Vermont completes sweep of UMaine hockey team; Black Bears winless on road

Posted Nov. 30, 2013, at 10:59 p.m.

The University of Maine men’s hockey team’s road woes continued Saturday night.

H.T. Lenz scored just 56 seconds into the third period to break a 1-1 tie and Mario Puskarich added a power-play goal with 7:42 remaining as the University of Vermont kept the Black Bear winless on the road by posting a 5-2 victory at the Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, Vt.

Vermont (7-5-1) completed the weekend sweep while Maine fell to 6-6-1 including an 0-5-1 road record. Vermont had beaten Maine 3-2 on Friday night and went 3-1 against the Black Bears this season after they split in Orono on Nov. 8-9.

This weekend’s games were nonconference games.

Maine has scored only nine goals in its six road games.

Anthony DeCenzo staked Vermont to a 1-0 lead at the 12:39 mark of the second period before Steven Swavely tied it up with 1:40 left in the period while the Black Bears were shorthanded.

After Lenz and Puskarich made it 3-1, Maine pulled goalie Martin Ouellette in favor of the extra attacker and it paid off when Devin Shore scored with 2:07 remaining.

But Chris McCarthy sewed up the win with an empty-net goal with 58 seconds left and Connor Brickley added another empty-netter 30 seconds later.

Lenz’s go-ahead goal was set up by DeCenzo and Brickley.

Brickley got the puck to DeCenzo and he slid it across to the far post to Lenz who swept the puck past a helpless Ouellette.

Puskarich extended the lead five seconds after Maine captain Brice O’Connor was assessed a roughing penalty.

Puskarich pounced on a Michael Paliotta rebound and fired it past Ouellette for what proved to be the game-winner.

“We were asleep on that one,” said Maine coach Red Gendron. “We had a guy standing two feet away from (Puskarich).”

Shore made things interesting by deflecting Ben Hutton’s shot from the point past Mike Santaguida but McCarthy quelled the threat with his empty-net goal.

Sophomore center Shore extended his goal-scoring streak to four games. He has has five goals and two assists over that span.

Hutton, with the assist, also extended his points streak to four games (3 goals, 3 assists).

“We didn’t play great,” said Gendron. “We weren’t bad but we didn’t do what we needed to do, man-for-man, to win. The best thing I can say about this game was we didn’t quit.

“Winning on the road is hard. Everybody has to be razor-sharp. Everybody has to play well. You can’t have anybody taking the night off. Right now, we have that (sharpness) at home but we apparently don’t have the maturity yet (to be razor-sharp) for a full 60 minutes on the road. When the game is tied going into the third period, you have to be solid. You have to play with precision offensively and defensively. We have to learn to do it on the road.”

Maine is 6-1 at home.

Gendron praised Shore and Steven Swavely for their performances along with junior center Stu Higgins and the freshman line of Cam Brown between Blaine Byron and Brian Morgan.

Maine hit three goalposts.

Santaguida finished with 24 saves while Ouellette made 25.

Linemates Lenz, DeCenzo and Brickley each finished with a goal and two assists.

Maine will return to Hockey East action Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. when it hosts defending Hockey East regular-season and tournament champion UMass Lowell.

The game had been scheduled for Saturday night but was moved to accommodate the football team, which will host New Hampshire for a second-round Football Championship Subdivision game on Saturday at 2 p.m.

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