Rob McGovern’s hometown of Weymouth, Massachusetts, is only 16 miles southeast of Boston so Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, has been a special venue for him.
The University of Maine’s sophomore goalie made 31 saves in posting his first career shutout on Saturday afternoon as the Black Bears beat the University of Connecticut 4-0 in a Hockey East game as part of the Frozen Fenway series.
UMaine is now 3-0 at Fenway with its previous wins coming over the New Hampshire in 2012 and Boston University in 2014.
The Black Bears received a goal and two assists from senior center and captain Cam Brown, giving him a goal and four assists in his two Fenway games. UMaine also got a goal and an assist from sophomore defenseman Rob Michel and a goal each from left wingers Blaine Byron and Nolan Vesey.
UMaine had a season-high 44 shots on goal.
Brown scored the only goal of the first period on a wraparound, then senior Byron made it 2-0 with the only goal of the second period.
Michel capitalized with the extra attacker on a delayed penalty call 6:55 into the third period and junior Vesey scored into the empty net with 1:57 remaining.
UMaine (8-11-3, 2-7-1 HE) snapped a six-game Hockey East winless streak (0-5-1) with its first league triumph since a 5-2 decision over UMass Lowell on Nov. 11.
It was the Black Bears’ first victory over UConn since the Huskies joined the league at the outset of the 2014-2015 season. UConn had been 3-0-2 vs. UMaine.
UConn (9-8-6, 5-4-2 HE) had its four-game league unbeaten streak snapped.
McGovern said collecting his first shutout had been a long time in coming.
“And to do it at Fenway Park is a dream come true. I grew up just south of Boston and used to watch the Red Sox. I’m a big Boston sports fan,” said McGovern.
McGovern made a number of important saves, including one on Evan Richardson’s breakaway in the second period with the Black Bears leading 2-0.
“We had a guy coming back in the middle so if he was going to make a move to his backhand, he was going to have to make it quickly. He stayed on the forehand and I went with it and it worked out,” said McGovern, who absorbed the shot in his chest.
He also stopped Max Kalter’s breakaway backhander while UConn was shorthanded and trailing 3-0 in the third period.
“I was comfortable out there. The guys gave me confidence before the game and it spilled over into the game,” said McGovern.
“This was the most complete effort we’ve had all year,” he added.
Brown opened the scoring by hunting down a puck behind the net and swinging out front to the left of UConn goalie Adam Huska before slipping the puck into the far corner.
Byron made it 2-0 at the 10:54 mark of the second period after Brown had feathered a pass over to Brendan Robbins, who had slipped behind the defense.
Huska dove out headfirst to poke the puck away but it landed on the stick of Michel. He faked a shot before sliding a diagonal pass to Byron, who simply diverted it into the vacated net.
Michel expanded the lead when he jumped off the bench and skated to the high slot where he one-timed a Brown pass behind Huska.
“It went far post and in,” said Michel.
Michel said the Black Bears played one of their better games of the season.
“We harped on cleaning up the defensive zone. That was our big focus. We knew the offense would be there,” said Michel.
“Everybody did their jobs and played well,” said UMaine coach Red Gendron. “There were all kinds of positives but the most important thing was how solidly we played in all three zones. We competed hard and won puck battles.”
Brown’s goal and two assists extended his points streak to six games (2 goals, 11 assists).
UMaine will play a home-and-home series with Boston University next weekend, invading Agganis Arena for a 7:35 p.m. game on Friday before returning to Alfond Arena for a 7:30 p.m. Saturday contest.