Maine Hockey Journal

Maine earns first win of the season

(PHOTO: Alex Shehata)

(PHOTO: Alex Shehata)

ORONO – Eric Schurhamer and the University of Maine Black Bears (1-4-0) held on for a 3-1 victory Friday evening against the University Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves (3-1-0), scoring a late go-ahead goal with less than five minutes left in the game before 3,599 at Alfond Arena.

The goal secured Maine’s first win of the season Friday night.

Alaska-Anchorage and Maine fought tooth and nail deep into the third period to figure out who was going to break a 1-1 tie when Schurhamer was able to poke a sitting puck between the pads of Seawolves goaltender Olivier Mantha into the back of the net for the 2-1 lead.

“Liam took it to the net,” said Schurhamer. “He did a good job doing that. I think Swavely just took a whack at it, and I remember being at the top of the circle and kind of just got there as fast as I could and got the rebound.”

Cam Brown capped off the night with an empty-net goal for his third of the season.

The Seawolves, who came into Alfond Arena with an undefeated record of 3-0-1, took the early lead on defenseman Austin Coldwell’s first goal of the season midway through the first period after Mark Hamilton was called for interference.

“It was our first loss of the year so obviously, always little disheartening,” said Alaska-Anchorage head coach and former Maine assistant, Matt Thompson, after the game.

“I think we battled hard, I think we came on the road and put on a great performance. At the end of the day, I think Maine played a heck of a game.”

Maine showed its grit and bounced back less than a minute after falling behind when senior Jake Rutt was able to find the back of the net with assists from Cedric Lecroix and Malcolm Hayes.

The Black Bears struggled in the second period staying out of the penalty box, giving the Seawolves plenty of chances to take a one-goal lead. Matt Morris stood tall and stopped whatever Alaska-Anchorage had to throw at him on both penalty kills, keeping the Black Bears and Seawolves tied after two periods.

“I was seeing the puck pretty well,” said Morris. “My defenseman did a great job keeping the shots to the outside. It’s always tough when we take penalties, but our penalty killers were tremendous today,” Matt Morris said after the game.

Both goalies were tested early and often with a total of 29 first period shots. Morris would end the night with 33 saves while Mantha stopped 38 of the 40 shots he saw.

Alaska-Anchorage was short a forward for half of the game after Brad Duwe laid motionless for a minute on the ice, sustaining a hard hit in Maine’s offensive zone midway through the period.

Duwe left with an apparent head injury as he was seen grabbing the back of his helmet as he slowly skated off the ice and to the Seawolves locker room.

Meanwhile, a new line combination of Steven Swavely, Jack Musil, and Blaine Byron produced the best offensive chances on the night, but the fact remains that the Black Bears offense continues to lack confidence.

Despite coming up with a big win. Maine finished 0-for-4 with the man-advantage while passing up an easy shot or the obvious pass on several occasions, doing more than what was required.

It’s a problem head coach Red Gendron stressed after last weekend’s sweep against Union College.

“It was a very, very solid team effort,” Gendron said in the post-game press conference.

“It wasn’t perfect. A lot of things we’re going to have to do better if we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win tomorrow.”

Maine and Alaska-Anchorage finish off the weekend series Saturday night at Alfond Arena with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m.

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