University of Maine freshman center Matthias Trattnig remembers the goal he scored on Jan. 16.
In the University of Maine’s three losses to New Hampshire this season the Black Bears have fired 86 shots at Wildcat goalie Sean Matile and scored just once. On Jan. 16, Trattnig was the man.
“I pretty much took away his eyes,” Trattnig said. “Then I just slapped it in. We’ve got to go to the net hard and take away his eyes. We have to get second shots.”
In Maine’s 2-1 loss against UNH two weeks ago, Trattnig tipped a pass coming from David Cullen at the point at Matile and converted when the goalie lost sight of the puck. While screening Matile, Trattnig poked the rebound into the net.
The freshman from Graz, Austria, who is eighth on the team in points (6 goals and 6 assists), said if Maine can create more traffic in front of Matile than it has in the past, it will have a better opportunity to score scrappy goals.
And, Trattnig added, scrappy goals are Maine’s best chance to score.
In league games, no team has struggled to score against UNH as badly as Maine. Matile’s 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame is one reason why. Every time Maine has faced the junior giant, Matile has made a difference.
Matile is Hockey East’s fifth best goalie with a 2.80 GAA in league games, yet top league goaltender Michel Laroque of Boston University has given up one more goal to Maine despite his 1.98 GAA. Second-ranked Terrier Tom Noble has given up two more.
With the league’s second best defense working to keep Maine away from Matile’s crease, screening Matile won’t be easy.
“He’s one of the best goalies. But he’s got a good team in front of him,” Trattnig said. “He’s pretty big. You have no place to shoot.”
Trattnig said Maine spent the week focusing on how to work through the Wildcats’ defense and get players in front of Matile.