ORONO – University of Massachusetts hockey coach Joe Mallen called it “music to my ears.”
He was referring to a segment of the introductions before Sunday afternoon’s game against the University of Maine at Alfond Arena.
“The announcer said, `Steve Kariya. Senior,” said Mallen who saw the Bear right wing and captain light up his Minutemen for a goal and three assists in Maine’s 5-0 triumph.
Maine is now 16-2-4 overall, 8-2-2 in Hockey East and one point behind first-place New Hampshire.
The Bears are 8-0-1 at the Alfond Arena. UMass fell to 5-14-2, 2-9-1.
The Minutemen trailed just 2-0 with 39 seconds left in the second period.
But that’s when Cory Larose’s 4-on-3 power-play goal extended the lead to 3-0 and all but sewed things up.
Doug Janik’s rising 30-foot wrist shot and Ben Guite’s 15-footer into an unprotected net off a Janik rebound accounted for third-period insurance goals and junior goalie Alfie Michaud rejected 20 shots to post his fifth career shutout.
That ties him with former Bear and current Vancouver Canuck netminder Garth Snow for the school’s most career shutouts.
“The win is more important,” said Michaud. “The guys really came to play. They were focused. They played 60 solid minutes defensively.”
Barrett Heisten’s first-period goal and linemate Kariya’s second-period score, both coming on the power play, had staked Maine to a 2-0 lead.
Larose centers the line between Kariya and Heisten.
“The team played pretty well. Our line had a lot of jump. Barrett has been playing great since coming back from the World Junior Tournament. We’re starting to develop a lot more chemistry,” said Kariya.
UMass had parlayed a passive 1-4 forecheck, a neutral zone trap and the goaltending of sophomore Markus Helanen to beat and tie Maine in November and the Minutemen were frustrating the Bears again early on Sunday.
“Over the first six or seven minutes, we weren’t ready for their sharpness. But we made adjustments,” said Maine coach Shawn Walsh.
“We got away from being cute and began dumping the puck in [to the offensive zone] and chasing it,” he added. “We wore their defensemen down an referee [Jim Fitzgerald] made the calls on the interferences that we didn’t get November.”
Maine’s power play, which had gone 3-for-23 in its previous seven games, went 3-for-8 on Sunday.
“Maine’s power play and special teams were much better than ours today,” said Mallen.
Heisten opened the scoring at the 9:14 mark of the first period when he corralled a David Cullen point shot that didn’t get through a maze of players and beat Helanen with a 12-foot backhander.
“I knew the goalie was going to go down so I kind of faked him out and went around on my backhander. I was trying to put it upper shelf but it kind of rolled off my stick and went right under his arm,” said Heisten, who added two assists later and now has eight points in his last four games.
Kariya’s second-period goal came on the deflection of an Ed Wood one-timer from the left point off a Cullen pass.
“It happened pretty fast. He shoots it 100 miles-an-hour. I was trying to get out of the way, more than anything,” chuckled Kariya. “It got a piece of me somewhere.”
Black Bears 5, Minutemen 0
UMass (5-14-2) 0 0 0 – 0 Maine (16-2-4) 1 2 2 – 5
First period – 1. Maine, Heisten 3 (Cullen, Kariya), 9:14, (pp). Penalties: Maine, Larose, cross-checking, 6:10; UMass, Soderholm, interference, 8:33; Maine, Guite, charging, 10:02; UMass, Drohan, interference, 11:37.
Second period – 2. Maine, Kariya 14 (Wood, Cullen), 6:45, (pp); 3. Maine, Larose 12 (Kariya, Heisten), 19:21, (pp). Penalties: UMass, Wallis, interference, 1:51; UMass, Wallis, interference, 5:52; UMass, Blanchard, late hit, 8:00; Maine, Begg, cross-checking, 8:00; UMass, Gates, slashing, 13:09; UMass, Blanchard, late hit, 17:48; Maine, Dimitrakos, late hit, 17:48; UMass, Turne, holding, 19:16.
Third period – 4. Maine, Janik 3 (Kariya, Heisten), 11:53; 5. Maine, Guite 6 (Dimitrakos, Janik), 16:40. Penalties: Maine, Guite, interference, :33; UMass, Blanchard, slashing, 5:11; Maine, Stewart, interference, 7:31; Maine, Larose, late hit, 11:43; UMass, Stork, late hit, 11:43; Maine, Janik, interference, 17:06; Maine, Heisten, elbowing, 17:06; UMass, Wallis, holding the stick, 18:07; Maine, Larose, slashing, 19:17; UMass, Soderholm, 10-minute misconduct, 20:00.
Shots on goal: UMass 6-6-8-20; Maine 11-16-11-38
High-percentage scoring chances: UMass 3-1-3-7; Maine 3-11-5-19
Power-play opportunities: UMass 0-5, Maine 3-8
Goaltenders: UMass, Markus Helanen (38 shots-33 saves); Maine, Alfie Michaud (20-20)