Saturday, December 7, 2013
ORONO - Last season, Joey Diamond and Mark Anthoine led the nation in power-play goals, each with 11. As a hockey team, the University of Maine was second in its success rate (26.7 percent).
WHO: Maine vs. St. Lawrence
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Alfond Arena, Orono
Diamond and Anthoine have returned to the Black Bears, but Maine's proficiency when playing with more skaters than its opponent has not.
The frustration continued Friday night at Alfond Arena, as Maine lost 5-0 to visiting St. Lawrence despite 11 penalties on the Saints resulting in nine power-play opportunities totaling 16 minutes for Maine.
"It was just an embarrassment," said Maine captain Joey Diamond. "Fans don't deserve that."
A raucous crowd of 4,636 saw the Black Bears (1-3) take the ice wearing their dark blue road uniforms with light blue trim in honor of Go Blue Day on the Orono campus, kicking off homecoming weekend.
The new colors did nothing to change Maine's scoring difficulties. The Black Bears are 0-for-21 on power-play opportunities this season, coming up empty on 30 shots.
"Obviously, we lost a few high-end guys," Diamond said. "We knew it was going to take time. We probably didn't realize it was going to take this many power plays. All we need is one to get that confidence that we need. I'm hoping we get that (Saturday) night."
Kyle Flanagan assisted on three of the St. Lawrence goals, including a back-breaking short-handed tally in the middle of the second period that put the Saints (2-1) on top 3-0.
"We knew this was their own barn, and knew they lost their home opener last weekend so they were going to come out flying," said Flanagan, who said he and his teammates had difficulty hearing their names announced in the starting lineup before the game, so loud was the crowd. "Our object was to shut them down the first 10 minutes and limit their chances, and I thought we did that pretty well."
St. Lawrence took a 1-0 lead in the game's eighth minute when a shot from the point from Riley Austin deflected off Maine defenseman Mike Cornell and past goalie Dan Sullivan.
The Saints added a power-play goal from Chris Martin early in the second period and turned a turnover at the blue line into a short-handed goal by Patrick Doherty. Flanagan set up both goals with deft passes.
"He creates a lot for us," said St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel. "He'll be a Hobey Baker finalist."
Gunner Hughes and Justin Baker scored in the third period for St. Lawrence, the latter a power-play goal after Maine's frustration showed up in the form of seven penalties in the final 20 minutes of play.
The Black Bears hadn't been shut out on their home ice since 2008 against Northeastern, by an identical 5-0 score.
"The first five minutes or so guys felt pretty good on the bench," said Maine Coach Tim Whitehead. "But after that first goal went in it seemed like the balloon deflated very quickly. I was really disappointed in how we responded. They outplayed us in every area."
St. Lawrence goalie Matt Weninger finished with 30 saves for the shutout, and remained in the game after taking a stick across the neck. Sullivan stopped 17 shots before Whitehead relieved him for the final 12 minutes. Matt Morris finished up in net for the Black Bears.
Maine actually attempted 20 more shots than St. Lawrence (58-38) but many were off target or smothered before reaching the net. On the two best chances, Conor Riley hit the post in the second period, and Diamond hit a defenseman when Weninger was out of position.
"We played hard for the first three minutes of the game and then just kind of fell off from there," Diamond said. "We weren't winning loose pucks. Didn't have a second guy supporting. Weren't crashing the net. Left Sully out to dry. Everything went wrong."
Said Diamond of Saturday's rematch: "We'll definitely check ourselves at the door when we walk in (Saturday) and realize it's a privilege and an honor to put on that sweater."
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: