Simplicity key to productive night for UMaine hockey’s freshman line

UMass's Adam Phillips (center) skates with the puck between the University of Maine's Dan Renouff (right) and Brian Morgan during the first period of the game in Orono Saturday night.
Gabor Degre | BDN
UMass's Adam Phillips (center) skates with the puck between the University of Maine's Dan Renouff (right) and Brian Morgan during the first period of the game in Orono Saturday night. Buy Photo
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 28, 2013, at 5:55 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — Simplicity can be the primary key to success.

University of Maine freshman right wing Blaine Byron said it was important in his all-freshman line’s productivity in Saturday night’s 8-4 win over UMass.

The trio of center Cam Brown, Byron and left wing Brian Mogan combined for three goals and six assists.

“We just try to use our speed and make simple plays,” said the 6-foot, 165-pound Byron, who is from Manotick, Ontario. “As a freshman line, we’re just trying to keep it simple. We try to find the [open] areas and find each other.”

Brown and Morgan each scored their first collegiate goals and Byron and Brown finished with a goal and three assists apiece.

Brown and Byron are now tied for second on the team in scoring with five points in five games. Brown has a goal and four assists and Byron has two goals and three assists. Morgan has a goal and an assist. Senior left wing Mark Anthoine leads with six points (4 goals, 2 assists).

“We’re starting to click,” said Brown, a 5-foot-7, 150-pound native of Natick, Mass. “Good things have been happening. We’ve been working well together in practice and we’re pretty close off the ice, too, and that definitely helps.”

Maine coach Red Gendron put the line together before the season-opener at St. Lawrence.

“Brown looked like he could be the catalyst for the line, someone who was solid in the middle. It looked like that line made sense,” said Gendron. “They played well at St. Lawrence, not as well against Bentley, but everybody has good games and bad games. They were quiet on Friday night, but we won, so we didn’t make any changes and they came alive on Saturday.”

On the ice, with each practice and game, the freshmen also gain a familiarity with each other.

“We’re definitely building chemistry. The whole team has really come together. Each day we’re getting closer and closer. I think that’s huge,” said Byron. “People are feeding off each other. We’re trying to do the little things right and play fast hockey.”

Morgan said getting to know each other’s skills and tendencies has been vital.

“That’s a big part. I used to play with Cam with the [New Hampshire] Junior Monarchs a few years back and we’re getting to know Blaine,” said the 5-11, 176-pound Morgan, who hails from Windham, N.H. “Getting to play together definitely helps all of us.”

All three came off productive seasons in junior hockey.

Morgan had 20 goals and 11 assists in 59 games for Indiana and Muskegon in the United States Hockey League; Brown had 16 and 20 in 61 games for Youngstown and Sioux City in the USHL and Byron had 12 and 40 in 51 games for Smiths Falls and Kemptville in the Central Canada Hockey League.

Byron won the league’s Top Prospect Award and was selected in the sixth round of the NHL draft (179th overall) by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Morgan said the three of them have similar skill sets.

“Each of us can do what the others can. So what we need to do is get the puck deep into the offensive zone. If we do that, we can do a lot of really good things,” said Morgan.

Brown and Byron are also on one of Maine’s power-play units.

Outburst first since 2002

Maine’s six-goal outburst in the second period of Saturday night’s win marked the first time in 11 years the Black Bears had scored six goals in a period.

Maine scored six in the second period of an 8-2 win over Northeastern on Nov. 15, 2002.

And Maine’s two power-play goals each night — Maine won Friday night’s game 3-2 in overtime — marked the first time the Black Bears have scored more than one power-play goal in consecutive games since they tallied three in a 7-4 win over Boston College on Jan. 21, 2012, and two in a 4-2 victory over Boston University on Jan. 27.

Maine now has more home wins, three, than it had all of last year (2-9-6).

Bruins announcer recalls ’93

Dave Goucher, the radio play-by-play man for the Boston Bruins, made his first appearance at Alfond Arena in 20 years when he did the television play-by-play for the NBC Sports Network during Friday night’s Maine-UMass game at Alfond Arena. Maine won 3-2 in overtime.

The last game he called at Alfond Arena?

Boston University’s 7-6 overtime win over Maine, the only loss in Maine’s 42-1-2 NCAA championship season.

“Mike Pomichter passed it to Mike Prendergast on a two-on-one [for the game-winner],” recalled Goucher, who was a senior at BU and called the game for the BU radio network. “BU had trailed 6-2 at one time.

“My broadcast partner and I used our call of that goal as our answering machine message for a month after that. We were nerdy geeks back then,” chuckled Goucher, a three-time AP New England play-by-play award recipient.

Goucher said he enjoyed being back at Alfond Arena.

“It’s fun. And it turned out to be a good game,” said Goucher, who works with former Black Bear Bob Beers, who is his color analyst.

Goucher had done Bruins games the previous two nights and called another Bruins game against New Jersey on Saturday.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/10/28/sports/simplicity-key-to-productive-night-for-umaine-hockeys-freshman-line/ printed on April 25, 2014