The University of Maine spotted the University of Vermont the game’s opening goal on Friday night, but power-play goals late in the first period and early in the second period triggered a string of six unanswered goals as the Black Bears earned a 6-1 Hockey East victory over the Catamounts at Alfond Arena in Orono.
UMaine is now 17-10-4 overall and 11-8-2 in Hockey East while the Catamounts fell to 3-22-5 and 0-17-3, respectively.
Vermont’s winless streak was extended to 14 games (0-11-3).
The teams conclude their series at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. It will be the last game Vermont 17-year head coach Kevin Sneddon coaches against the Black Bears as he is retiring after this season.
Sophomore right wing Adam Dawe and junior right wing Eduards Tralmaks scored the power-play tallies that sparked the UMaine offense.
“Our power play was real good tonight. Our possession time was good and we were moving the puck around quickly,” said UMaine senior left wing and captain Mitch Fossier, who assisted on both power-play goals and added a goal and another assist later in the game.
“They got momemtum off those power-play goals and never looked back,” Vermont senior center and captain Derek Lodermeier said.
Ryan Smith scored an even-strength goal 1:30 after Tralmaks’ score to make it 3-1 and the Black Bears received third-period, even-strength goals from Jack Quinlivan, Fossier and Patrick Shea.
Junior center and assistant captain Quinlivan snapped a 45-game goal-less drought dating back to a 7-2 win at Boston College on Jan. 16, 2019.
Jeremy Swayman finished with 23 saves for the Black Bears while Stefanos Lekkas turned aside 35 shots for UVM.
Bryce Misley had staked UVM to a 1-0 lead 5:11 into the game when he roofed a neat pass from behind the net from Riley McCutcheon.
But Dawe equalized with 51.2 seconds remaining off a textbook play. Fossier slipped the puck from the top of the right faceoff circle to Tralmaks at the near post and Tralmaks slid it across to Dawe at the far post for an easy tap-in.
Tralmaks tallied what proved to be the game-winner two seconds before a five-minute major on Vlad Dzhioishvill was to expire.
His 14th goal of the season came off a pass from Tim Dohery, who spotted him in the middle of the high slot.
“We created chaos in front and their guys didn’t know who to take. I was wide open, Tim made an unbelievable pass and I put it glove-side about six inches off the ice, just above his pad,” Tralmaks said.
Smith collected his fourth of the season off a nice feed from J.D. Greenway on what turned out to be a 2-on-1.
“J.D. waited patiently for the lane to open, I showed him my stick, he put it there and I shot it glove side. It may have hit [Lekkas] shoulder and gone in,” Smith said.
Quinlivan’s long-awaited goal iced it 5:37 into the third off a 2-on-1 with Sam Rennaker.
Their defenseman stepped up on Emil [who got the puck to Rennaker] and Sam tried to slide it over to me,” Quinlivan said. “Their defenseman tipped it and I positioned my body so it would go into the net off my shin pads.”
“It was good to see him get one. Everyone on the bench was real happy for him,” Smith said.
Doherty finished with three assists and Shea and Tralmaks each collected a goal and an assist to complement Fossier’s four-point night. Fossier extended his points streak to 10 games (5 goals, 14 assists).
“We played a solid game,” UMaine coach Red Gendron said. “Vermont played their tails off. It was a hard-fought game. We were able to finish off some plays.”
UMaine outshot UVM 40-24 including a 33-18 edge over the final two periods after a sluggish first period.
UMaine went 2-for-4 on the power play while UVM was 0-for-5.