ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine’s injury-depleted hockey team turned in a memorable performance on Saturday night.
The Black Bears, without three of their top defensemen due to injury, erupted for a season-high eight goals and defeated the 14th-ranked Boston University Terriers 8-1 on Seniors Night at Alfond Arena.
Junior goalie Matt Thiessen turned in an outstanding 32-save performance to earn his first collegiate win.
UMaine finished the regular season at 7-21-4 overall, 5-17-2 in Hockey East.
BU, which had won nine of its last 10 games, wound up 19-12-3 and 13-8-3.
It was the most goals allowed by BU this season.
UMaine, which outshot BU 38-33, finished last and will travel to play a first round game at No. 6 Merrimack on Wednesday night.
A.J. Drobot, Matthew Fawcett, Nolan Renwick and Ben Poisson scored first-period goals with the latter three coming in a span of 1:07 late in the period.
Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup and Grant Hebert added second-period goals to make it 6-0 before Wilmer Skoog scored a lacrosse-style goal as he did in a 4-0 win over UMaine on Feb 4.
Skoog’s 15th goal of the season was his fourth goal in three games against UMaine this year. He had two in BU’s 5-1 win over UMaine Friday night.
Lynden Breen and Keenan Suthers added third-period goals.
Schmidt-Svejstrup had a career-high four points with three assists to go with his goal. Breen and Fawcett had two assists each to go with their goals. Suthers, Hebert and Renwick had an assist to go with their goals and Cam Spicer had two assists.
“I was proud of the guys. We finally got that special effort we’ve been looking for all year,” said UMaine coach Ben Barr. “When they do that, anything is possible including something like this. Everybody did what they were supposed to do to a T. I’m happy for the (nine) seniors.”
“It was fun,” said senior right wing Schmidt-Svejstrup. “It was good to prove we can play. We stuck to the game plan. We kept things simple, made sure we always had [a third forechecker] high in the offensive zone so they didn’t have much going the other way. We played solid defense. It was a good game.”
Sophomore center Breen called it the team’s best performance of the season.
“I was super proud of everyone. Everybody gave their all,” he said.
The Black Bears outworked the Terriers in the first period, winning virtually all of the loose puck battles and outshooting BU 17-11 even though the Terriers had the only power play opportunity of the period.
And they were rewarded with their second four-goal period of the season. The other came in a 6-3 victory over New Hampshire on Feb. 18.
Drobot opened the scoring 8:03 into the game.
Renwick pounced on the puck behind the net and slid it out to the oncoming Drobot who jammed a close-range one-timer between the pads of BU goalie Drew Commesso, who was the youngest goalie in the Winter Olympics at age 19 for Team USA.
It was Drobot’s second goal of the season.
Fawcett made it 2-0 at the 14:27 mark thanks to a rush by Lynden Breen.
Breen took the puck wide on a BU defenseman and was able to get off a one-handed shot that Commesso kicked out. A BU defenseman skated past the puck but Fawcett swooped on it and flipped it into the empty net for his fourth of the year.
Renwick made it 3-0 50 seconds later when he wristed home a David Breazeale rebound and, just 17 seconds after that, Breen fed Donavan Houle for a shot that Commesso saved.
But Poisson swatted home the rebound for his ninth.
Hockey East Goalie of the Month for February Vinny Duplessis replaced Commesso after the fourth goal.
In the second period, Duplessis was victimized by his own turnover as he lost the puck behind to Schmidt-Svejstrup, who beat him to the front of the net and backhanded the puck into the net.
“I don’t know what he was doing. I think he thought I was going with the defenseman,” said Schmidt-Svejstrup.
It was his fourth of the season.
Hebert made it 6-0 by finishing a beautiful passing sequence with a one-timer off a Schmidt-Svejstrup pass after Fawcett passed it to Schmidt-Svejstrup. It was his seventh goal.
Breen and Suthers scored their eighth and fifth goals, respectively, 1:54 apart in the third.
Thiessen was pleased about getting his first win in his 20th game.
“Obviously, I wished I could have done it sooner,” Thiessen said. “The guys played so well in front of me. They blocked shots, cleared the net so I could see the shots and they scored goals.”
“He played great,” Barr said about his goalie.
BU coach Albie O’Connell said it was “pretty obvious Maine wanted it a little more than we did.”
“That was as bad as we played all year. But you have to tip your hat to Maine. They played well. They played hard, they played simple, they tried to get pucks behind us and they were physical. We didn’t have an answer for it. We were soft in front of our net and their net.”