PORTLAND – UMaine Junior center Jeff Marshall is not a natural goal scorer. He is a hard worker who does a lot of the little things well.
But Marshall picked an opportune time for his second career goal and it was his work ethic and that of his teammates that guided them to an impressive 4-2 men’s hockey win over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at the Cumberland County Civic Center Sunday afternoon..
Marshall’s shorthanded goal 9:17 into the third period gave the Black Bears a 3-1 cushion and Billy Ryan iced it with a shorthanded empty-netter.
Maine outshot the Engineers 36-20 and attempted 58 shots to RPI’s 41.
Maine improved to 7-9-2 overall while snapping a two-game losing streak. RPI is now 8-10-3 after absorbing its fifth straight loss.
“We had two [bad] performances so we really wanted to set a tone and send a message that we can play with anybody,” said Marshall. “We just tried to keep things simple, work hard and do the little things we hadn’t done in the two previous games.”
Maine extended its unbeaten streak at the Cumberland County Civic Center to 11 games (8-0-3) and a crowd of 6,620 turned out for the matinee. Maine is 16-6-3 all-time at the CCCC.
Freshman right wing Lem Randall’s first career goal and point staked Maine to a 1-0 lead in the first period before RPI freshman right wing Chase Polacek equalized 5:56 into the third period.
Maine senior center Wes Clark snapped a 10-game goal-less drought 3:03 later to provide the Bears with a lead they would never relinquish.
After the goals by Marshall and Ryan, Seth Klerer added a consolation goal for RPI with 42 seconds remaining.
“We stuck to the game plan. The guys played great team defense. This was our best defensive game of the year,” said Maine junior goalie Ben Bishop, who finished with nine Grade-A (high-percentage) saves among his 18.
Bishop broke out of a slump of eight goals allowed in 63 minutes and 30 seconds in two games.
“Maine battled really hard. They outcompeted us. They won most of the one-on-one battles,” said RPI senior center and captain Jake Morissette. “We didn’t execute our game plan. Mathias [goalie Mathias Lange] kept us in the game.”
Maine was coming off a 6-0 loss to UMass Lowell in the Florida College Classic final and a 7-3 Friday night loss at home to Northeastern.
“Jeff works so hard. That was a hug goal. I was so happy for him,” said Bishop.
Marshall was forechecking and the puck rimmed around the boards and Marshall beat an RPI forward to the puck.
“One of their defensmen stepped up on me and the puck popped up in the air,” said Marshall. “I was able to settle the puck down and slide it through the goalie’s legs.”
“That was the key goal of the game,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead who was pleased with his team’s performance and noted that by simplifying their offensive game it significantly aided their team’s defensive performance..
Ryan sewed up the win thanks to a heady play by Rob Bellamy.
Simon Danis-Pepin dumped the puck down the ice and Bellamy was the first one on it. He looked over his shoulder to assess the situation and passed it out to Ryan, who deposited it into the vacant net with two seconds left on the RPI power play.
Randall opened the scoring 6:37 into the game.
Robby Dee passed the puck back to Travis Ramsey at the right point and Randall, positioned in the middle of the right face-off circle, deflected Ramsey’s shot over Lange’s glove into the short side corner.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” said Randall, who rattled several Engineers with stiff body checks throughout.
Maine outshot RPI 16-8 in the first period.
Polacek tied it when he took a pass from Tyler Helfrich, skated down the middle of the slot and rolled the puck through a maze of players inside the post to Bishop’s right.
Ryan set up Clark’s go-ahead goal by taking a long pass from Danis-Pepin along the right wing boards and stickhandling into the offensive zone before stopping and holding the puck until Bellamy skated into position in the right circle.
He fed it to Bellamy, who quickly threw it across to Clark, who beat a backchecker to the slot.
Lange finished with 13 Grade-A saves among his 32.
. Jeff Marshall’s shorthanded goal 9:17 into the third period gave the Black Bears a 3-1 cushion.
. Maine outshot RPI 36-20 and attempted 58 shots to RPI’s 41.
. Maine extended its unbeaten streak at the Cumberland County Civic Center to 11 games (8-0-3).
BLACK BEARS 4, ENGINEERS 2
RPI (8-10-3) 0 1 1 – 2
Maine (7-9-2) 1 1 2 – 4
First period – 1. Maine, Randall 1 (Ramsey, Dee), 6:37. Penalties: Maine, Ramsey, interference, :29; RPI, Burgdoerfer, contact to the head-roughing, 7:43; Maine, Carriere, cross checking, 14:38.
Second period – 2. RPI, Polacek 5 (Helfrich), 5:56; 3. Maine, Clark 3 (Bellamy, Ryan), 8:59. Penalties: Maine, Dee, elbowing, 10:37; RPI, Uryadov, hitting from behind, 11:23; RPI, Kerins, grabbing the facemask, 18:02; Maine, Ryan, roughing, 18:02; RPI, Helfrich, cross checking, 18:48.
Third period – 4. Maine, Marshall 2 (unassisted), 9:17 (sh); 5. Maine, Ryan (Bellamy, Danis-Pepin), 17:40 (sh, en); 6. RPI, Klerer (Halpern, Brutlag), 19:18. Penalties: RPI, Burgdoerfer, hooking, 2:14; Maine, Carriere, hooking, 5:01; Maine, Ramsey, hooking, 8:29; Maine, Clark, obstruction-tripping, 15:41.
Shots on goal: RPI 8-5-7 – 20; Maine 16-10-10 – 36
Goaltenders: RPI, Lange (35 shots-32 goals); Maine, Bishop (20-18)
Power-play opportunities: RPI 0-6, Maine 0-4
High percentage scoring chances: RPI 5-5-7 – 17; Maine 6-8-7 – 21