ORONO, Maine — Practice was over.
But on this particular day, Cam Brown stayed out on the ice, working on his shot.
The 5-foot-7, 156-pound Brown has been one of the University of Maine’s best players this season, with his ability to escape checks and create offense thanks to his tenacity and quick feet.
But the one area of his game that has been lacking has been his finishing, and it’s something he continues to work on.
It is starting to pay dividends.
Entering this weekend’s Hockey East series involving two struggling teams at the University of Massachusetts, the junior center and alternate captain has a modest two-game goal scoring streak for the Black Bears. He has registered at least a point on his last three games (2 goals, 2 assists).
Brown is tied for second on the team in scoring with 14 points on five goals and nine assists. He had just three goals over his first 24 games.
At the urging of his coaches and teammates, he has started shooting the puck more rather than first looking to dish off to a teammate.
He has had 20 shots on goal over the past five games after managing just 41 over the previous 21 games. That included a nine-shot game in the 5-2 loss to Boston University last Friday night.
“I’ve just been trying to simplify my game and get more pucks on net,” said Brown. “People around me have told me to shoot more.
“Sometimes I look to pass more than I should. Good things happen when you shoot the puck,” Brown added. “I’ve been working on releasing my shot quicker and getting more velocity on it.”
Brown said linemates Blaine Byron and Nolan Vesey have played important roles in his points streak.
Maine captain Steven Swavely called Brown a “great player.”
“He does everything. And for as small as he is, he is so effective,” said Swavely. “You don’t see him get hit very often. He kills penalties, he’s on the power play, he plays center.”
“We couldn’t control him,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold.
The Black Bears and Minutemen will both be looking to snap six-game winless streaks.
UMass has lost six in a row, while Maine is 0-4-2.
Maine’s problem has been its lack of goal production. UMass’ primary issue has been its porous defense.
The Black Bears have scored only eight goals in those six games while the Minutemen have allowed 33.
The Black Bears will have to adapt to the wider ice sheet at the Mullins Center. It is 10 feet wider than the Alfond Arena.
It is well-suited to Brown’s game.
“It’s nice but it’s pretty tiring,” said Brown. “You have a ton of space. You have more time than you think when you get the puck. Sometimes you can make nice plays, but you still have to keep it simple as a team. You can use your speed wide and hopefully take the defenseman wide and create offense.”