ORONO, Maine —- The University of Maine put together a thorough 60-minute performance on Sunday afternoon as the Black Bears scored timely goals and received a stellar 34-save performance from freshman Sean Romeo to upset No. 17 Boston College 4-2 at Alfond Arena.
Maine improved to 8-15-1 overall and 3-7 in Hockey East while Boston College had its eight-game unbeaten streak (6-0-2) snapped and fell to 13-8-2 and 6-5-2, respectively.
It was Maine’s first Hockey East win since a 3-2 victory over UMass on Nov. 1.
“It felt really good. Every single guy in the room played a complete game,” Maine’s Devin Shore said.
Crucial third-period goals by Shore and Cedric Lacroix answered goals by Boston College’s Michael Sit and Ryan Fitzgerald which had pulled the Eagles within a goal.
Jake Rutt and Liam Pecararo broke scoring droughts in the second period to supply the Black Bears with a 2-0 lead. It was the second goal of the season for both as it was for Lacroix.
Sit cut the lead in half courtesy of a poor Black Bear line change 1:57 into the third period but Shore responded with a four-on-four goal 6:51 later.
Fitzgerald again rallied the Eagles to within one with 3:58 left in regulation but Lacroix restored the two-goal edge just 1:05 later.
BC goalie Thatcher Demko finished with 26 stops.
“This was one of our best wins of the season,” said senior defenseman Rutt, who also had an assist to supply him with his first multiple-point game of the season. “We got contributions from everyone.”
Maine coach Red Gendron said the team demonstrated that it can play with anybody.
“We just have to put together a whole 60 minutes and we need everybody to be at their best. It’s not rocket science,” said Gendron. “We got numerous contributions from a large number of players including some players who didn’t appear on the scoresheet. We also had players who don’t typically show up on the scoresheet and they did tonight. And other players we hope to score more consistently and they did.”
After Sit had scored by poking in his own rebound which came off the crossbar, Shore scored with a backhander off an Eric Schurhamer rebound. Shore had won the faceoff back to Schurhamer.
“I went to the front of the net to screen and I saw the puck at my feet so I took a whack at it,” said Shore.
Fitzgerald drove to the net and redirected an Alex Tuch pass behind Romeo but Lacroix capitalized by swooping on a loose puck during the continuation of play after Cam Brown had been tripped for a penalty. Lacroix carried the puck around a defenseman before beating Demko.
“It was kind of odd. Play froze because of the penalty. Maybe they thought the play was over. I saw the puck, took it, protected it and put it through the goalie’s pads,” said Lacroix.
Rutt, who had gone 17 games without a goal, opened the scoring shortly after BC’s Destry Straight had rattled a 17-foot wrister off the post.
Shore circled out of the corner to Demko’s right, fought off an Eagle, and slipped the puck to Rutt at the midpoint. Rutt took a quick look before snapping a screened shot that sailed by the blocker of the screened Demko.
Rutt turned provider on the Pecararo goal 4:13 later, the freshman’s first after a 13-game famine.
Rutt took a pass from Brown and flipped a wrister toward the net. Pecararo, with his back to the net, was able to get his stick on Rutt’s shot and deflect it into the short-side corner on Demko’s blocker side.
“I saw [Pecararo] at the last second and he made a nice tip,” said Rutt.
Romeo had kept the game scoreless early in the second period when he made a terrific left-pad save on Chris Calnan’s point-blank one-timer off an Adam Gilmour feed.
“I knew [Gilmour] was low in the slot and didn’t have a shot so I read the pass across,” said Romeo who had scrambled across to rob Gilmour off a Calnan feed with two seconds left in the first period.
“Sean was phenomenal. He made some big saves when it was 0-0 which gave us a chance to win. He was definitely a big part of the win,” Lacroix said.
“I thought I played well,” said Romeo, who had 20 Grade-A (high-percentage) stops compared to Demko’s 10. “I kind of struggled handling a few pucks that were shot at me but the guys bailed me out.”
Gendron said he liked the fact his team kept attacking even after surrendering a goal.
“They were good at rebounding after we scored,” said BC senior center Sit.
Gendron was also pleased with his team’s penalty-killing, which was a perfect 6-for-6.
Rutt and Shore each had a goal and an assist and Brown had two assists.