ORONO, Maine — It was more of the same on Saturday night.
The University of Maine men’s hockey team’s offensive woes continued as 10th-ranked Quinnipiac University of Hamden, Connecticut, left Orono with a solid 2-0 victory and a sweep of the weekend series.
Quinnipiac had won Friday night’s game 7-2.
Sophomore goalie Keith Petruzzelli made 23 saves in the defensive battle, including 11 of the Grade-A (high-percentage) variety, and freshmen Zach Metsa and Ethan de Jong scored for the Bobcats (11-2), who won their fourth straight game.
Among Petruzzelli’s saves was a pad stop off speedy Brendan Robbins, who broke in alone and got off a short first-period backhander.
Goaltender Jeremy Swayman came up with 17 stops, of which nine Grade-A’s, for UMaine (4-7-1), which has lost its last three home games.
Sophomore defenseman Brady Keeper hit the post twice for the Black Bears, who are 2-7-1 over their last 10 games and have been held to two goals or fewer in eight of those games. They have scored 19 goals in the stretch.
UMaine is now 49th among 60 Division I teams in goals per game (2.17).
UMaine had 50 shot attempts to Quinnipiac’s 39, but UMaine missed the net on 14 of them and had 11 more blocked.
“Petruzzelli is a good goaltender,” UMaine senior defenseman and co-captain Rob Michel said. “We did a lot of good things tonight. But, offensively, we need a few more shots and need to get a few more bodies to the net. We have to crash the net harder and fight for position to get those second [chance] opportunities.”
“We had our opportunities but we didn’t bury them,” UMaine head coach Red Gendron said. “We missed the net quite a few times. We had a lot of high-quality scoring opportunities on which we didn’t put our shots on goal. We have to be better that way.”
“We competed, we battled,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold, who is in his 25th season behind the Bobcats bench. “I didn’t love our structure at times but it was good enough. Our defense corps was really good. They had good sticks. And when we made a mistake, [Petruzzelli] was there to bail us out. Keith played an excellent game.
“Maine played real well. We found a way to win another hockey game against a good team on the road in a tough environment,” Pecknold said.
Metsa broke a scoreless tie at the 9:39 mark of the second period.
Scott Davidson sped down the left wing and UMaine defenseman Alexis Binner fell down just inside his own blue line.
Davidson broke in alone on Swayman, who missed a pokecheck but was able to make a pad save on Davidson’s soft wrister.
The rebound spilled to Swayman’s right and Michael Lombardi retrieved the puck and sent it to Metsa in the middle of the low slot and he wristed it past the fallen Swayman.
“I was a little off-balance because one of their defensemen was right on me,” said Metsa, a defenseman who was centering the Bobcats’ fourth line due to injuries. “I knew their goalie was out of it and I was able to put it to the net. Their goalie slid out and it ended up trickling in the short side.”
Metsa added that he knew “we needed to fill some spots so I tried to do anything I could to contribute.”
On the ensuing shift off the center-ice faceoff, Keeper fired a slap shot from the left point that beat Petruzzelli but rang off the near post.
Early in the third period, Keeper nearly scored an equalizer but his backhander off a Ryan Smith rebound hit the post while Petruzzelli tried to scramble across.
“One of their guys hit my glove with his stick,” Keeper said. “But I should have put that in.”
Seconds later, de Jong expanded the lead.
A loose puck in the left circle squirted to de Jong after Swayman had made a pad stop off Odeen Tufto and he was able to jam the rebound between Swayman’s pads.
“It was a hard-fought game. Both teams played their tails off but we didn’t get any puck luck and they kind of did,” Gendron said.
“We played well. We played much better, defensively, than we did Friday night. But we didn’t get the bounces,” said UMaine junior center and co-captain Chase Pearson, the team’s leading scorer with eight goals and four assists. “Offensively, we need more guys to step up and get the job done, including myself. I didn’t get the job done, tonight.”
UMaine had a power play with five minutes left but managed just one shot on goal.
“We didn’t have the poise on the power play we needed tonight,” said Gendron, whose Bears went 0-for-4 with the man advantage to cap an 0-for-9 weekend on the power play.
On Friday night, sophomore center Tufto had his first career hat trick and five-point night (3 goals, two assists), and Andrew Shortridge made 33 saves including 18 Grade-A’s, to lead Quinnipiac past UMaine.
Tufto’s two first-period goals and Alex Whelan’s second-period goal made it 3-0 before Pearson converted a two-on-one off a Mitch Fossier pass.
But Tufto one-timed a perfect cross-ice pass from Brandon Fortunato with 6.2 seconds in the second period to restore the three-goal lead and deflate the Black Bears.
De Jong, Wyatt Bongiovanni and Joe O’Connor also scored for Quinnipiac while Ryan Smith had a goal and an assist for UMaine and Swayman finished with 22 stops.