December 13, 2013

College Wraparound: Maine stomps on AIC

By Joshua Kummins

Devin Shore's five points (1g, 4a) was more than Maine needed to put the hammer to American International on Friday night in Orono. (Maine Athletics photo)

The lone New England teams in action on Friday night went head-to-head as Maine continued its home dominance at Alfond Arena in a 7-1 victory over American International.

Sophomore Devin Shore had a goal and four assists to the lead the Black Bears (8-6-1) in the first of two games against AIC (3-11-0), which closes out their pre-Christmas schedule. Shore now has at least one point in his last six games.

The victory was Maine's fourth in a row and eighth in nine games on home ice this season. Following Saturday night's series finale with the Yellow Jackets, Maine will play its first seven contests of the second half on the road or in neutral sites, beginning with two at the Florida College Classic, Dec. 28-29.

After AIC rookie netminder Hunter Leisner made some very strong saves in the opening five minutes or so, the Black Bears went to work and scored three times over the final 12 minutes of the first period. Shore posted an assist on each goal.

Sophomore Steven Swavely was first on the board for Maine as he lifted a loose puck into the back of Leisner's net 8:01 into the game for his fifth goal of the season. Freshman Dan Renouf scored his first goal in a Black Bear uniform in a big way, ripping the eventual game-winner from the blue line about seven minutes later. Fellow freshman Eric Schurhamer, who assisted on Renouf's goal with Shore, made it a three-goal lead with 38 seconds remaining in the first.

Shore made it four points on as many goals at 6:46 of the second, taking advantage of Leisner's poor rebound control in front for an easy tap-in. The goal was Maine's second of the season on a 3-on-5 shorthanded play.

The visitors finally solved Maine senior Martin Ouellette three ticks past the midway mark of regulation as Dan Clairmont picked a big rebound off the goaltender's pads and put it home to make the score 4-1.

Maine closed the contest off with another trio of goals in the third, including a second man-down goal at the 8:05 mark. Swavely notched his third point of the night, setting up veteran Mark Anthoine (Lewiston, Maine) for a quick 2-on-1 rush goal. Juniors Connor Leen and Stu Higgins also found the back of the net over the final 20 minutes for the hosts.

Ouellette earned his eighth victory of the year with 20 saves on 21 AIC shots. Leisner made 48 stops over 54:15, but the Yellow Jackets' worst-in-the-nation defense (5.14 goals allowed per game) struggled once again.

AIC has dropped eight straight and allowed more than six goals on four different occasions this year. Neither of its leading scorers, junior Alexander MacMillan and senior Jon Puskar, found the scoresheet in the game.

Some other notables to munch on before the rest of this weekend's action: