ORONO, Maine — In the midst of a 19-game drought without a goal, Chase Pearson speculated that once he notched that first one, more goals would be forthcoming.
The University of Maine sophomore center and co-captain was right.
Pearson, a 14-goal scorer last year, notched his first of the season in a 5-2 win at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Dec. 30 and he has lit the goal lamp five more times over the next nine games.
He goes into this week’s two-game men’s hockey series against Merrimack College with a three-game points streak (3 goals, 1 assists) and with points in eight of his last nine games (5 & 6).
UMaine (14-9-4 overall, 8-6-3 Hockey East) and Merrimack (7-15-4, 4-11-2 HE) play at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday.
Pearson (6 goals, 18 assists) and sophomore linemate Mitch Fossier (8 & 16) are UMaine’s leading scorers with 24 points each. The No. 3 scorer is their linemate, freshman right wing Eduards Tralmaks (9 & 12).
Pearson has 16 points (3 & 13) in 17 Hockey East games which ties him for seventh in the league. He is tied for the league lead in assists.
Pearson said breaking the scoring famine, “lifted a weight off my shoulders and helped my confidence.
“The more you score, the more confidence you have with the puck. You have a little more feel for it. You have a little more patience and you make plays that you can score on,” said Pearson.
“Chase plays the game the right way and when you play the right way, offensively and defensively, good things will happen,” said senior center and alternative captain Cedric Lacroix. “It was just a matter of time (before he scored). Hopefully, he’ll keep the production up.”
“It was a little strange over the first half of the season, he couldn’t seem to put one away,” said Fossier. “But he had X amount of assists so it wasn’t that he wasn’t involved in the offense.”
The fifth-round draft pick of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings said being a captain as a sophomore “added a lot of pressure at first” and admitted that he has had his struggles with it.
“I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “I lead by example. You have to handle things the right way at the rink and away from the rink. You’re always under the microscope.”
“Chase is a natural born leader,” said Fossier. “He’s very well-respected in the locker room. He has done a great job so far and it shows in our record and our play.”
Pearson said it has been nice to be respected by his his teammates and that they have been responsive to him.
His line has been highly productive of late but UMaine has exhibited scoring depth. Fifteen Black Bears have at least three goals and nine have scored six or more.
“We have four lines that can put the puck in the net which is big for our team,” said Pearson.
“That’s what I like about this team, everyone can contribute. It’s not just a single guy,” said Lacroix.
UMaine’s defensemen have scored 19 goals.
Follow BDN Maine Sports on Facebook for the latest in Maine high school and college sports.