TROY, N.Y. — With goals from five different players and 36-save performance from Rob McGovern, the University of Maine men’s hockey team completed a weekend sweep of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers with a 5-2 win on Saturday at Houston Field House.
Maine notched three goals in the first seven minutes of the second period, including one while short-handed, to break the game open and extend its unbeaten streak to seven games.
The Black Bears once again jumped out to an early lead, with Chase Pearson‘s first goal of the year putting them up 1-0 less than 90 seconds in for the second consecutive night. After the puck found Mitchell Fossier at the dot and he took it toward the blue-line, Brady Keeper floated a shot on goal that Pearson was able to tip past Chase Perry and into the upper right corner of the net.
In the midst of the teams trading penalties, RPI (3-13-3) evened the score with nine minutes to play in the period right as Maine (10-7-1) killed off a four-on-three. Todd Burgess took a shot that rebounded to Brady Wiffen for a backhand finish just seconds into four-on-four play.
A nice shoulder save from McGovern and then an ensuing clearance of the puck killed off the final Maine penalty and the teams returned to even-strength. Not wanting to go into the break tied, the Black Bears took the momentum back minutes later with Patrick Holway‘s fifth goal of the year. Right off a face-off win by Pearson, Eduards Tralmaks hit Holway at the point for a one-timer into the top left corner.
The Black Bears ramped up the pressure in the second period, finding the net three times in the first seven minutes.
After Maine earned a power-play chance less than a minute in, Brady Keeper knocked the water bottle off the net with a slick wrister from the right dot with his fourth goal of the year. Two minutes later, Keith Muehlbauer‘s shot from the top of the right circle bounced off of Perry’s shoulder and into the net for the defenseman’s first goal of the year. Then, with Maine on the penalty kill, Robbins caused a turnover at the blue line before breaking in all alone on Perry for a roofed wrister and a 5-1 lead.
Two nice saves from McGovern — first stoning Patrick Polino on a breakaway with his pads and then a sliding glove stop on a one-time attempt down low — enabled Maine to enter the second intermission with the four-goal lead intact.
McGovern opened the third period with a strong chest save on a RPI chance just seconds in and his continued presence between the pipes was key for the Black Bears through the final 20 minutes. The Engineers were able to capitalize on the power-play midway through the second, with Will Reilly’s one-timer from the left side of the ice finding the top right corner of the net, but Maine held on for the 5-2 win.
Pearson and Keeper each finished with two points on one goal and one assist while Tralmaks and Fossier had two points on two assists. Nolan Vesey and Tim Doherty each grabbed one assist. RPI held the final edge in shots on goal (38-32).
The Black Bears will hit the road on Saturday, Jan. 6, to battle Boston University and then make a short trip to Providence on Monday, Jan. 8 for the final non-conference game of the year against Brown University.