ORONO, Maine — Junior Martin Ouellette will remain the No. 1 goalie for the University of Maine’s hockey team despite the fact he has been pulled in two of his last four starts.
On each occasion, Ouellette was replaced in the second game of a weekend set.
Ouellette made 31 saves in a 1-1 overtime tie against Northeastern on Friday night but allowed four goals on 17 shots in a 6-0 loss to Merrimack on Saturday night and was removed in favor of freshman Matt Morris 6:11 into the second period.
Morris went on to make seven saves on nine shots.
After making 31 saves in a 1-0 win over Minnesota-Duluth in the first round of the Florida College Classic on Dec. 28, Ouellette allowed three goals on six shots over 10:33 of the championship game against Cornell before being replaced by Morris, who backstopped the come-from-behind 6-4 triumph with 22 saves on 23 shots.
“[Ouellette’s] our guy. He has played very well for us. He was great on Friday night,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead.
Entering the Merrimack game, Ouellette had a sparkling 1.81 goals-against average and .934 save percentage over his previous 10 starts and had even more impressive statistics (1.62 GAA, .941) over his previous eight games.
Ouellette didn’t offer any excuses for the two poor games, saying he wasn’t fatigued in either game in which he was pulled.
“I wasn’t tired. It just happens like that sometimes. You can’t be perfect,” said Ouellette. “Merrimack likes to throw pucks to the net from weird angles and they crash the net really well,” said Ouellette, who will face the Warriors against this weekend when they invade Alfond Arena for a two-game set.
He said he will be ready.
“I’m going to watch some video,” said Ouellette. “I’ve got to play better. I’ve got to give our team a chance to win. We want to win the season series with Merrimack.”
On the year, Ouellette is 3-6-3 with a 2.29 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. His GAA is 26th-best in the country among 59 teams and he is 34th in save percentage.
He has held opponents to two goals or less eight times.
Morris is 2-1 with a 2.83 GAA and a .881 save percentage and junior Dan Sullivan, who won 22 games a year ago, is 0-6 with a 3.34 GAA and a .898 save percentage.
Sullivan hasn’t played since he made 41 saves in a 4-0 loss to New Hampshire on Nov. 4.