University of Maine hockey coach Red Gendron has had time to calm down after saying he was “livid,” following his team’s 4-1 loss at Boston College on Saturday night, which extended the Black Bears’ losing streak to five games, all in Hockey East play.
He indicated lineup changes will be made if players don’t start performing up to expectations.
Maine is 3-9-1 overall, 2-5 in Hockey East.
“We’re very close to being successful. We just have to be that much better in every part of our game,” Gendron said.
“We have to continue to work on every aspect and play at an increased tempo. There is nothing in our game that is especially weak, even though the numbers may suggest something different,” he continued. “We just haven’t been good enough, shift to shift, game to game. We haven’t made enough plays with or without the puck to yield the results we’re looking for.”
Maine is 41st among 59 Division I schools in offense (2.15 goals per game) and 51st in defense (3.46 gpg allowed). The power play is tied for 38th (11.8 percent efficiency) and the penalty kill is 45th (78.3 percent).
Maine has gone four games without a power-play goal (0-for-13) and has been held to two goals or less eight times.
Gendron and his coaching staff will look at juggling the lines and defense tandems, but they aren’t going to make any dramatic changes.
“You don’t blow things up for the sake of blowing things up,” Gendron said. “We need to maintain our focus and do what we’re doing better. If you blow things up, you end up starting from scratch and that can be problematic, too.”
Maine has scored just eight goals during its five-game losing streak and only five in its last four. Maine has produced 121 shots on goal, an average of 24.2 per game.
Senior left wing Connor Leen is the only Black Bear with more than one goal during the streak, as he has half of them. He scored in each of the first four losses before being shut out vs. Boston College.
Cam Brown, Ben Hutton and Steven Swavely are the only other Black Bears with more than two points as Brown has four (1 goal, 3 assists) while Hutton (1 & 2) and Swavely (0 & 3) each have three. Nine haven’t registered a single point in the five games.
All five of the losses have come at the hands of teams currently ranked in the top 13 in the United States College Hockey Online poll: two apiece to No. 1 Boston University (3-1 and 3-2 in overtime) and No. 13 Vermont (4-3 in overtime, 4-1) and one to No. 12 Boston College (4-1).
Brown is the only Black Bear with more than eight points, as he has 11 (6 & 5). All-American center Devin Shore, the team’s leading scorer in each of his first two seasons, has been held to seven points (4 & 3).
“The bottom line is we have a plan on how to move forward, and we’re going to stick to that plan and demand that the players stick to the plan,” Gendron said.
Junior Matt Morris, who missed all of last season after undergoing hip surgery, and freshman Sean Romeo have started all 13 games in goal, posting an underwhelming 3.41 goals-against average and .888 save percentage. Neither has won the starting job. Freshman Nik Nugnes is another option. He has yet to play, as he was hurt at the start of the season.
Maine will entertain 8-3-1 Vermont to the Alfond Arena for a pair of non-conference games at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
“It should be a great series,” Gendron said. “They’ve had a pretty good start to the season. They play fast and they’re solid.”