Sports

Painful losing streak persists for men’s ice hockey with visit to Maine

Brown struggles on power play, penalty kill against Black Bears in non-conference matchup

By
Staff Writer
Monday, November 28, 2016

Max Willman ’18 prepared to fire off a pass during Saturday’s game against the University of Maine. Despite a spirited showing, Bruno fell 5-1.

The men’s ice hockey team continued a rocky season with a 5-1 loss against the University of Maine Saturday, getting outshot 32-29.

After warding off the opposition in a scoreless first period, Bruno (1-8, 1-5 ECAC) allowed the Black Bears (5-7-3, 1-4-1) a two-goal advantage in the second.

“We had a good start with very good energy for the first 15 minutes of the game,” wrote Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94 in an email to The Herald. “After that, we had an inconsistent effort.”

“We kind of just lost track of the direction we were supposed to be headed and kind of tried to do our own thing,” said Trey Dodd ’20, who led the Bears with five shots on goal in the contest.

Sam Lafferty ’18 gave the Bears their only score of the evening, netting a shot in the second period from the front right of the goal. Andrew Doane ’17 and Ben Tegtmeyer ’18 each recorded assists on the play.

The Black Bears widened their lead in the third period, scoring twice before clocking a shorthanded empty netter after Bruno pulled goaltender Tim Ernst ’17 on the power play.

“In order to attempt to jumpstart our offense, we pulled our goalie to allow for a (six on four) situation,” Whittet wrote. “I would rather aggressively fight to attempt to win, so we took a chance on that power play to try to claw back into the game.”

“That was us trying to play with a little desperation, which we had in the first period,” Dodd said. “Whittet made the right move by trying to get that (desperation) back.”

Netminder Ernst made 24 saves before giving the crease to Connor Maher ’18 in the third, following Maine’s empty-net goal. Maher stopped three shots in the final nine minutes of play, keeping the score intact. Despite this, Bruno’s offense was unable to turn around the losing effort.

Whittet cited the frequency of penalties in the league as a key issue contributing to this season’s modest scoresheet. “The way that the NCAA has instructed the referees to call the games has resulted in an exorbitant amount of specialty teams play,” he wrote. “If you don’t score on your power plays, and you give up goals on your penalty kill, you will not win many hockey games.”

Additionally, Whittet emphasized the need for more puck possession to increase Bruno’s scoring output. “We need to possess the puck more,” he added. “Increased possession time leads to more offensive opportunity.”

Looking forward, Whittet underscored the importance of the learning process and consistent hard work. “We need to focus on the team this week and find a way to get better each day,” he wrote. “I want the guys to understand that it is a process, and we just need to strive for improvement.”

Dodd echoed Whittet’s determination to improve. “The game against Army this weekend is a good starting point” for a targeted team effort, Dodd said.

Bruno will return to action with a visit to Army West Point Saturday. Face-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.