ORONO – Highly touted freshman Teddy Purcell found himself in an envious position during the University of Maine men’s hockey team’s Blue-White exhibition Saturday night.
He was the right wing on a line with Maine’s two top returning scorers and longtime linemates: senior left wing Josh Soares (15 goals, 26 assists last season) and fifth-year senior center and captain Michel Leveille (16 & 24).
Purcell made the most of it by notching a hat trick as the Blue team beat the White team 6-5 in overtime in an entertaining and physical contest in front of a crowd estimated at 1,500 at Alfond Arena.
“Teddy’s a great player and it was easy to get a chemistry going with him. It’s all about communicating out there and knowing where everybody’s at. Teddy talks a lot, he’s quick, and he has good hands,” said Leveille, who assisted on all of Purcell’s goals.
Purcell, who led the highly regarded U.S. Hockey League in assists last year with 52 to go with 19 goals, said, “We’re all the same type of player. We’re really offensive and have the same instincts. I think it makes it that much easier.”
Hahn was the only other multiple-goal scorer as he had a pair in his quest to elevate his status from last year.
Sophomore left wing Hahn, hampered by a wrist injury early last season, played in just 16 games and had 3 & 2.
“I got on the ice a lot this past summer to get my confidence back after last year,” said Hahn. “I tried to slim down a little bit and work on my speed and shot. I know I have to be a quicker player as small as I am. I handled the puck a lot and came back ready to play.”
The 5-foot-9, 179-pound Hahn, who lost 10 pounds, said he does feel quicker and that he is “stronger on my skates.”
His game-winner came on a breakaway off a Simon Danis-Pepin pass.
The line of Keenan Hopson between Billy Ryan and Rob Bellamy scored the prettiest goal as all three touched the puck in a nifty passing exchanged resulting in Hopson’s tap-in.
They teamed up on another goal with Bellamy converting.
Wes Clark, Mike Hamilton, defenseman Mike Lundin, and freshman Tyler Czuba scored the other goals.
Senior left wing Brent Shepheard, playing on a line with Hamilton and RW Keith Johnson, had several bone-crunching hits. Bellamy, Hahn, defenseman Bret Tyler and freshmen Zach Sill and Dave de Kastrozza also delivered some solid checks.
Sophomore Ben Bishop was sharp in goal and freshman Dave Wilson stopped everyone but Leveille in the pregame shootout.
“It was a good effort. The guys were working [hard] and playing smart. We need to move the puck quicker,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead.