It was certainly a forgettable weekend for the University of Maine’s hockey team.
When 14 goals are surrendered in two games, the blame is on the entire team.
When you play one of the most talented teams in the country — one averaging nearly four goals a game (3.9) entering the series — you have to limit their players’ time and space with the puck, stay out of the penalty box, avoid turning the puck over and receive top-notch goaltending.
UMaine went 0-for-4 in those categories.
The Terriers had plenty of time and space with the puck in order to make plays. UMaine didn’t give them a ton of power play chances but BU converted on 4-of-8 with the man-advantage, including a perfect 3-for-3 on Saturday. The Black Bears turned the puck over too many times and virtually all of the goals came off initial shots that goalies Victor Ostman and Connor Androlewicz were unable to save.
The goalies didn’t get much help from their teammates, as most of the goals came off shots fired from areas on the ice with a high percentage of going in the net.
It is now up to the Black Bears to prove that last weekend was an aberration.
There is definitely a talent gap between UMaine and BU. BU has 12 National Hockey League draft choices, with 11 being selected in the top four rounds, while UMaine doesn’t have one.
But it’s worth pointing out that UMaine’s all-time leading scorer, current Boston Bruins coach Jim Montgomery, wasn’t drafted and a ton of other players who were key contributors behind UMaine’s success weren’t drafted either.
And the Terriers are a junior and senior laden team while UMaine is more of a sophomore-freshman team.
Plus, the Terriers were motivated by the fact UMaine thumped them 8-1 in the regular season finale a year ago.
There are 13 current Terriers who played in that game compared with just seven Black Bears.
But all is not lost. The game should serve as a valuable wake-up call.
Because they are so young and aren’t as talented as most of their Hockey East opponents, the Black Bears can’t afford to engage in shootouts.
They have to outwork teams, finish checks, and play an in-your-face type of game where they don’t allow teams much time and space with the puck.
Ostman, who is on the watch list for the Mike Richter Award that goes to the nation’s top goalie, has to rebound from an uncharacteristic weekend in which he allowed eight goals on 40 shots.
On the positive side, UMaine’s six goals on Saturday were the most it has scored in a game this season. The goals were scored by six different players.
In addition, UMaine’s power play, one of the nation’s worst, was 2-for-4 on Saturday, marking just the second time UMaine has scored more than one power play goal in a game this season.
And believe it or not, 14 goals allowed in consecutive games is nowhere near the school record.
On Jan. 3 and Jan. 4, 1986, UMaine gave up 24 goals in back-to-back losses at the University of Minnesota, 8-3 and 16-2, under second-year head coach Shawn Walsh.
The following year, Walsh guided his team to a 24-16-2 season capped by the program’s first of 18 NCAA Tournament appearances. Walsh died of kidney cancer in 2001 after leading UMaine to two NCAA titles.
UMaine will look to bounce back on Friday and Saturday nights when it hosts No. 17 Providence College, 12-7-6 overall and 7-3-5 in Hockey East.
UMaine is now 9-12-2 overall, 3-8-1 in league play.