It wasn’t the start first-year University of Maine men’s hockey coach Ben Barr wanted.
But Saturday’s 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Quinnipiac University at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, was an exhibition game, so it doesn’t count.
And it gave Barr a chance to assess his Black Bears against a Quinnipiac team that was picked by the Eastern College Athletic Conference coaches to win their league championship this season.
Quinnipiac, in Hamden, Connecticut, has reached the NCAA Tournament twice over the past three seasons and has a 64-29-8 over those three years, going 21-11-2 when the team didn’t qualify for the tourney in 2019-20.
The Bobcats scored on their first four power play opportunities and added three goals in the second and third periods.
Juniors Joey Cippollone and Ethan Leyh and sophomore Ty Smilanic scored first-period power play goals at the expense of UMaine junior goaltender Matthew Thiessen.
Guus Van Nes’ and Wyatt Bongiovanni’s goals then made it 5-0 in the second period when UMaine sophomore Connor Androlewicz was between the pipes and Bongiovanni and Cippollone added third-period goals off UMaine sophomore Victor Ostman.
Sophomore Yaniv Perets picked up the win in goal for the Bobcats but was rarely tested by the Black Bears.
UMaine will open its season with games at the University of Nebraska Omaha on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Mavericks from the National Collegiate Hockey Conference were 14-11-1 a year ago and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament where they were beaten by Minnesota 7-2 in the first round.
“The energy level was fine but the execution was way off,” Barr said of Saturday’s exhibition game. “We have a lot of work to do as a team. We will learn from it.”
Barr said he has the type of team that has to get quality performances from everyone in order to win.
“And we can’t beat ourselves like we did. We can’ t take three penalties in the first period,” he said.
Barr also said his team can’t afford to make mistakes against top-notch opponents like Quinnipiac because “they capitalize on your mistakes.”
“If you miss a check in the offensive zone, it can lead to a three-on-two or a two-on-one for them,” Barr said.
The former UMass associate head coach said the Black Bears’ lack of scoring chances resulted from their inability to get to the net front.
“We need to get to the net with a sense of urgency. We need to manufacture goals,” he said. “And we need to play as a unit of five.”
He said the line of junior Ben Poisson between senior Adam Dawe and freshman Nolan Renwick was their best one.
“They played hard,” he said.
All of UMaine’s goalies made some good saves, Barr said, but they also “each let at least one in they would like to have back.”