ORONO – Any time you receive a goal from a checking line, it’s considered a bonus.
The University of Maine’s men’s hockey team received a huge bonus from its checking line of freshman left wing Glenn Belmore, senior center Wes Clark and junior right wing Jeff Marshall Saturday night.
That line combined for two goals and three assists and was a combined plus-10 in plus-minus to lead the Black Bears to a thorough 4-1 victory over Atlantic Hockey member Mercyhurst College (Pa.) at Alfond Arena.
Maine, now 2-2, won Friday night’s game 4-2.
Players are awarded a plus-one if they are on the ice for an even-strength or shorthanded goal and a minus-one if they are on the ice when the other team scores an even-strength or shorthanded goal.
Clark had a goal and two assists; Belmore scored the game-winner, his first collegiate goal, and also had an assist and Marshall was a physical presence who dug out a lot of loose pucks. Clark was plus-four while Belmore and Marshall were each plus-three.
Senior defenseman Bret Tyler extended his goal-scoring streak to three games with the only score in the first period and Chris Hahn added an empty-netter off a high, rink-length clear by goalie Ben Bishop, who finished with 15 saves. Tyler added two assists.
Ben Cottreau scored in his second straight game for Mercyhurst to tie it 1-1 just 21 seconds into the second period. Freshman goalie Ryan Zapolski finished with 34 saves for the 0-4 Lakers.
“How about that line!,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “They quickly became our first line tonight. They were very impressive. They all contributed.”
“Our line was buzzing around. Things went well tonight,” said Clark, whose face-off win back to Tyler set up the defenseman’s wraparound goal 4:57 into the game.
“It’s a faceoff play we kind of work on,” said Tyler. “I got the puck and was going to shoot it but I saw an open lane and took it around the net. I was looking for someone to pass to but everyone was covered so I just tried to throw it off the goalie or throw it out front and it went off [Zapolski’s] stick and through the five-hole.”
Cottreau equalized off an errant cross-ice pass by Maine’s Billy Ryan.
Cottreau took one stride and snapped a 25-foot wrister past Bishop’s low blocker side.
Belmore answered 2:27 later.
The Clark line forechecked effectively and Clark tested Zypolski with a backhander from the low slot.
Belmore got free and swept the rebound between Zapolski’s right skate and the post.
“I was battling with a defenseman. I turned my back and the puck was right there. I just tried to get a shot on net,” said Belmore.
“I don’t even think the shot was going on goal but it hit one of our defenseman’s sticks or skates,” said Zapolski.
Clark made it 3-1 6:06 later with a rising wrister from the top of the left circle that beat Zapolski to the far corner, glove side.
“Belmore [passed] the puck [ahead] to me in the neutral zone and cut in front of the net. I saw the screen there and there was an opening up top so I let it rip with a quick release,” said Clark.
“It was through a screen,” acknowledged Zapolski. “I saw it when it got through but it might have even got tipped a little bit.”
Unlike the previous night, when Mercyhurst rallied for two third-period goals, the Bears did an exceptional job protecting the lead over the final 20 minutes.
Mercyhurst went 9:44 without a shot on goal.
“After [Friday] night, we wanted to play a strong third period and a strong 60 minutes,” said Clark.
“They seemed to push everything toward the boards. They didn’t let us get to the middle at all. It was so hard to get shots through. Their defensemen would block them and Bishop’s a great goalie,” said Lakers senior left wing and co-captain Ryan Toomey.
Maine attempted 72 shots to Mercyhurst’s 33.
“We had a real strong effort from start to finish,” said Whitehead.
BLACK BEARS 4, LAKERS 1
Mercyhurst (0-4) 0 1 0 – 1
Maine (2-2) 1 2 1 – 4
First period – 1. Maine, Tyler 3 (Clark), 4:57. Penalties: Maine, Tyler, slashing, 15:30; Mcy, Gurtler, tripping, 15:30.
Second period – 2. Mcy, Cottreau 2 (unassisted), :21; 3. Maine, Belmore 1 (Clark, Tyler), 2:28; 4. Maine, Clark 2 (Belmore, Tyler), 8:34. Penalties: Mcy, Coghlan, interference, 3:47; Maine, Banwell, boarding, 9:47; Mcy, Eddy, tripping, 10:26; Maine, Dimmen, tripping, 12:53.
Third period – 5. Maine, Hahn 2 (Bishop), 19:53 (en). Penalties: Mcy, Phillips, cross-checking, 4:41; Maine, Danis-Pepin, cross-checking, 18:54.
Shots on goal: Mcy 6-6-4-16; Maine 14-12-12-38
Goaltenders: Mcy, Zapolski (37 shots-34 saves); Maine, Bishop (16-15)
Power-play opportunities: Mcy 0-3, Maine 0-3
High-percentage scoring chances: Mcy 1-4-5-10; Maine 7-9-11-27