CANTON, N.Y. — Senior goaltender Matt Weninger continued his mastery over the University of Maine’s Black Bears and helped ruin the debut of Maine head coach Red Gendron.
Weninger made 25 saves and the St. Lawrence Saints received second-period goals from junior right wing Patrick Doherty and sophomore center Brian Ward to snap a 1-1 tie and post a 3-1 victory over the Black Bears on Friday night in a mutual men’s hockey season-opener at Appleton Arena.
The teams will play again on Saturday night at 7.
Weninger is now 3-0 against Maine. He stopped 66 of 67 shots in a 5-0, 5-1 series sweep in Orono last October.
A pair of freshmen opened the scoring as SLU defenseman Gavin Bayreuther staked the Saints to a 1-0 lead 13:07 into the first period before Maine left wing Blaine Byron equalized just 1:48 into the second period.
But Doherty answered just 1:52 later with a shot from the right circle that beat Maine goalie Martin Ouellette to the far side past his blocker.
Ward extended the lead when he knocked home the rebound of a Woody Hudson shot from the slot.
Bayreuther had scored off a pass from Greg Carey after coming off the bench on a line change.
Carey slid it across to him and he cleanly beat Ouellette.
SLU outshot Maine 11-6 in the first period.
Byron tied it off a feed from fellow freshman Brian Morgan, who busted down the right wing before finding his linemate with a pinpoint pass. Center Cam Brown, the other member of the all-freshmen line, also picked up an assist.
Maine outshot SLU 12-8 in the second period.
The Bears couldn’t pull any closer as they took four penalties in the third period to limit their ability to generate scoring chances.
“We played hard but nowhere near good enough to win,” said Gendron. “We made some mistakes defensively and, offensively, we didn’t have the kind of poise we needed to score more goals against this team. In some cases, we didn’t have enough effort around their net.”
He said the turning point was St. Lawrence’s second goal.
“We hung our heads a little after that one instead of just keep playing,” said Gendron.
“But we played pretty well in that second period. We carried the play. We could score just the one goal, though, ” said Gendron.
“In the third period, we took a bunch of undisciplined penalties,” continued Gendron. “That was the thing that made me mad.
“But that has already been addressed. It’s going to change or the people involved won’t play. It’s very simple. I don’t care who you are,” said Gendron.
Andrew Cerretani took a pair of penalties with Jake Rutt and Brice O’Connor taking the others.
The coach added that the play of the all-freshmen line of Byron, Brown and Morgan was a bright spot.
“They didn’t just score the goal, they were good all night,” said Gendron who also praised Ouellette, who finished with 28 saves.
“He was very good. He made several outstanding saves,” said Gendron who indicated that there will be some lineup changes for Saturday night’s game.