CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — University of Maine junior goaltender Martin Ouellette has had an exceptional season and he was finally rewarded for it this weekend.
Ouellette made 24 saves on Saturday night and junior right wing Jon Swavely scored a pair of goals as the Black Bears shocked the third-ranked Boston College Eagles for the second straight night, 3-1.
Maine ended a nine-game winless streak at Conte Forum (0-8-1) on Friday night 4-1.
Swavely’s first-period goal gave Maine a 1-0 lead and sophomore left wing Connor Leen extended it 2:48 into the third period before Swavely notched his second with 6:16 left.
Patrick Brown ruined Ouellette’s shutout bid with nine seconds left on a tip-in.
Maine improved to 7-14-4 overall, 3-9-4 in Hockey East while league leader and defending national champ BC fell to 14-7-2 and 11-6-1.
“I thought we showed marked improvement over Friday night’s game but Ouellette was outstanding,” said BC coach Jerry York. “We had some real good scoring opportunities.”
Ouellette wound up with 16 Grade-A (high-percentage) saves among his 24.
York also credited Maine for its performance.
“There haven’t been many teams that have come in here and swept us,” said York.
“They were a hungry, hard-working team,” said BC junior center Billy Arnold.
Ouellette said he tried to keep things simple and lauded his teammates for their play.
“The guys blocked shots and cleared rebounds. They played a great game,” said Ouellette.
Arnold said Ouellette was “real good at positioning himself and he’s a big kid (6-foot-2) who takes up a lot of net.”
Maine coach Tim Whitehead was happy with his team’s win and sweep.
“I’m obviously very pleased. I was proud with how hard the guys competed,” said Whitehead. “They played hard.”
Whitehead felt his team played much better in the third period protecting a one-goal lead than it did the previous night when the Bears had a 3-0 lead.
“I thought we were a little shaky Friday night. But the third period was our best period tonight,” he said.
Boston College had the better of the play in the first two periods but Ouellette was brilliant in keeping the Eagles off the scoreboard.
Swavely gave Maine the lead with 1:17 left in the first period off a nice play by Will Merchant.
BC was in the midst of a line change and Merchant got half a step on a BC defenseman while skating down the right wing.
The defenseman closed him off so Merchant smartly circled away from the defenseman and slid the puck to the oncoming Swavely, who took one stride and beat BC goalie Brian Billett with a wrist shot from 15 feet out.
“It was a textbook play,” said Swavely, whose two-goal game was the first of his career at Maine. “Will made a great pass and Steven (brother Steven Swavely) went to the net. I put it over [Billett’s] glove.”
Jon Swavely said he knew he had time to pick a spot because BC is an offensive-minded team and isn’t as conscientious defensively.
“I got caught shallow in my net,” said Brunswick native Billett.
Ouellette made a number of saves off one-on-one situations including late in the second period when a nifty passing sequence involving Johnny Gaudreau and Kevin Hayes resulted in a glittering opportunity for Destry Straight alone in front of Ouellette.
But Ouellette never flinched, held his ground and made the save.
A point shot from BC’s Patrick Wey hit the underside of the crossbar late in the second period and it was eventually reviewed. However, the ruling of no-goal stood.
Ouellette made two point-blank saves on Danny Linnell in the first period and another on Quinn Smith, who gained custody of the puck courtesy of an errant Maine pass along the right-wing boards and had a clear path to the net..
Ouellette squared himself to Smith and made the pad save.
“I just tried to stay real patient and hold my ground tonight,” said Ouellette. “I knew they were going to throw a lot of pucks to the net and also look for the back door pass.”
Leen scored his team-high seventh goal of the season by following up a rush by Devin Shore, pouncing on a Shore rebound and scoring with a wrister from a tight angle to the right of Billett.
Swavely made it 3-0 after a nice rush by Merchant.
Billett made the first save and stopped Swavely’s first opportunity but Swavely lifted home his own rebound.
“I tried a wrap-around and the puck came back to me and I put it upstairs,” said Swavely.
Billett finished with 26 saves including 11 Grade-A’s..
Swavely said he and his linemates(Steven Swavely and Merchant) talked about playing good, solid defense but also looking to create offense.
“We wanted to make some plays if we got the chance in the offensive zone,” said Swavely.
Senior defenseman and tri-captain Mark Nemec said the Black Bears brought a different attitude to Conte Forum this weekend.
“In past years, I think we were a little intimidated by their [national ranking],” said Nemec. “But we came in here feeling we had nothing to lose.”