University of Maine sophomore Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup notched his first career two-goal game last Saturday in a 4-3 loss at Quinnipiac.
On Friday night, the left winger registered another. This time, his offensive efforts helped provide the Black Bears with a 2-1 Hockey East victory over Vermont at the Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, Vermont.
“He is a shooter. He has always had the ability to do what he’s doing now,” UMaine head coach Red Gendron said. “He worked his tail off all summer back home in Denmark and he has more confidence.”
UMaine (4-2) is 1-1 in Hockey East play while the Catamounts fell to 1-2 and 0-1, respectively.
Schmidt-Svejstrup, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound native of Charlottenlund, Denmark, scored the game-winner on the power play with 6:21 left in the game after staking UMaine to a 1-0 lead with a first-period goal.
Joey Cippolone equalized for Vermont 5:12 into the third period by flipping home an Andrew Lucas rebound.
UMaine junior goalie Jeremy Swayman finished with 31 saves and has now posted a 1.01 goals-against average and a .962 save percentage over his last five games.
Vermont senior Stefanos Lekkas also wound up with 31 stops.
Schmidt-Svejstrup, who snapped a 12-game goalless drought with a goal in UMaine’s season-ending 2-1 loss to Northeastern in the HE quarterfinals last season, said he has a bit more confidence after putting in some productive work during the offseason.
“I’ve been working on getting my shot off [quicker] and shooting more. In the last two games, I’ve been able to get open and find some lanes,” Schmidt-Svejstrup said.
Levi Kleiboer and Emil Westerlund set up his game-winner.
Schmidt-Svejstrup carried the puck to the top of the left circle before firing it past Lekkas.
“We had talked during the week about [Lekkas] struggling with short-side shots. Emil set a good screen and I put it short side, low blocker,” said Schmidt-Svejstrup.
On his first goal, there was a scrum on a faceoff and he got to the net front.
“Tim Doherty was on his knees and made a pass right to my tape. I faked the goalie and had a wide-open net,” Schmidt-Svejstrup said.
Adam Dawe also earned an assist.
“He has the hardest shot on the team and, arguably, in the whole conference,” Swayman said. “I’m super excited to see him have the success he is having.”
Swayman said Schmidt-Svejustrup and the rest of his teammates did an exceptional job limiting Vermont to perimeter shots so he got a good look at them and could control the rebounds.
“They did an awesome job in front of me to enable us to get the two points,” he added.
Gendron was pleased with the win.
“The key tonight was winning races and [puck] battles,” Gendron said.
“On a lot of shifts, we kept them pinned in their own end,” he added. “We showed poise with the puck and we made good decisions.”
Gendron called Swayman’s performance solid and concurred that he wasn’t forced to make too many high-percentage saves.
“On their goal, he made a great save on the first shot which was deflected on its way in,” Gendron said.
“Jeremy is our backbone,” said Schmidt-Svejstrup. “He gives us a chance to win every night.”
The Black Bears return home Nov. 1-2 for a Hockey East series against Boston University.