BOSTON — The defense that allowed the Maine hockey team to start the season with three consecutive ties in October — and to win four straight games in November — has deserted the Black Bears with the onset of winter.

Maine surrendered two goals 33 seconds apart early Saturday and never mustered a challenge against Boston University, falling 6-1 before an announced crowd of 4,541 at Agganis Arena.

It was the sixth time in the past 10 games that the Black Bears have allowed five or more goals. Not surprisingly, Maine (5-15-6, 2-8-2 Hockey East) has won just one of those contests, against Colgate.

“I don’t think we played particularly well on the grinds in our own end,” Maine Coach Red Gendron said of a weekend that also saw his Black Bears lose to the Terriers 5-2 Friday in Orono. “In other games where we’ve given up a lot of goals, it’s been the result of poor puck management. Our defensemen have to be better. Our goaltending has to be better. Our forwards covering in our end, they, too, must be better.”

Maine allowed 2.7 goals per game in October and November. That has risen to 3.7 in December and January. For a team that has also been shutout seven times, it’s a recipe for a blowout. Five of Maine’s past seven losses have been by three goals or more.

The No. 11 Terriers (13-7-4, 7-4-3) took a 2-0 lead after one period, then chased Maine goaltender Rob McGovern with two more goals in the first 12 minutes of the third period. After falling behind 4-0, and installing Matt Morris in goal, the Black Bears avoided an eighth shutout when center Cam Brown sent a wrist shot from the slot past BU goaltender Sean Maguire, who needed to make only 22 saves to earn his seventh win of the season.

The Black Bears were 0-for-6 on power plays.

“I was pretty angry that we lost battles. We talked right away after the first power play about what BU was doing that was different and then we just didn’t make plays,” Gendron said after his team scored both of its Friday goals with a man advantage. “We didn’t play well in any facet of our game from the goaltender on out. So the power play was simply a microcosm of the entire game.”

The Terriers got two goals apiece from centers Bobo Carpenter and Matt Lane. They are on a 5-1-1 streak. But Coach David Quinn said it all came together this weekend for his squad.

“That team tests your work ethic and your physicality and I thought for six periods we did a good job of moving our feet and playing at a pace we haven’t been playing at lately,” Quinn said.
“We were skating, we were pressuring the puck, there was an urgency to our game. One of the things we’re trying to do is make teams earn ice and I thought we did a pretty good job of that.”

Maine concluded a stretch of five games in nine nights, with only a pair of ties to show for it. Its worst performance in that sequence was Saturday.

“Tonight was not an even game,” Gendron said. “BU controlled the game pretty much start to finish, so tonight is what’s disappointing.”

Maine travels to Massachusetts next weekend for a  two-game series matching the teams at the bottom of the Hockey East standings.


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