ESTERO, Fla. — Sunday, Maine claimed its second Everblades College Classic title in convincing fashion: with an 8-3 win over Massachusetts.
The win came on the heels of a 3-2 win over third-ranked Cornell in which Black Bear coach Tim Whitehead was disappointed with his team’s effort.
“I liked how we responded,” Whitehead said. “I was very, very pleased.”
Nothing was left to desire Sunday as Maine dominated every facet of the contest.
The Black Bears held a 22-16 edge in shots through two periods and converted on three power-play chances while the Minutemen went 1-for-6. Despite its domination, Maine held just a 3-2 advantage after 20 minutes, but opened it up with a four-goal second period.
“It’s weird, you know,” Whitehead said. “It doesn’t usually happen that way. I thought it was going to be a 1-0 game.”
Senior wing Lucas Lawson had a goal and an assist as the Black Bears littered the UMass crease with scoring chances.
“We were getting the shots,” tournament MVP Gray Shaneberger said. “We just wanted to put more traffic in front and start taking better shots. We got a couple goals in the second and just kept coming.”
The assault began immediately after the first intermission when a Mike Warner roughing penalty gave Maine a two-man advantage for just under a minute.
“We obviously took some bad penalties and they capitalized,” Minuteman head coach Don Cahoon said. “We showed a lack of thoroughness and a lack of discipline.”
UMass was unable to clear the zone for the length of Warner’s penalty, but did manage to keep the puck out of its own net.
However, Martin Kariya corrected that at 9:58 when he scored what proved to be the game winner off a feed from Lawson to make it 4-2. Lawson cycled out of the corner, drew both opposing defenseman and fed Kariya for his second goal of the game, a one-timer into the yawning net.
The performance was an emotional one for Kariya, as he was playing less than 48 hours after learning that his father had died of a sudden heart attack.
“[Kariya's] performance this weekend was remarkable,” Whitehead said. “He really inspired me. He’s such a strong, solid person, I am just so impressed with Marty.”
Derek Damon and Lawson scored under two minutes apart to stretch the lead to four goals and Chris Heisten capped the rout with his 10th goal of the year at 19:04 of the second off a pretty pass from Colin Shields.
Shields cut back just inside the UMass blue line before lofting a pass onto the tape of a cutting Heisten for the goal.
Maine dominated the period, forcing the Minutemen to take three penalties, including one that resulted in a power-play tally.
Freshman Gabe Winer was helpless to stop the onslaught as he made 11 saves, including four point-blank stops. Winer totaled 15 stops before being replaced by Mike Waidlich at the beginning of the third period.
Backup Frank Doyle made 18 saves in the stead of star rookie Jim Howard, who is in Nova Scotia playing for the United States in the World Junior Championships.
“Frank made some big stops,” Whitehead said. “He gave us real solid goaltending.”
The loss marks the Minutemen’s second straight defeat in a holiday tournament final, after last year’s overtime setback to Rensselaer in the HSBC Classic.
The loss, UMass’ most lopsided of the season, was the first time UMass had surrendered eight goals since an 8-5 defeat to Providence on Jan. 7, 2001.
This championship comes a year after Maine dropped the title game to Northern Michigan, 5-4.
“It was by far the most important thing to bring the cup back to Maine,” Shaneberger said.