The University of Maine men’s hockey team dug itself an early hole against last year’s NCAA runner-up, the University of Massachusetts, on Friday night in Amherst, Massachusetts. The Black Bears never recovered.
Junior left wing Oliver Chau and sophomore left wing Bobby Trivigno scored 1 minute, 19 seconds apart in the game’s first 6:13 to help the 11th-ranked Minutemen cruise to a 5-1 Hockey East victory at the Mullins Center.
Marc Del Gaizo’s power-play goal later in the first period and Ty Farmer’s tally just 16 seconds into the second period built the lead to 4-0.
Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup pulled one back for UMaine with a 5-on-3 goal at the 17:57 mark of the middle period but the Minutemen held the Black Bears to five shots in the third period.
John Leonard added an insurance goal with 3:38 remaining for UMass (10-4-1 overall, 5-3-1 HE), while UMaine fell to 8-6-3 and 4-5-2, respectively.
The Minutemen are 16-1-1 in their last 18 games at the Mullins Center.
The two teams conclude their series a 7 p.m. Saturday.
UMaine has lost its last three Hockey East road games and it is the 11th time in 17 games the Black Bears have scored two or fewer goals.
UMass goalie Matt Murray finished with 21 saves while UMaine’s Jeremy Swayman stopped 37 shots.
“We made a couple of grievous errors early in the game and we struggled to come back from it,” UMaine coach Red Gendron said. “The first two goals came off 2-on-1s, essentially. We had a quality attack going on their first goal but we had someone caught joining in the rush and the puck squirted away.”
Jake McLaughlin fed Chau on the 2-on-1 and he converted it into his second goal of the season.
“On the second one, we dumped it into their zone, we had a play along the wall and the puck got past our defenseman,” said Gendron, who watched Trivigno beat Swayman after receiving a pass from Leonard for his sixth goal of the season.
Del Gaizo’s first goal came during what amounted to a two-man advantage. UMass was on the power play and UMaine was called for another penalty. The Minutemen got the extra attacker on the ice and Del Gaizo scored on the delayed penalty call.
Farmer made it 4-0 on the first shift of the second period with a shot through a maze of players that eluded the screened Swayman. McLaughlin and Chau picked up assists.
Schmidt-Svejstrup’s eighth goal of the season came just three seconds after UMaine went on the 5-on-3 as he blasted a shot from the midpoint past Murray. Tim Doherty and Adam Dawe earned assists on the goal.
Leonard’s insurance goal in the third was his ninth.
“We missed two breakaways and some other real good chances. You have to bury those,” Gendron said. “And we have to be a lot better in our own end. They had the puck in our zone too much. You can’t create offense that way.”