ORONO — Maine goaltender Sean Romeo is learning some harsh lessons about the nature of Division I men’s hockey.

For one thing, skaters will make you pay if you don’t come out to challenge them.

For another, there is no partial credit for losing a game in overtime, as he did Friday at Boston University.

Romeo, a freshman from North Carolina, has started the past four games for the Black Bears, indicating he’s been good enough in his coaches’ eyes to earn the nod over Matt Morris.

But Maine has lost all four and is 1-6 in Romeo’s seven starts. The Black Bears (3-9-1, 2-5 Hockey East) will look to snap that skid Friday and Saturday when they host No. 13 Vermont.

“I’m kind of a perfectionist so obviously I want to stop all of them (shots on goal), but realistically I’m not going to,” Romeo said. “I’m just focusing on stopping what I should stop and then making a big save when we need it, and just trying to be a wall back there.”


Romeo allowed four goals in his first start, a 5-2 loss to Alaska-Fairbanks. He was pulled after giving up three goals in his first home outing against Union a week later.

But he’s allowed only 14 goals in his next five starts, a product of adjusting to the speed of college hockey and not being so passive, he said.

“When I came in I was kind of sitting back and the game was faster, and I was kind of on my heels and I was playing deep,” said Romeo, who played last year for Youngstown in the U.S. Hockey League. “I’m concentrating now on getting out, being on your toes, being aggressive and competing. I think it’s making a difference.”

It was most apparent in Romeo’s win, a 3-2 decision over Massachusetts in which he made 30 saves and was dazzling in the first period. That came Nov. 1 and the Black Bears haven’t won since, dropping overtime games at Vermont on Nov. 7 and at BU on Friday. Romeo said he wasn’t aware that in college hockey, teams don’t get a point for taking a game to overtime as they do in the USHL and in pro leagues.

“Somebody pointed out that to me on Saturday night,” he said. “That was tough to hear.”

Romeo will hear after Thursday’s practice if he’s getting a fifth consecutive start Friday. He said it’s still too early to claim he’s earned the starting job over Morris, who yielded 20 goals in his seven games.


The biggest issue for Maine in its five-game losing streak has been offense. The Black Bears have eight goals in those losses.

“I think each game so far has had its own challenges,” defenseman Ben Hutton said. “We need to find ways to focus more and finish our games.”

Hutton was a second-team All-American last year after setting a Maine record for defensemen with 15 goals. He said he entered this year too intent on passing the puck instead of rifling shots through traffic or jumping into the rush, which are his strengths.

In a 3-1 loss to BU on Nov. 14, he didn’t take a single shot on net. Eager to rectify that in the rematch Friday, he had three shots and his second goal of the season in a 3-2 overtime loss.

“I was trying to be too cute. I was trying to pass when I should have been throwing the puck on net,” Hutton said. “I made a decision last weekend to change that, to get back to my game.”

Hutton said he’s surprised to find his Black Bears with a 3-9-1 record but said the team has not lost faith.

“That definitely hits right in the heart. I hate losing,” he said Wednesday. “It (stinks). Just saying that right now is driving me crazy.

“Our results aren’t showing right now. But we could easily be 9-3, I feel like. I know we’re going to turn things around.”

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