ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine men’s hockey team, which started the season 1-5-0, went to their most effective asset Friday night and beat the No. 10 University of Vermont Catamounts 4-1 at Alfond Arena in Orono.
The Black Bears (2-5-0, 1-2-0 Hockey East) went 3-for-10 on the power play and added a short-handed goal, while Vermont was 0-for-5 with the man advantage. Both of Maine’s wins have come at home.
Maine freshman left wing Adam Shemansky scored a pair of the power-play goals to lead the charge. With one of the most potent power play units in Hockey East, Maine has scored a power-play goal in each of their first seven games.
“We talked about playing a full 60-minutes tonight, and we did,” Shemansky said. “We’re very happy with the outcome.”
Shemansky leads Maine with five goals, and his seven points is four behind team leader Gustav Nyquist.
“It seems like all my goals are coming from the same area,” Shemansky said. “I just have to keep going to those dirty areas, and good things are going to happen.”
Friday’s game was the first of two single-game weekends for Maine. The Black Bears will host defending National Champions Boston University next weekend. Vermont lost their second straight Hockey East contest to fall to 2-3-0 (1-2-0 Hockey East). The Catamounts will return home to Gutterson Fieldhouse next weekend to host Mass.-Lowell and Providence College after playing four of their first five games on the road.
“We played a very unemotional first period and it cost us,” Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. “We took a lot of dumb penalties tonight. Every time we had a good shift it was followed by a poorly timed penalty.
Maine sophomore goalie Scott Darling, who carried a 4.19 goals-against average into Friday’s game, made 31 saves, including three on breakaways to earn the win (2-1-0). Maine’s 4.67 goals allowed per game entering the game was nearly a goal more than their nearest competitor in Hockey East.
“He played great,” Sneddon said. “He made some brilliant saves. I think he was a big factor in the game whenever we had some sustained offensive pressure or line-rushes.”
Darling’s lone costly mistake of the game came 5:58 into the second period. Vermont sophomore right wing Matt Marshall beat Darling five-hole with a slap shot from the right faceoff circle.
“Technically I dropped my butt, which lifted up the front of my pad and it just snuck under me,” Darling said. “That was my fault, but I can live with it. We got a 4-1 win.”
Maine made a one goal game 3-1 18 seconds into the third period when junior defenseman Jeff Dimmen scored on a power play that had carried over from the second. Junior center Robby Dee found Dimmen in the left faceoff circle from the slot, and Dimmen’s wrister beat Vermont sophomore goaltender Rob Madore glove side.
Shemansky flicked in a bouncing puck in traffic at the right post with 7:48 remaining in the game to seal the win.
Maine was rewarded for playing a motivated opening period and went into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead. The Black Bears had a third goal in the period waived off when Dimmen was called for charging after bowling Madore over on the play.
The Black Bears spoiled Vermont’s first power play with a short-handed tally by senior right wing Kevin Swallow 5:27 into the game. Speedy Maine freshman center Matt Mangene chased down an errant puck at the Catamounts’ blue line along the left boards and his backhander in front rebounded out to Swallow streaking through the slot.
“Great play by Mangene,” Swallow credited. “He beat the defenseman wide, put it on net. I didn’t really have to do much.”
Maine extended their lead to 2-0 midway through the period. After Vermont returned one player from the penalty box to turn a five-on-three to five-on-four, Maine sophomore right wing Spencer Abbott at the mid-point found Shemansky camped at the left post to tip the pass in.
Madore made 35 saves on 39 shots on goal, while falling to 2-3-0.
Sneddon anticipates some changes next weekend.
“There will be a lot of line changes, guys in the stands. We had a lot of blank stares in the first period, and you can’t give a team in their own building that much energy.”