Maine Hockey Journal

Union sweeps Black Bears

(PHOTO: Alex Shehata)

(PHOTO: Alex Shehata)

ORORO – The Union College Dutchmen erupted in the second period for three goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the University of Maine men’s ice hockey team Saturday night at Alfond Arena in Orono.

A homecoming crowd of 4,657 was in attendance to see the Black Bears lose its second home game of the season.

The number-two team in the nation struck early again, opening up a 1-0 lead, this time less than a minute into the game.

Daniel Ciampini finished off a two-on-one chance with a wide-open one-timer in at the top of the Maine crease at 19:09 of the first period.

Defenseman Jeff Taylor recorded his third assist of the season while forward Spence Foo chipped in with his second assist.

Despite the early deficit, the Black Bear offense was a little more aggressive out of the gates than Friday night, surely answering head coach Red Gendron’s complaints of a lack of effort from the previous game.

Goaltender Sean Romeo was active to helping the Black Bears hold off a potent Union power play on its only opportunity of the first period.

Dutchmen goaltender Colin Stevens proved to be just as important in the penalty kill, keeping the game scoreless after Maine’s first and only power play chance of the first period.

Cam Brown tied the game at 1-1 on Maine’s first power-play goal of the season at 3:59 of the second period.

Union quickly answered with three straight goals, beginning with Michael Pontarelli’s first goal of the season, a power-play goal, at 5:48.

Sophomore forward Mike Vecchione notched his fourth assist on the Pontarelli’s goal.

Union freshman Ryan Scarfo extended the Dutchmen’s lead, 3-1, two-minutes later, chasing Sean Romeo from the Maine net on an unassisted goal, his first of the season, at 7:29.

Ciampini finished off the Dutchmen’s offensive flurry with his second goal of the game, beating Matt Morris, who came in relief for Romeo, at 12:47 of the second period.

The second frame also proved to be a busy one in both penalty boxes as the teams recorded a total of eight penalties, four each, for a total of 19-minutes including a game misconduct for Maine freshman Nolan Vesey.

Vesey ejected in the second period after receiving a five-minute power play and game misconduct for spearing a Union forward, giving the Dutchmen their second five-minute power play of the weekend.

Maine killed off the major penalty, but the Dutchmen opened up a 5-1 lead midway through the third period with J.C. Brassard’s slap shot from the point, beating a heavily screened Morris at 11:16.

Referee’s reviewed the play, but it ultimately stood for the Dutchmen’s second power-play goal, as Union finished the night 2-for-6 with the man-advantage.

Maine ended their power-play slump but went a dismal 1-for-6 on the night and has only converted on 1-of-17 tries so far this season.

Cam Brown netted his second goal of the game at 2:22 of the third period to bring the Black Bears within three late in the game, but the Dutchmen lead was too much to overcome. Colin Stevens earned his fourth win in net for the Dutchmen in 2014-‘15.

Although Union improves to 4-0-0 on the season, head coach Rick Bennett doesn’t feel satisfied.

“It was almost a playoff type of atmosphere, and I’m glad our guys weathered it,” he said. “To pull two wins out of here, just talking to numerous people, is supposed to be a super feeling. Well, I don’t feel so super to be honest with you.”

He added that his team could stronger in many areas and has many things to work on going forward.

For Maine, it’s back to lifting weights and hitting the practice rink according head coach Red Gendron, who said starting the season with four straight losses is unacceptable but that the effort is there.

“First of all the blame goes to me,” Gendron said. “We will begin the process of overcoming our problems. End of story.”

The Black Bears return to action next weekend to play host to the University of Alaska-Anchorage for a pair of games beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Alfond Arena.

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