On Thursday night, the Connecticut Huskies blew out the Maine Black Bears faced off at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport CT. UConn got two goals per period and walked off the rink with a 6-3 victory. They looked to carry that offensive momentum into Saturday’s game at the first Frozen Fenway appearance in program history. What they found instead was a focused and prepared Maine team that not only beat them but shut them out.
Maine got their first goal early when Cam Brown got around UConn’s net and got a shot by Adam Huska. UConn had an opportunity to even it up on a power play only two minutes later, but they squandered the chance. Rob McGovern also played his best game of the season, making 31 saves and stonewalling the Huskies the whole way through. When asked about his pregame feelings, he responded by simply saying “I felt good before the game. It was a dream come true for me to play here, and I was relaxed.”
UConn coach Mike Cavanaugh conceded that McGovern played well, and didn’t allow any goals. He added that UConn did not capitalize on their breakaways or make good decisions with the puck. That wasn’t more apparent than in the first ten minutes of the second period, in which Maine got 11 shots and UConn got none. Cavanaugh expressed his displeasure about that stretch after the game ended, thinking it was a fine game otherwise.
Maine kept up the pressure on the Huskies the whole way, outshooting the Huskies 20-11 in the second period and 44-31 for the game. Blaine Byron netted a goal off a bouncing puck that led Huska out of his crease. Cavanaugh argued that his goalie made the right decision, but the puck bounced against him. Maine kept up the pressure in the third. Rob Michel got a goal early on in the period and Nolan Vesey finished the scoring on an empty-netter late in the game.
Bear coach Red Gendron praised his team’s defensive effort, mental fortitude, and decision making. He and Rob Michel discussed the team’s focus and intensity coming into the game, saying “We focused on making good decisions, and we executed. We’re happy with the effort on display today.” When asked about the difference between Thursday’s 6-3 loss and Saturday’s 4-0 victory at Fenway Park, Gendron quipped “We actually played defense”.
UConn will travel to Burlington to play the Vermont Catamounts on the 20th. Puck drops at 6 pm at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Maine has the road end of a home and home against Boston University on Friday the 20th next. Puck drops at 7:30 at Agganis Arena.