine can’t advance in the Hockey East tournament unless they’re at home in the Hockey East quarterfinals. Since this series, Maine has lost both Hockey East quarterfinals series in sweeps, thus the importance of home-ice for the Maine Black Bears.
(1) Maine vs. Boston College, January 20-21, 2012
Maine won 4-3 OT & 7-4
Both games were so amazing, it was hard to separate them, so I put them together for #1 on my list. When you have the #3 Boston College Eagles, it brings a level of excitement back to the Alfond, as attendance averaged 100 under capacity at the Alfond for both games. Both games were back-and-forth before Maine coming out on top.
Night one saw Boston College score first, but Maine responded minutes later as Adam Shemansky threw it on net from the far board. Then in the second Maine took the lead as Kyle Beattie threw a wristshot on net to make it 2-1. However the Eagles scored late in the second to tie it up, then would reclaim the lead few minutes into the third to make it 3-2 Eagles. Then late in the third on the powerplay, Brian Flynn’s pass hit off a defender and Joey Diamond before finding Adam Shemansky in the crease as he buried the equalizer. Maine would dominate the play from there on as Adam Shemansky almost put the game away in the final minute of regulation. Then in overtime, a turnover in the neutral zone proved costly for BC, as Mark Nemec broke up a pass and Anthoine took the puck into the offensive zone then left it for Matt Mangene who teed off a slapshot that went top shelf over Chris Venti to win it in overtime 4-3. It was a magical night with a tying goal late, it was Maine’s first win against a quality opponent I got to see live.
Night two was less than 24 hours later as it as a 4pm game on NESN, which much anticipation and excitement in the air, especially after the results from the night, the game was about 27 seats away from a sellout. The game was an offensive showcase that didn’t disappoint … well unless you’re a BC fan. The Eagles got a pair of goals in the first four-and-a-half minutes to make it 2-0. Maine would counter as Joey Diamond and Brian Flynn both tallied powerplay goals 2:31 apart from each other late in the first. Matt Mangene would pot a pair of goals in the second, on both the powerplay and penalty kill, to make it 4-2 Maine. But the Eagles wouldn’t go away quietly as they scored a goal in both the second and third to tie it up once again. Then with three minutes left in the third, Jon Swavely broke up a pass and Connor Leen took the puck and skated all the way to the offensive zone. His initial shot was saved by Maine native Brian Billett, but the rebound took a bounce in the air and Leen batted it out of the air to give the Black Bears the lead. In addition that was Leen’s first collegiate point, his only point of the 2011-12 season. Maine would get a pair of goals as Joey Diamond would throw one from the defensive zone and then Matt Mangene would net one for the hat trick as Maine would win this one 7-4.
As magical as watching Maine win a playoff game was, this weekend had so much magic, that it happened twice in a weekend. Going in I was cautiously optimistic, but Maine completely surpassed the expectations I had, and began their run towards the NCAA tournament that would follow later that season.
Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite Maine Black Bear hockey game(s)
Maine’s season came to a close as Vermont won in overtime 3-2. Here’s what Red and company had to say:
Maine defeated Vermont 4-2 in Game 2 of their Hockey East Opening Round series last night, here’s what the coaches had to say after the game:
Both sides will conclude their series Sunday night for Game 3
Vermont took game one of the Hockey East opening round against Maine, here’s what coaches and players had to say
Kevin Sneddon, Vermont HC
The (10) Maine Black Bears begin their quest for the Hockey East Championship at Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, VT as they face the (7) Vermont Catamounts, here’s how they stack up by the numbers.
Maine: 8-12-2 Hockey East, 13-20-3 Overall, 10th place, 18 HE pts.
UVM: 10-9-3 Hockey East, 18-12-4 Overall, 7th place, 23 HE pts.
Maine: 5-9-1 on the road, 9-9-2 at Gutterson Fieldhouse
UVM: 9-5-2 at home
Maine: 2-3-0 in last 5 games, streak: L2
UVM: 1-2-2 in last 5 games, streak: T1
Maine: USCHO (NR), PWR (42t), RPI (43)
UVM: USCHO (17th), PWR (19t), RPI (18)
Vermont won 4-0-0
Game 1: Vermont 4-3 OT (@UVM)
Game 2: Vermont 4-1 (@UVM)
Game 3: Vermont 6-3 (@Maine)
Game 4: Vermont 4-1 (@Maine)
Vermont leads series 23-21-4
Maine at home vs. UVM: 7-12-2
Maine on the Road vs. UVM: 9-9-2
Maine on Neutral vs. UVM: 5-2-1
Vermont has won last 7 meetings
Sean Romeo, Fr, 21 GP/19 starts, 6-12-1, 3.14 GAA, .902 SV%
Matt Morris, R-So, 19 GP/17 starts, 7-8-2, 2.98 GAA, .905 SV%
Mike Santaguida, So, 21 GP/17 starts, 7-7-2, 1.84 GAA, .930 SV%
Brody Hoffman, Jr, 18 GP/17 starts, 11-5-2, 2.27 GAA, .909 SV%
Maine: Devin Shore, Jr, F (36 GP, 13-21-34)
UVM: Mike Paliotta, Sr, D (34 GP, 9-22-31)
Leading Goal Scorer
Maine: Devin Shore, Jr, F (36 GP, 13 Goals)
UVM: Brady Shaw, So, F (31 GP, 14 Goals)
Maine: Nolan Vesey, Fr, F (33 GP, 3 PP goals)
UVM: Brady Shaw, So, F (31 GP, 6 PP goals)
Maine: 27t/59 in the nation, 9/12 in Hockey East (2.78 G/GM)
UVM: 29t/59 in the nation, 10/12 in Hockey East (2.76 G/GM)
Maine: 51/59 in the nation, 11/12 in Hockey East (3.28 GAA)
UVM: 10/59 in the nation, 2/12 in Hockey East (2.18 GAA)
Maine: 47/59 in the nation, 11/12 in Hockey East (18/132, 13.6%)
UVM: 18/59 in the nation, 3/12 in Hockey East (26/133, 19.5%)
Maine: 26t/59 in the nation, 6/12 in Hockey East (84.1%)
UVM: 8t/59 in the nation, 2/12 in Hockey East (87.8%)
Maine: x/59 in the nation, 6/12 in Hockey East (11.1 PIM/GM)
UVM: x/59 in the nation, 11/12 in Hockey East (8.7 PIM/GM)
Maine: 8-10-2 Hockey East, 13-18-3 Overall, 8th place, 18 HE pts.
PC: 11-8-1 Hockey East, 19-11-2 Overall, t-3rd place, 23 HE pts.
Maine: 5-7-1 on the road, 23-25-3 at Schneider Arena
PC: 10-4-0 at home
Maine: 3-2-0 in last 5 games, streak: W1
PC: 3-1-1 in last 5 games, streak: L1
Maine: USCHO (NR), Pairwise #40t, RPI #42
PC: USCHO #13, Pairwise #11t, RPI #12
Providence won 4-0-0
Game 1: Providence 4-2, Alfond Arena
Game 2: Providence 3-2, Alfond Arena
Game 3: Providence 3-1, Schneider Arena*
Game 4: Providence 4-2, Schneider Arena*
* – Hockey East Quarterfinals
Maine leads series 64-44-7
Played in 1989 NCAA Quarterfinals, Maine won series 2-1
Played in 1996 Hockey East Championship, Providence won 3-2
Matt Morris, R-So, 18 GP/16 starts, 7-7-2, 2.86 GAA, .907 SV%
Sean Romeo, Fr, 20 GP/18 starts, 6-11-1, 3.04 GAA, .903 SV%
Jon Gillies, Jr, 30 GP/30 starts, 17-11-2, 2.00 GAA, .931 SV%
Nick Ellis, So, 5 GP/2 starts, 2-0-0, 2.22 GAA, .910 SV%
Maine: Devin Shore, Jr, F (34 GP, 13-20-33)
PC: Nick Saracino, Jr, F (31 GP, 10-19-29)
Leading Goal Scorer
Maine: Devin Shore, Jr, F (34 GP, 13 Goals)
PC: Trevor Mingoia, Jr, F (32 GP, 13 Goals)
Maine: Nolan Vesey, Fr, F (31 GP, 3 PP goals)
PC: Trevor Mingoia, Jr, F (32 GP, 6 PP goals)
Maine: 29/59 in the nation, 9/12 in Hockey East (2.82 G/GM)
PC: 30t/59 in the nation, 10/12 in Hockey East (2.81 G/GM)
Maine: 45/59 in the nation, 11/12 in Hockey East (3.18 G/GM)
PC: 6/59 in the nation, 1/12 in Hockey East (2.03 G/GM)
Maine: 49/59 in the nation, 11/12 in Hockey East (17/126, 13.5%)
PC: 43/59 in the nation, 10/12 in Hockey East (22/152, 14.5%)
Maine: 27/59 in the nation, 5/12 in Hockey East (84%)
PC: 17t/59 in the nation, 4/12 in Hockey East (85.6%)
Maine: 37/59 in the nation, 6/12 in Hockey East (10.7 PIM/G)
PC: 42/59 in the nation, 8/12 in Hockey East (10.3 PIM/G)
On this week’s edition of Unsportsmanlike Conduct we talked about the following:
Maine Hockey: 0:00
Red Sox: 36:23
Maine WBB & SN Polls: 1:21:50
Maine and Northeastern split senior weekend at Alfond Arena, here’s how both games sounded on WMEB 91.9 FM