ORONO, Maine — University of Maine sophomore goalie Matt Morris has suffered a season-ending injury and will be a medical redshirt this season, according to first-year head coach Red Gendron.
Due to privacy rules, Gendron couldn’t discuss the injury.
Morris was shown on crutches on his Facebook page, indicating a leg injury.
Gendron did say Morris is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the 2014-2015 season. Under NCAA guidelines which allow student-athletes five years in which to complete four years of eligibility, Morris will still have three years of eligibility beginning in the 2014-2015 season.
Morris appeared in six games for the Black Bears last season and had a 2-1 record with a 2.83 goals-against average and an .881 save percentage.
He made 21 saves in his first start, a 4-3 win over Army, and came on in relief of Martin Ouellette in the championship game of the Florida College Classic and stopped 22 of 23 shots over 49:27 as Maine rallied for a 6-4 win. He was named to the all-tournament team.
Ouellette and fellow senior Dan Sullivan return and sophomore Matt Strickrott will replace Morris as the number three goalie.
Strickrott, a native of Gilford, N.H., and a mechanical engineering major, was part of the team’s support staff last season, helping equipment manager Kevin Ritz and handling a variety of other chores also, including videotaping.
Strickrott last played for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs in the Eastern Junior Hockey League two seasons ago, compiling a 2.92 GAA and a .889 save percentage in five games.
“Matt [Morris] is a good goalie but we have two other goalies and a third one who is pretty damned good, too,” said Gendron.
“[Strickrott’s] level is very good. And he’s a great kid who loves hockey,” added Gendron. “He hadn’t planned to play here but he wanted to be involved with the program. [Morris] got hurt late in the process so we weren’t able to go get somebody. [Strickrott] was already on campus. I was aware of how good he was and everybody [affiliated with the team] knew him.”
Gendron said having a third goalie on the team is essential.
“It’s real vital, especially if one of the other two goalies is hurt. It’s tough to run a practice with one goalie,” said Gendron. “And, in a game, if something happens to the starting goalie, it’s a good idea to have another goalie on the bench.”
Ouellette emerged as the starting goalie a year ago, compiling a 2.42 GAA and a .917 save percentage to go with a 9-12-8 record. Two years ago, Sullivan was the starting goalie and he was 22-11-3 with a 2.59 GAA and a .909 save percentage. He made 30 or move saves in 10 games.
But Sullivan got off to a slow start last season and Ouellette won the job.
Maine has received a verbal commitment from a goalie for the 2014-15 season, Sean Romeo, who plays for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League.
Gendron indicated that they intend to bring in another goalie to join Morris and Romeo.