ORONO, Maine — University of Maine junior goalie Dan Sullivan is in the process of rectifying a problem in his game that saw him get pulled and replaced by freshman Matt Morris in both men’s hockey losses against St. Lawrence over the weekend.
After turning in a brilliant 33-save performance in a 1-0 loss to Notre Dame in the Ice Breaker Tournament two weekends ago, Sullivan allowed seven goals on just 28 shots in the two losses to St. Lawrence.
“I need to extend my glove more and get it more out in front of me. And I need to focus on leaning into pucks [instead of being back],” explained Sullivan, who gave up three scores on shots to his glove side, including both goals on Saturday night.
Maine coach Tim Whitehead said he was surprised by the “dip” in his team’s goaltending, but added subpar performances are going to happen “even with experienced goaltenders.
“I’m sure Danny will bounce back strong. And we’ve got Martin [junior Martin Ouellette] and [Morris] chomping at the bit to get more ice time,” said Whitehead. “We’ll give them all a fair shot this week. It’s a clean slate. They’ll all have a shot to win the job.”
He added that just because Sullivan had a rough weekend, “We aren’t going to forget how far he has come. He has an advantage because the great deposits he has made to the bank over the last two years.”
Sullivan said he is looking forward to the challenge of improving his game.
Lomberg enjoyed Alfond atmosphere
Ryan Lomberg, the youngest player on the Maine team at 17, finally made his debut during the weekend after sitting out the first three games with a broken foot.
And after a strong performance in Friday night’s 5-0 loss to St. Lawrence, he moved up from the third line to the top line with freshman Devin Shore and senior Joey Diamond for the second game.
“He deserved it,” said Whitehead. “He was very strong and very impressive. He played hard, and he played smart.”
Lomberg said the atmosphere at Alfond Arena was memorable.
“The fans were awesome. I wish we could have given them a better performance. But it happens,” said Lomberg.
Lomberg had just one week of practice with the team after skating by himself for a week.
He said with the guidance of the training staff and coaches, “I tried my my hardest to get back into game shape as quickly as possible, but there’s nothing that gets you into game shape better than playing in games.
“I was winded a little bit but I tried to press through, and with fans like that, it’s hard to get tired out there,” said Lomberg, who led the Muskegon Lumberjacks in scoring a year ago with 22 goals and 18 assists.
As for judging his performance, he said, “I thought I played all right. I definitely need to get better.”
Whitehead said one of the few bright spots on the weekend was the play of all of his freshmen.
“They’ve all shown they belong and can make an impact,” said Whitehead.