ESTERO, Fla. – The upstart River Hawks from UMass Lowell had lost 14 consecutive games to the University of Maine Black Bears and had won just two of the previous 37 meetings (2-33-2).
But the River Hawks exorcised that frustration Saturday night as sophomore right wing Jonathan Maniff and freshman center Scott Campbell each scored two goals and sophomore goalie Carter Hutton made 31 saves as they thumped Maine 6-0 in the championship game of the Florida College Classic.
It was the most lopsided win by the River Hawks over the Black Bears in their 91-game history.
Maine goalie Ben Bishop allowed four goals on 18 shots before being replaced by Dave Wilson in the third period. Wilson, for the third time this season, allowed two goals in a third-period relief stint. He made five saves.
Hutton was making his first start since breaking his finger while shutting out Merrimack 3-0 on Nov. 20.
Patrick Cey and Chris Auger scored the other goals. Maniff and Auger also had an assist apiece to go with their goals. Jason DeLuca had two assists.
UMass Lowell (9-4-4) won its fifth straight and the 20th-ranked River Hawks have won seven of their last eight.
Maine fell to 6-8-4 overall while being shut out for the third time this season. Maine has been held to one goal or less eight times.
Maine outshot UML 31-25.
“It was a weird game, to be honest,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “We did a lot of things well. We moved the puck well, we were very physical and we stayed out of the box.
“The bottom line is they capitalized on their chances and we didn’t,” added Whitehead. “Unfortunately, we gave up some odd-man rushes and we didn’t bury our second shots. We certainly had our chances.”
Whitehead praised the performance turned in by Hutton.
“He was fabulous. He had a great night. The score sheet was full of shots and he stopped every one of them, including second and third saves. He was the difference in the game,” said the Maine coach.
UML coach Blaise MacDonald felt his team played a pretty thorough game.
“We managed the game pretty well. Scoring the first goal was big for us,” said MacDonald. “We did a pretty good job keeping the puck in safe areas, we did a good job protecting it and keeping it secure. We did all the little things we needed to do.
“The big thing is we got some chances and we were able to get the puck by Bishop. We scored some pretty nice goals,” MacDonald added.
MacDonald admitted it was a gamble to play Hutton after his long injury layoff “but he had to play sometime. He played really well. He made his coach look pretty good.”
Maniff scored the only goal of the first period as two Black Bears collided and fell in the defensive zone and an Auger pass sent him in alone on Bishop.
Maniff stickhandled around Bishop and roofed a backhander.
Maine nearly equalized on the power play late in the period as Bret Tyler’s one-timer hit Hutton’s glove and bounced behind him. But Cey cleared it out of danger, according to MacDonald.
“If that had gone in, it would have been a whole different ballgame,” said MacDonald.
Campbell made it 2-0 only 1:08 into the second period when he followed his own shot and tapped the rebound behind Bishop.
Keif Orsini had a chance to cut the lead in half but his breakaway attempt hit the crossbar.
Cey made it 3-0 at the 11:46 mark when he converted a Kory Falite pass off an odd-man rush.
Maniff iced it, and chased Bishop from the game, 3:30 into the third period when he fired home a DeLuca pass.
Maniff was chosen the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Hutton, UML defenseman Nick Schaus and Auger were selected to the all-tourney team along with Maine left wing Billy Ryan and defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin and Cornell center Michael Kennedy.
Cornell and Clarkson tied 3-3 in the consolation game but Cornell claimed third place by winning the shootout 1-0 in seven rounds.
Maine will return to Hockey East play Friday at 7 p.m. by hosting Northeastern before heading to Portland to play Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Sunday at 2 p.m.
RIVER HAWKS 6, BLACK BEARS 0
Maine (6-8-2) 0 0 0 – 0
UMass Lowell (9-4-4) 1 2 3 – 6
First period – 1. UML, Maniff 6 (Auger), 2:24. Penalties: UML, Schaus, hooking, 17:34.
Second period – 2. UML, Campbell 3 (Roebothan), 1:08; 3. UML, Cey 3 (Falite, Holmstrom), 11:46. Penalties: UML, Campbell, tripping, 19:48.
Third period – 4. UML, Maniff 7 (DeLuca), 3:30; 5. UML, Campbell (unassisted), 13:00; 6. UML, Auger 4 (DeLuca, Maniff), 14:04. Penalties: UML, Dehner, interference, 7:16; UML, Auger, contact-to-head high-sticking, 8:54; Maine, Duffy, charging, 9:52; Maine, Bellamy, slashing, 10:20; UML, Schaus, tripping, 17:40.
Shots on goal: Maine 4-9-18-31; UML 8-9-8-25
Goaltenders: Maine, Bishop (18 shots-14 saves), Wilson (3:30 of 3rd, 7-5); UML, Hutton (31-31)
Power-play opportunities: Maine 0-5, UML 0-2
. Maine goalie Ben Bishop allowed four goals on 18 shots before being replaced by Dave Wilson in the third period.
. UMass Lowell (9-4-4) won its fifth straight.
. Maine outshot UML 31-25.
. Maine left wing Billy Ryan and defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin were named to the all-tourney team.