ORONO, Maine — It’s always nice to have scoring balance and the University of Maine men’s hockey team had that this weekend.
UMaine received goals from four different scorers and 23 saves from sophomore Jeremy Swayman en route to a 4-1 victory over St. Lawrence University on Saturday night.
Freshman right wing Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup’s first collegiate goal, coming just 31 seconds into the game, gave the Black Bears a lead they would never relinquish as they built a 3-0 lead.
UMaine completed the sweep after winning Friday’s opener 3-1 behind Chase Pearson’s two goals, another by Ryan Smith and Swayman’s 16 saves.
UMaine received its seven goals from six different players over the weekend.
“It’s nice to get [a goal] on the first shift. It takes the pressure off you,” UMaine head coach Red Gendron said. “We didn’t score our first goal until it was halfway through the game on Friday.”
“It was a great weekend sweep for our program. We got off to a much better start tonight,” Gendron said.
Patrick Shea’s short-handed goal early in the second-period and Rob Michel’s goal with 5:42 left in the period extended the lead to 3-0 before Ryan Garvey pulled one back for the Saints with 2:42 remaining.
Tim Doherty added an insurance goal in the third period.
Eight of Swayman’s saves were of the Grade-A (high-percentage) variety, while St. Lawrence senior goalie Arthur Brey made 16 Grade-A stops among his 35.
“We came out flying, offensively and defensively,” said UMaine sophomore defenseman Brady Keeper, who notched two assists. “We stuck to the game plan and it really worked for us.”
“There were a lot of positives we can build on,” said junior left wing and alternate captain Mitch Fossier, who also had two assists.
Shea converted a 2-on-1 with Fossier, who carried the puck down the right wing and threaded the needle with his pass to Shea, who one-timed it inside the short-side post.
“Our penalty-killing was terrific all weekend,” said Gendron, whose Black Bears limited St. Lawrence to two shots on goal on four power play chances Friday night after holding them to one power play goal in eight chances and just three shots on goal.
Michel scored off his own rebound after he made a nifty move to avoid a checker at the right point and maneuvered into a prime shooting position in the middle of the slot. Brey saved his initial shot but the rebound spilled to Michel’s left and he was able to pull it from his backhand to his forehand and beat Brey with a wrister to the short side.
Garvey scored on a 4-on-2 when Zach Risteau fed the puck to the middle of the slot and Jake Stevens sizzled a one-timer that Swayman stopped with his stick. But the puck dropped to the ice and Garvey directed it into the net.
Doherty scored 7:07 into the third period when he pounced on the rebound of a Keeper center ice flip-in, took a few strides and fired a wrist shot past Brey.
Schmidt-Svejstrup, a 26-goal scorer for the United States Hockey League’s Clark Cup champion Fargo Force last season, supplied the Black Bears with a good start by one-timing a Chase Pearson pass into the short-side corner past the glove of Brey.
The Black Bears had generated a 3-on-2, and Fossier fed Alexis Binner between the face-off dots. Brey saved Binner’s one-timer with his blocker, but Pearson eventually tracked the puck down behind the net and slipped it to Schmidt-Svejstrup, who was alone inside the right face-off dot.
“I was screaming for the puck, Chase put it on my stick and I fired away,” Schmidt-Svejstrup said.
UMaine carried the play in the period, but Brey made 13 saves to keep the Saints within one. UMaine held a 14-5 margin in shots on goal.
“We got caught out of position right out of the gate [for the goal] and that livened up the building,” said St. Lawrence coach Mark Morris, who had 14 freshmen and sophomores in his lineup.
“Maine was pretty opportunistic and their goalie is great,” Morris said.
Schmidt-Svejstrup had an assist to go with his goal, and Alexis Binner and Pearson each had an assist.
UMaine attempted 70 shots to St. Lawrence’s 40 and had a 39-24 edge in shots on goal.
Talented UMaine freshman left wing Adam Dawe was shaken up when he was blindsided by St. Lawrence defenseman Dylan Woolf with 1:50 left in the game. Shea confronted Woolf and the two got into a brief altercation, which resulted in each receiving five-minute majors for fighting and a game disqualification.
Woolf was also given a five-minute contact-to-the head penalty.
Both miss their team’s next game under NCAA rules pertaining to fighting majors. Woolf could receive a further suspension due to the contact to the head major.
UMaine athletic trainer Paul Culina tended to Dawe and Dawe was able to skate off to the locker room under his own power.
UMaine will travel to take on defending NCAA champ the University of Minnesota-Duluth, 2-1-1, next Friday and Saturday at 8.
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