Maine Hockey Journal

Southern Maine grinds out victory over Suffolk

Gorham, ME – The University of Southern Maine men’s ice hockey team played perhaps their most physical game of the season, en route to a 3-1 win over Suffolk University in non-conference action at the USM Ice Arena.

With the win, Southern Maine improved to an overall record of 7-6-0 (4-3-0 ECAC East) as they faced their final non-conference opponent of the season. The Huskies will play their final 12 games against ECAC East and NESCAC teams, so this was a good tune-up and chance for Huskies’ head coach Jeff Beaney to rest several regulars and evaluate others on the team.

“We really tried to use this game to fine tune a few things,” said Beaney. “Now it becomes a grind every Friday and Saturday. You’re only as good as you play.”

After a scoreless first period that saw both teams head to the penalty box a combined seven times, Southern Maine opened up scoring at 2:21 of the second period on a goal by Dan Gordon.

Gordon, at the right post, found the puck on his stick during a scrum, lifted the shot by Suffolk goalie Bill Gilbert – no relation to Southern Maine goalie Jamie Gilbert – to give the Huskies 1-0 lead.

“Early on we were on our heels and not moving our feet,” said Beaney. “As the game went on, we started to get involved in the game and it became a little less physical.”

At 6:12, with Eric Graham in the box for hooking, Suffolk tied the game at 1-1 when Kyle Cook picked up his own rebound, sliding the puck by Southern Maine goalie Koray Celik.

Southern Maine regained the lead when Dan Gordon scored his second goal of the game, stuffing the puck by Gilbert from the near post at 15:21 of the second period.

“The biggest thing about Dan is he’s learning to become more consistent in his effort,” Beaney said. “It starting to payoff.”

Junior forward Pat Noonan extended the Huskies lead to 3-1 when he finished off a rush up the ice, snapping a wrist shot that beat Gilbert five-hole at 16:24 of the second period.

Southern Maine continued to push, but Bill Gilbert made 41 saves in the loss, while Koray Celik stopped 17 of 18 shots for the win.

NOTES: Southern Maine will have the week off before playing a pair weekend inter-league games against Amherst (7-3-1, 5-1-1 NESCAC) and Hamilton (5-5-1, 4-3-0 NESCAC).

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