AMHERST, Mass. — After Friday night’s upset loss to Massachusetts, Maine coach Tim Whitehead said his team needed to work on everything. And in a 24-hour span the Black Bears fixed nearly all of those shortcomings in a 4-0 win over the Minutemen.
“We’re pleased with the effort,” Whitehead said. “We’re pleased with the defensive effort, most importantly. It’s a good building block for us.”
Maine (23-6-5, 13-5-4 HEA) put together a 60-minute effort to shut out one of Hockey East’s more explosive offenses in front of 4,824 at the Mullins Center.
Backup goaltender Frank Doyle got the nod and was sharp when he needed to be with three breakaway stops to preserve the shutout.
“I thought Frank was tremendous,” Whitehead said. “He gave us a great lift. That was a tough game for a goalie to play because they didn’t get a lot of scoring chances but they got a few really good scoring chances.”
The Black Bears got goals from three different lines, but it was John Ronan’s fluke second-period goal that proved to be the game winner. The rarely-used right wing crossed his own blue line and flipped the puck toward Gabe Winer. The puck bounced awkwardly in front of the net and skipped past Winer as he was backing onto his line.
“Honestly it was a weird bounce,” Whitehead said. “It’s not like it was on the ice and he fanned on it. It was bouncing on him.”
UMass could not muster a counter to the shocking goal and soon found itself in a hole.
Chris Heisten’s shorthanded goal during UMass’ first power play was the real deflator.
“Giving up the second goal was really the tough one for us to respond to,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “We were going to be into it right to the end if we kept it to one goal. But we never got it to that point.”
Freshman defenseman Marvin Degon mishandled the puck at the blueline and Heisten took advantage. He beat Winer over the glove at 1:31.
“Usually a shorthanded goal is a big momentum builder for you,” Whitehead said. “In this case it was. What I really liked was how quick he released the shot. He just zipped it.”
Greg Moore’s power-play goal at 6:41 of the third gave the Bears a 3-0 lead.
Robert Liscak found Moore on the circle for a one-timer. Gabe Winer made the first save but the puck looped over his head and over the line for a 3-0 lead.
Lucas Lawson added a fourth goal for Maine on an impressive individual effort. The senior sped down the right wing before cutting hard toward the crease and tucking home his 18th of the year.
Despite Winer’s infamous mishap, he played well (34 saves) in front of a Maine attack that put up 38 shots and countless scoring chances.