ORONO, Maine — The opponents weren’t national powers, but the victory was just as sweet for the Maine Black Bears.
Paced by five different goalscorers, Maine drowned Holy Cross 7-0 at Alfond Arena Saturday in front of 5,452 fans to win the Black Bear Classic. The win gives the Black Bears their second tournament title in as many weeks and improves their record to 3-0-0 on the season.
“Our season before the Hockey East schedule is set up like three different tests,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “Last week we faced the test of being an underdog, this week we were the favorite, and we passed both tests.”
The loss is the first of the year for the Crusaders, who fall to 2-1-1.
“We ran into a top team in the country and we learned a bit by playing against them,” said Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl. “We did some things well in the first period, but once they got their power-play goal, and once we started reaching and taking penalties, it was all over for us.”
Maine never gave Holy Cross a chance, despite being outshot in the first period, controlling much of the play inside of the Holy Cross zone. Overall, Maine outshot Holy Cross 53-19, including 24-1 in the second period.
“There was the potential for us to ease up, especially after the second period,” said Whitehead, “but we never stopped working. We may not be the most talented team in the country, but our goal is to be the hardest working.”
Holy Cross goaltender Tony Quesada received All-Tournament Team honors after replacing teammate Ben Conway for the third period, stopping 17 of the 19 shots launched in his direction. In four periods on the weekend, Quesada blocked 35 shots.
Jon Jankus opened the scoring for Maine at 8:45 of the first period on a nice feed through the neutral zone from true freshman Mike Lundin, last year’s Minnesota high school player of the year. Jankus weaved through the neutral zone and unleashed a blast from the top of the slot that beat Conway low to the blocker side, giving the Black Bears a 1-0 lead.
John Ronan made it 2-0 at 11:42, with teammate Jeff Mushaluk in the box for interference. With Holy Cross mounting a charge through the neutral zone, Ben Murphy picked off a defender’s pass and backhanded the puck to Ronan, who was perched on the blue line all alone. Ronan took three strides along the left boards and unleashed a wrister that found the top corner, burning Conway high to the glove side.
“I had success with a slapshot to the same spot in yesterday’s game,” said Ronan. “I figured I’d try it again, and it worked.”
The shorthanded goal was Maine’s fourth of the season (third in an NCAA game), one in each game so far. Todd Jackson had Maine’s other two, against Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Maine put the game out of reach in the second frame, getting a one-time slapshot goal from Derek Damon, a power-play tally from Colin Shields and a sweeping backhand goal from rookie Keith Johnson to take a commanding 5-0 lead.
Shields and Johnson each added another in the third to complete the scoring.
Maine sees its next action on Friday when it travels to Canton, N.Y., to take on St. Lawrence, while Holy Cross returns to the ice Friday as well, taking on Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass.