Maine Hockey Journal

UNE continues improvement despite falling short to Skidmore

Biddeford, ME – Last week, the University of New England men’s ice hockey team were in a pair of high scoring contest with a chance to win both. Tonight, it turned out to be a low scoring defensive battle, ultimately decided by who caught the lucky bounces as Skidmore prevailed, 2-1, at Biddeford Ice Arena.

It was UNE’s first game of the week after Tuesday’s game against Franklin Pierce was cancelled for a second time due to poor weather.

After the two teams skated scoreless for the opening period, UNE caught a break first as freshman Matt Del Guidice, fresh off the bench from a line change, caught a puck off the glass behind the two Thoroughbreds’ defenders and took it in alone to give UNE a 1-0 lead at 6:49 of the second period.

“It was a lucky break. We’ve been waiting for some of those this year,” said Del Guidice.

“Ty was coming off for a change and I saw Brent (Bourgeois) in trouble back there (in the defensive zone). Brent’s a smart player, if he gets in trouble he’s gonna throw it off the boards. It was a bouncing puck so I was hoping it was going to bounce over one of their defensemen’s stick. I got lucky in that sense, it bounced right on my stick and I buried it.”

“I did a shot-fake and he moved his glove and I just went right over it with a quick shot.”

Skidmore would tie things up before the period was over. The Nor’easters were struggling to clear a rebound from the front of the net, which ended up on the stick of Alex Mykolenko, who fired it over the shoulder of UNE goaltender Mike Roper at 17:55 of the second to send the game into the second intermission tied 1-1. Joe Melnyk and Tyler Doremus picked up assists on the goal.

The Thoroughbreds would collect another loose puck from traffic in front for the game-winner in the third.

“Towards the end it could have gone either way,” said Roper. “That second goal they got a nice bounce off one guy’s shin pads right on the other guy’s stick. It’s a game of bounces.”

Skidmore’s Brad Schuler got the game winning goal, assisted by Dalton Weinstein at 8:35 of the third period.

Roper blocked 42 shots in another strong performance for the Nor’easters to help keep them close all game.

UNE coach Brad Holt has been pleased with his team’s play in their last few games. “We’re definitely stronger, we’re definitely a better team, we’ve made some advancements. We’re starting to get it.”

“We need to pick up the pace and be a faster team, we need to move the puck quicker, and when you get the opportunity, get it to the net. You notice Skidmore’s second goal is really to rebound. They got it to the net, it’s sitting there, then some guy’s whacking away at it, and that’s what we need to do more of. We’re part way there ’cause we’re getting some shots, but we’re also not getting the second guy there, and the third guy isn’t high waiting for the high rebound. Those are the things that we need to work on.”

UNE will have their hands full tomorrow afternoon, taking on Castleton State (11-2-1 in the ECAC East, 17-2-1 overall) on home ice in a 4pm game.

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