ORONO, Maine — Inconsistent special teams play had been a reason for the University of Maine men’s hockey team’s 0-8-3 start.

But special teams came through big-time for the second straight game and the result was a 4-1 Hockey East win over Vermont on Saturday afternoon that completed a weekend sweep at Alfond Arena.

Maine won 3-2 on Friday night and had the game’s only power-play goal on Saturday.

Shorthanded goals just 12 seconds apart in the first period by Cam Brown and Steven Swavely erased an early goal by Brady Shaw, and Nolan Vesey scored his first goal of the season on the power play at the 16:22 mark.

In addition to the two shorthanded goals, the Black Bears held the Catamounts scoreless on seven power-play chances and they have killed off 32 of the last 34.

Brady Campbell added an empty-net goal and Matt Morris turned in a stellar 35-save performance as Maine improved to 2-8-3 overall, 2-4-0 in Hockey East.

Mike Santaguida made 16 saves for Vermont (3-8-2, 2-4-2 HE), which had entered the weekend with nine wins in the previous 10 games against Maine.

“We had to shut down their time and space [with the puck] and limit their playmaking ability on the power play,” said junior center Brown. “We had to force them down the wall. We had success doing that.”

“They were aggressive. You definitely have to give credit to their penalty kill,” said UVM junior right wing and leading scorer Mario Puskarich. “They come at you hard. They don’t give you a lot of time [with the puck]. And we were trying to make that perfect play. We were looking to make the extra pass instead of keeping things simple and getting pucks through.

“So we didn’t get a lot of Grade-A opportunities,” added Puskarich, who has seven goals and two assists in 10 career games

against Maine.

UVM had just eight shots on goal during its seven power-play chances.

Brown tied the game by capitalizing on a two-on-one with Blaine Byron after Dan Renouf started the play in motion.

Byron lugged the puck down the right wing and patiently waited for the UVM defenseman to sprawl out to try to block the pass before slipping the puck across to Brown.

“Blaine pulled it to his backhand and made an unbelievable pass. I had an empty cage and I tapped it in,” said Brown who had gone 10 games without a goal.

Will Merchant’s pass set up Swavely’s breakaway goal 12 seconds later which snapped the Maine captain’s 20-game goal drought dating back to last season.

Swavely pulled the puck over to his backhand side and tucked it between Santaguida’s pads as he was getting his stick whacked by a UVM backchecker.

“All the credit in the world goes to Red [Maine coach Gendron] and his staff and student-athletes,” said UVM coach Kevin Sneddon. “They played a great weekend. They were desperate and hungry and certainly made our power play look inept. It was an absolute disaster and I’ll take the blame for that because I make the decisions on who’s out there on the special teams at we had the wrong players out there this weekend.”

“They had a little energy from scoring the first goal and had a chance to go up 2-0 on the power play. Instead, when the power play was over, we’re up 2-1,” Gendron said. “That was a big point in the game. That helped our kids feel confident. We played a full 60 minutes tonight.”

Vesey expanded the lead with a wrist shot from beyond the top of the right circle that squeezed between Santaguida’s pads for his first goal and point of the season.

“Those shorthanded goals gave them momentum and then we gave up a soft goal on the power play. We have to make that save,” said Sneddon whose Catamounts have allowed at least one power-play goal in their last eight games.

Shaw had opened the scoring with a nifty move across the middle of the slot. He fought off a check and shoveled a backhander past Morris.

The Black Bears killed off four UVM power plays in the scoreless second period to protect the 3-1 lead.

Morris made eight Grade-A saves among his 14 overall stops in the middle period and finished with 18 Grade-A saves.

“The team played real well in front of me and that helped me with my confidence,” said Morris. “I was able to feed off the defensemen and forwards’ energy in front of me and I saw the puck pretty well.”

Maine blocked 18 Catamount shots.

“You have to give credit to Matty Morris. He had a great weekend,” said Sneddon. “He played real well in the third period on Friday night and and played well for 60 minutes tonight. We had some pretty good looks at times but he made some great saves.”

Morris made 39 saves in Friday night’s win including 21 in the third period.

“He’s a good goaltender especially if you don’t get much traffic in front of him,” said Puskarich.

“He was a big part of both wins,” said Gendron. “He played very well all weekend.”

The Black Bears also played one of their most physical games of the year and Campbell led the charge with two bone-rattling checks at center ice.

“We finished every check. Even if one of their guys got rid of the puck, we made sure we finished him off so he wouldn’t keep going and make a play,” said Brown.

Maine’s seven goals in the two games represents its best two-game output this season.

Merchant finished with two assists and Renouf had one to give him four points on the weekend (2 goals, 2 assists).

Maine will entertain ECAC member Princeton University on Friday and Saturday nights. The 2-6 Tigers beat Maine 3-1 in the consolation game at the Capital City Classic in Trenton, New Jersey, on Oct. 31.