Thursday, April 24, 2014
By Mark Emmert email@example.com
ORONO — Along with everything else he did for the Maine men’s hockey team Friday, Devin Shore helped fulfill a prophecy.
The sophomore center finished with a goal and four assists as the Black Bears bulldozed American International 7-1 before an announced crowd of 3,106 at Alfond Arena.
The second of his three first-period assists enabled him to keep a promise to childhood friend Dan Renouf.
“He said he was going to grab the puck out of the net for my first goal,” Renouf recalled with a sense of wonder after that exact scene played itself out. The freshman defenseman grew up with Shore in Ontario envisioning these moments.
At 15:03 of the first period, Renouf got Shore’s attention during one of his many rushes at bedraggled freshman goaltender Hunter Leisner. Shore heard him call for the puck and dropped it back to the blue line, where Renouf lined up a low slap shot that skimmed into the net for his first collegiate goal. Shore promptly retrieved it.
“It was kind of a seeing-eye shot but it was good to get the first one,” Renouf said.
Maine (8-6-1) hardly needed that particular goal on a night when it fired 59 shots on net despite having only one late power-play opportunity. Shore, whose hustle led to all three first-period goals, provided the defining moment in the second period when he took the puck from Leisner while the Black Bears were short-handed, deked him to the ice and casually lifted the puck over him to extend the lead to 4-0.
“I was a little surprised,” Shore said of the ease with which the play unfolded. “Everyone kind of thought that the ref was going to blow the whistle. But I guess I wasn’t close enough for him to blow the whistle and he urged (Leisner) to play it.”
In addition to Shore’s first five-point game as a collegian – giving him a team-leading 18 points – Connor Leen had a goal and three assists, and Steven Swavely added a goal and one assist.
Swavely’s assist set up a second short-handed goal for Maine in the third period, when Mark Anthoine finished off a perfect two-on-one break. At times it seemed as if Maine was merely toying with the Yellow Jackets.
The Black Bears fired 24 shots at Leisner in the first period to build a big lead, but never throttled back and rested.
“We don’t want to play down to our opponents,” Renouf said. “Our intensity didn’t drop too much.”
It was the latest in a series of decisive home wins for Maine, which has outscored its guests 23-4 in the past four games at Alfond. But the 59 shots was unprecedented.
“That was another kind of goal of ours. We wanted to get a ton of shots on net,” Shore said. “We wanted to develop that habit of getting the puck there and driving our tails off to get the rebounds.”
It was the eighth consecutive loss for American International (3-11), which offers only 12 scholarships. The teams meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday, and Renouf said the Black Bears are hoping to launch even more shots in the rematch. Certainly, his friend Shore figures to be in the middle of that effort.
“Shoresy is playing like Shoresy right now. I grew up with the kid. I saw it for the last 10 years,” Renouf said. “He’s really shining right now.”
Mark Emmert can be reached at 791-6424 or at: