ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine men’s hockey team returns to the ice Friday at the inaugural Capital City Classic in Trenton, New Jersey, looking for its first win after three ties and two losses.
Maine will play high-scoring Hockey East rival UMass at 4:30 p.m. at the Sun National Bank Center with ECAC teams Yale and Princeton meeting in a mutual season-opener at 7:30 p.m. The consolation game will be at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by the championship game.
The Black Bears are fully aware of their shortcomings. They are the lowest scoring team in Division I, averaging just one goal per game and have been shut out in their last two games.
There is only one thing on their minds, according to captain Steven Swavely.
“We want some wins. It’s time to win,” said center Swavely, who is one of nine regulars seeking his first point.
“We’re focusing on executing better offensively while staying within our defensive game,” he added.
UMaine coach Red Gendron was satisfied with his team’s performance through its first four games but was displeased by a lack of effort in its 4-0 loss to Quinnipiac in its last game 10 days ago.
They have since lost an exhibition game to the University of New Brunswick 5-1 last Friday night.
“We established our identity in our first four games,” said junior right wing Blaine Byron. “We’re going to play hard, in-your-face hockey.
“We’re definitely going in the right direction. But we haven’t been getting timely goals. We’ve created scoring chances, but they haven’t been going in. Once we get a couple of goals, things will start opening up for us. We have to get a lot of shots, create traffic and get those dirty goals,” he added.
“Five goals in five games isn’t going to make it,” said Gendron. “We have to improve offensively while continuing to play well defensively. It’s rather simple.
“The guys are getting better all the time. But what it comes down to is making exactly the right play at exactly the right time more consistently. There are moments in the game when making the right play and executing it with precision impacts the scoreboard,” said Gendron.
“We have to stay positive,” said junior alternate captain Cam Brown. “Obviously, in the games against Quinnipiac and New Brunswick, we weren’t where we needed to be. But we have to build off what we’d done well in the previous four games.”
One of those positives has been goaltending.
Freshman Rob McGovern posted a 0.93 goals-against average and a 0.973 save percentage in ties with North Dakota and Union but suffered an undisclosed injury against Union and missed the last two games. He has returned to practice and could get Friday’s start.
Matt Morris and Sean Romeo also have played well.