ORONO, Maine — In the nightcap of the Black Bear Classic Friday, Maine’s Matthias Trattnig notched an unassisted goal early in the second period and the Black Bears rode the hot goaltending of junior Mike Morrison to victory over the U.S. Developmental Team.
Maine scored once in every period as Morrison (17 saves) stood tall in net as the Black Bears skated past a talented U.S. team, 3-1.
“They’re a good team,” said Black Bear captain Doug Janik. “It’s the best young players in the country and they come at you.”
In a choppy contest stalled by frequent penalties, it seemed only fitting that Maine should break the ice on the power play.
With U.S. center Mike McConnell off for interference, Maine forward Tommy Reimann deked a shot from the right point and stepped around U.S. defenseman Ryan Whitney. “I got him to commit and just fired,” said Reimann. “There was traffic in front and it deflected up high, over his shoulder — pure luck.”
Trattnig’s game-winner came early in the second, after a sequence in which the Developmental team failed to clear the puck from its own zone.
“They were having trouble getting it out,” said Trattnig, and the senior forward stepped in from the blue line and took away an errant clearing attempt. “I just wanted to put it on net,” he said. “We had people crashing and I thought they’d get a rebound. Obviously, I’m happy it went in.”
Meanwhile, Morrison was holding the fort. In a one-minute span late in the second period, Morrison made three spectacular saves to keep the pesky U.S. team off the board.
The first attempt, a slapshot by U.S. center Dwight Helanen, was “deflected by Loya, I think,” said Morrison. “I saw just enough.”
That was followed by a blistering slapper from Matt Gens from the right circle that Morrison deflected wide with his shoulder. The last save was fortune, according to Morrison.
“I was a little off balance,” he said. “(Ryan Murphy) shot it in the only place I could have gotten it.”
Black Bear forward Dan Kerluke added to the lead 8:31 into the third; that play was set up when UM’s Chris Heisten chipped the puck from neutral ice to freshman Brendan Donovan, who beat the U.S. defense and went in two on one with Kerluke.
“The only guy left had to play the middle,” said Donovan. “I flipped it over his stick and Danny buried it.”
Whitney spoiled the shutout when the defenseman buried a slapshot from the right point on a power play. It was one of eight power plays in the third period for the Developmental team.
“They’re a very good team,” said U.S. head coach Mike Eaves. “They just keep coming at you and force you to play great defense.”
Maine’s win, along with St. Lawrence’s handy 5-1 victory over Holy Cross, sets up a much-anticipated matchup of two of last season’s Frozen Four participants in the tourney final.
“We’ve still got to play 60 minutes,” said Reimann. “We didn’t do that tonight and if we play like that tomorrow, St. Lawrence will kill us.”
The Black Bear Classic final begins at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Alfond.