ORONO, Maine — Maine and Quinnipiac played their last non-conference game Sunday night at Alfond Arena as the Black Bears skated away with a 6-0 win.
Troy Barnes led the 15th-ranked Black Bears with five assists, tying a single-game school record. With his accomplishment, Barnes joins the elite group of Andre Aubut, Paul Kariya, Chris Ferraro, Marcus Gustafsson and Martin Kariya.
“It’s an honor to be in a category like that,” said Barnes. “But at the same time, I give a lot of credit to my teammates. I didn’t make any spectacular plays. I just got the puck to my teammates, and they made some great plays to put it in and made me look good.”
Barnes was also on the ice when all six goals were scored.
“That’s just remarkable,” Maine head coach Tim Whitehead said of Barnes’ performance. “We’ve been looking to our juniors and seniors to elevate their games. He did that. He was very assertive. He showed a lot of poise coming up ice and used the head-fake often. To see him execute that was great.”
Josh Soares also had two goals and an assist for the Black Bears.
Maine got on the board first 6:59 into the first period. With a crowd swarming in front of the Quinnipiac net, Greg Moore scooted a pass from the right faceoff circle to Jon Jankus, planted to the left of the crease. With Bobcat goalie Jamie Holden down on the ice, Jankus took a moment to control the puck but managed to fling it past Holden’s stick side to give the Black Bears a 1-0 lead.
With Maine dominating, Mike Hamilton doubled his team’s lead at the 15:43 mark in the first with seven seconds remaining on a Maine power play. After an initial shot by Keith Johnson, Hamilton gathered the rebound and knocked the puck into the top shelf on the goalie’s glove side.
Josh Siembida replaced Holden in net for the Bobcats after the first period.
“Holden has been under the weather,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold. “We tried to give it a go tonight anyway, but he just didn’t have it. I talked to him at the end of the period, so that’s why we made the switch.”
Black Bear freshman forward Rob Bellamy scored his first collegiate goal 14:38 into the second period. Off a pass from Barnes, Bellamy flung the puck on a backhand past Siembida’s stick to give Maine a 3-0 advantage.
“Bellamy is a physical player who’s not known as a goal-scorer,” said Whitehead. “He usually just takes hits and gives hits. To see him get a goal is a big lift for the team overall.”
Pecknold said Bellamy’s goal killed any momentum his team was gathering.
“We came out with a lot of energy in the second, but that third goal was really the backbreaker,” said Pecknold. “Maine just dominated us after that.”
At the 17:08 mark of the second, Johnson extended the Maine lead to 4-0. Derek Damon corralled a pass from Soares at the blue line, creating a two-on-one. Damon skated in on the left side of the Quinnipiac zone and scooted the puck to the right of the slot, where Johnson knocked it past the goaltender’s glove side.
After officials waved off a goal that initially appeared to cross the goal line, the Black Bears bounced back seconds later when Soares scored on a slapshot with 11 seconds remaining in the period.
“I got a nice pass wide from Keenan Hopson, and I was just trying to put it on net for the rebound,” said Soares. “But the goalie tried to poke check it, and it just hit his stick and went up and over him.”
Soares’ hot stick didn’t cool down during the intermission. He scored his second goal of the game to make it 6-0 Maine 5:13 into the final period. Travis Ramsey fired a slapshot from the point that was saved by Siembida. Camped out in front of the Quinnipiac net, Soares pounced on the rebound and snuck it under the goalie’s blocker. Ramsey’s assist on the goal was his first collegiate point.
Goalie Jimmy Howard’s fourth shutout of the season also gave him 13 in his career, which extends the Maine record. He made 18 saves. The game also marked Maine’s fifth shutout of the season.
“Howard’s a big-time goaltender,” said Pecknold. “I don’t think we tested him with a lot of high quality stuff. But he did what he needed to do. He just shut us down. I was very impressed with the way he handled his rebounds. He earned his shutout tonight.”
Howard said he had a little help as well.
“The defensemen and the forwards did a great job breaking up the odd-man rushes when Quinnipiac did have them,” he said. “The shots that they did get I saw all the way and was able to stop them.”
Maine outshot Quinnipiac 31-18 on the night.
“We were expecting to play better than we did,” said Pecknold. “But Maine just outworked us and outplayed us tonight.”
Next weekend, Maine will get back to conference play for the first time in over a month by traveling to Hockey East rival Massachusetts for two games.
“I can’t wait,” Howard said of the upcoming schedule. “If we keep sticking to the game plan and working hard in practice, we’re going to come together. If we focus on the little things we need to do and get on the same page, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
“But we need to start strong out of the gate against Massachusetts,” Whitehead said. “Then we have two home weekends. So if we use the home ice advantage, that could put us in a very good spot.”
Quinnipiac will also square off with Connecticut in a pair of Atlantic Hockey matchups next weekend.
“The Atlantic Hockey schedule is obviously a little easier than the game tonight,” said Quinnipiac junior forward Joe Dumais. “Connecticut’s a tough team, but I think we’ll bounce back well. We should be all set for the rest of the year.”
The Black Bears improve to 11-8-3 overall with the win while the Bobcats drop to 6-9-3.