ORONO, Maine — Since Jan. 1, 2012, the only team that has beaten Boston College more than twice is the University of Maine.
The Black Bears beat the Eagles for the fifth time during that span Saturday night as senior goalie Martin Ouellette made 33 saves and sophomores Devin Shore and Ben Hutton each scored a pair of goals to lead the Black Bears to a 5-1 hockey triumph at Alfond Arena.
According to UMaine interim athletic director Seth Woodcock, Saturday’s game was the first sellout at Alfond Arena in three years.
Maine is 5-3 against BC in that period of time while the Eagles are 47-13-7 against everyone else. Maine has won the last three meetings, outscoring BC 12-3.
Maine is now 6-4-1 overall including a 6-1 mark at Alfond Arena, where the Black Bears went just 2-9-6 a year ago. Maine is 3-2-1 in Hockey East.
The seventh-ranked Eagles are 8-3-2 and 4-1-1 in Hockey East. They had their seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) snapped. BC entered the game as the nation’s top-scoring team, averaging 4.5 goals per game.
“Maine did a good job in the defensive zone and their goalie was outstanding,” said BC senior center and captain Patrick Brown. “They were good off the rush. They came up the ice with speed and criss-crossed in the neutral zone.”
Shore scored just 37 seconds into the game to energize the sellout crowd of 5,125 and Hutton expanded the lead 3:39 later.
Ryan Lomberg made it 3-0 at the 14:32 mark before BC’s Scott Savage pulled one back for BC 2:55 later.
Shore extended the lead with the only goal of the second period and Hutton capped the scoring late in the third period.
“No question, getting the early lead was important,” said Maine coach Red Gendron. “This place was absolutely electric tonight. I didn’t see any empty seats. I don’t care how good you are, when you come to Maine and it’s rocking the way it was tonight, it is a pretty tough place to play.”
“I thought Maine played real well for the whole 60 minutes, especially the first period,” said BC coach Jerry York. “They had us back on our heels and that 3-0 lead proved to be insurmountable for us. It gave them a lot of emotion and confidence.”
Shore opened the scoring by converting a two-on-one with Connor Leen. He drove to the net and Leen fed him a perfect pass which he simply had to redirect past BC goalie Brian Billett of Brunswick.
“It never hurts to get one on your first shift, regardless of who gets it,” said Shore. “It was a perfect pass. I got the toe of my backhand on it. I didn’t get much on it. It was kind of lucky.”
Hutton converted a give-and-go with Josh Henke as he cruised down the slot and tucked a short backhander into the short side corner.
“(Billett) was cheating. I think he thought I was going to pull it to my forehand. I had a lot of room open on the short side,” said Hutton.
Lomberg scored on a delayed penalty as BC’s Bill Arnold was called for interference.
Jon Swavely got his own rebound after his first shot was blocked by a BC defenseman’s stick and he flipped the puck toward the net where it bounced around until Lomberg swatted it home from the edge of the crease.
Savage scored with a snap shot to the blocker-side from the inside of the right faceoff circle with 2012-13 Hobey Baker Award finalist Johnny Gaudreau, the nation’s leading scorer, and Ian McCoshen assisting..
BC carried the play in the second period, outshooting Maine 14-7, but Ouellette was sharp and Shore made it 4-1 when Billett spilled the rebound of a Steven Swavely wrister into his path. Shore deposited a backhander into the vacant net.
Hutton capped the scoring with a screened wrist shot from the midpoint past Brad Barone, who replaced Billett at the outset of the third period.
“The guys played great for a full 60 minutes,” said Ouellette, who finished with 14 Grade-A (high-percentage) saves among his 33. “They made my job easy most of the time. They contained BC’s all-star players. I didn’t have to face many second or third shots.”
BC had some stretches where it controlled the puck and cycled it in the offensive zone for long periods of time.
But York said, “We didn’t get the puck to the critical blue-paint (the goalie crease) areas. (Ouellette) made some good saves but he didn’t have to make any great saves.”
BC outshot Maine 34-29.