ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine’s freshman class had a period to remember and UMass freshman goalie Alex Wakaluk had a period to forget.
Four Maine freshmen scored goals in a six-goal second period and the Black Bears went on to post an 8-4 men’s hockey win and complete a weekend sweep Saturday night at Alfond Arena.
Maine is now 3-2 and has won three straight while UMass fell to 2-4.
They were non-conference games and the two will play a pair of Hockey East games in Amherst, Mass., next weekend.
Left wing Brian Morgan, right wings Blaine Byron and Josh Henke and center Cam Brown scored as Maine erupted for five unanswered goals at the expense of Wakaluk, who was making his college debut.
That gave Maine a 6-2 lead after two periods and Steven Swavely added a shorthanded goal 6:33 into the third period before power-play goals 2:41 apart by Troy Power and Mike Pereira pulled the Minutemen within three. But Mark Anthoine’s shorthanded empty-net goal with 1:23 left iced it.
Anthoine finished with two goals and two assists while Byron and Brown had a goal and three assists apiece and Henke had an assist to go with his goal.
UMass scored the only goal in the first period as Troy Power’s shorthanded goal off a perfect feed from Steven Iacobellis gave the Minutemen a well-deserved lead in a period it completely dominated.
But Maine goalie Martin Ouellette made several key saves to prevent the Minutemen from expanding their lead.
“We talked about UMass pushing back and they absolutely did in the first period,” said Maine coach Red Gendron. “We were perhaps fortunate to be down only 1-0. So we talked about answering the bell in the second period and we did.”
Henke opened the second-period scoring at the 1:33 mark before Pereira restored the UMass lead on the power play 5:06 later.
But Morgan drew the Bears level at the 9:06 mark and triggered the five-goal outburst.
Brown put Maine ahead to stay at 11:14, Byron scored a power-play goal 2:45 later and the Black Bears received pivotal goals from senior left wing Anthoine (power play) and junior defenseman Jake Rutt in the final 51 seconds of the period.
“It would have been nice to get back into the clubhouse just down by two and try to regroup and refocus. But before you know it, we were down 6-2,” said UMass coach John Micheletto.
Anthoine was set up nicely by Byron, who had the puck in the left circle but passed up a shot to slide it to him.
“[Anthoine] found an open space and I was able to get it over to him. It worked out well,” said Byron.
Anthoine was positioned at the edge of the crease and kicked Byron’s pass to his stick before flipping it over Wakaluk.
Rutt’s goal with five seconds left in the period came on a screened wrist shot from the midpoint off a Henke pass.
Wakaluk was replaced by junior Steve Mastalerz at the outset of the third period and Swavely beat him to the glove side after UMass defenseman Ben Gallacher had coughed up the puck.
The goals by Power and Pereira reduced the deficit with 7:33 remaining but Anthoine banked a clearance off the boards and it trickled into the empty net for his fourth goal of the season, which matches his goal total from last season.
Henke had tied it 1-1 by skating down the right wing on a three-on-two and snapping a shot from the faceoff dot that beat the son of former NHL goalie Darcy Wakaluk to the short side past his glove.
The Minutemen regained the lead when Pereira burst down the right wing and took a soft backhander that slipped between the pads of Ouellette.
Morgan tied it at the nine-minute mark of the middle period by pouncing on a Brown rebound and depositing it past the helpless Wakaluk.
Byron’s cross-ice pass resulted in Brown’s 15-foot one-timer on the power play to give Maine the lead for good.
“He sold the goalie really well and gave it to me at the back door and I pretty much had an empty net. It was a nice play by [Byron],” said Brown.
Byron extended the lead by swatting home a Brown rebound at the 13:59 mark on the power play.
“[Gendron] emphasizes driving the net, playing fast hockey and winning puck battles. I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time,” said Byron.
Ouellette finished with 28 saves including 16 of the Grade-A (high-percentage) variety.
Wakaluk made 17 saves, including eight Grade-A’s, and Mastalerz made seven more including three Grade-A stops.