ORONO, Maine — The University of Prince Edward Island gave the University of Maine’s youthful men’s hockey team a valuable tuneup on Saturday night in an exhibition game in front of a sizable crowd at the Alfond Arena in Orono.
UMaine emerged with a hard-fought 1-0 win.
The Panthers, with virtually all of their players back off a 9-9-2 campaign in 2021-22 including two with ECHL experience, played a fast-paced, physical game that required the Black Bears to absorb hits to make plays and battle for every loose puck.
Fourteen of UMaine’s 16 newcomers, including two of three transfers, received ice time in preparation for next weekend’s Ice Breaker Tournament, where the team will play the U.S. Air Force Academy on Friday night in Colorado Springs and defending national champion Denver on Saturday night in Denver.
Three Black Bear freshmen teamed up for the only goal of the game as center Killian Kiecker-Olson from Andover, Minnesota, scored on the power play with 2:09 left in the middle period. He was assisted by right winger Reid Pabich from Madison, Wisconsin, and defenseman Luke Antonacci from Princeton, New Jersey.
Pabich fired a shot from the left face-off circle that was kicked out by Lucas Fitzpatrick.
Antonacci pounced on the loose puck in the right circle and snapped a diagonal pass to the far post where Kiecker-Olson tapped it into the open net from the edge of the crease after getting inside position on a Panther defensemen.
The game featured stellar goaltending on both sides.
Clarkson University transfer Jacob Mucitteli started and made 15 saves for the Black Bears before junior Victor Ostman came on midway through the game and stopped 17 during his stint, including a breakaway by Troy Lajeunesse late in the second period.
Jonah Capriotti, UPEI’s Most Valuable Player last year, stopped all 21 shots he faced before Fitzpatrick came on and stopped 14 of the 15 shots he faced.
UMaine went 1-for-11 on the power play while UPEI went 0-for-5.