BURLINGTON, Vt. — Gutterson Fieldhouse holds many happy memories for University of Maine Coach Red Gendron.
Friday night was not among them.
The Black Bears continued their difficulties away from the friendly confines of Alfond Arena, losing 3-2 to Vermont in a nonconference hockey game before a crowd of 3,917.
The loss dropped Maine to 6-5-1 overall and unchanged at 3-2-1 in Hockey East. All six wins have come in Orono.
“We played well enough to win tonight but we didn’t,” said Gendron, who cut his coaching teeth at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, about 25 miles up Interstate 89 from Burlington. “Until we learn to do all the little things all night long, we’ll lose. When we do all the little things all night long, we’ll win. It’s that simple.”
In nine years at BFA-St. Albans, Gendron’s teams won four Vermont high school championships, all on the Gutterson ice.
“It’s always special for me to come back to Vermont,” he said.
The Black Bears rallied to take a 2-1 lead but couldn’t hold it. Vermont (6-5-1, 4-4) scored the only goal of the third period with 2:49 remaining when Chris McCarthy hit Chris Muscoby streaking toward the net after a turnover and Muscoby converted to break a 2-2 tie.
“Somebody got beat in the corner and somebody else who was supposed to cover the Vermont defenseman didn’t do his job,” Gendron said. “So two breakdowns led to the goal.”
Martin Ouellette made 21 saves for Maine, which held a 34-24 advantage in shots on goal but managed only two past Brody Hoffman, who finished with 32 saves.
Devin Shore and Steven Swavely scored for Maine, both in the second period after the Catamounts took a 1-0 lead in the first.
Michael Paliotta scored from the left point nine seconds into Vermont’s first power play.
Shore tied it by shoveling in the rebound of a Stu Higgins shot from in close on a Maine power play. The goal was Shore’s fifth of the season.
Swavely made it 2-1 for Maine by tipping in a shot from just inside the blue line by Conor Riley, who had taken a pass from Jake Rutt.
Vermont added its own even-strength goal six minutes later, when Jake Fallon poked the puck past Ouellette from a scrum near the left post to make it 2-2 heading into the third.
The Black Bears had scored 12 goals in their previous two outings, beating Boston University 7-0 two weeks ago and Boston College 5-1 last weekend.
On Friday night, scoring opportunities were not as plentiful.
“We didn’t do a very good job of screening the goalie,” Gendron said, “and we didn’t do a very good job of hunting down rebounds.”
The Black Bears traveled to Vermont on Thursday after practicing in Orono, then sharing a Thanksgiving meal in Scarborough at the home of Rutt’s family.
Despite the fact that both Maine and Vermont are Hockey East members, the game did not count in the conference standings.
The addition of Notre Dame bumped the league from 10 schools to 11 and the number of Hockey East games against each opponent from three (for 27 total) to two (for 20).
That change raised the number of nonconference games from seven to 14, easy enough to fill for teams in the greater Boston area, say, but a tad more challenging for the northern outposts of Orono and Burlington.
So Maine and Vermont already completed their required two-game set earlier this month at Alfond Arena, where they split, resulting in the only Black Bears loss in Orono this season.
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: