Men’s hockey split final home series with Maine

The University of Maine Black Bears managed to bring an end to the UVM men’s hockey team’s five game winning streak with a 3-0 victory on Saturday night.Following a 2-0 victory by Vermont on Friday night, it didn’t seem like the Catamounts would lose again this season, but their good fortune ran out as they couldn’t summon up any bit of offense on Saturday.Friday’s victory for the Cats was primed by a game-changing penalty on Maine assistant captain Rob Bellamy, who viciously checked UVM sophomore forward Brayden Irwin into the boards from behind 11 minutes into the second period.Bellamy was assessed a five minute major for hitting from behind and a ten minute game misconduct, leading to his ejection from the game and a pair of UVM power play goals.The first goal came three minutes later, as Irwin fired a shot at Maine goalie Ben Bishop.The shot, which was assisted by UVM freshman forward Wahs Stacey, was partially stopped by Bishop, but it snuck under his legs and into the net. Less than two minutes later, sophomore forward Colin Vock widened theCatamount lead on a rebound shot which was assisted by junior co-captain Dean Strong and junior assistant captain Corey Carlson.The 2-0 victory proved to be historic for UVM senior goalie Joe Fallon, as his second straight shutout moved him into second on the NCAA career shutout list with 19.”I thought both goaltenders proved tonight that they’re two of the best in the league and certainly in the country,” UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “I thought Joe Fallon was spectacular.” Irwin echoed his coach’s thoughts. “You just have to look at his stats- Joe Fallon is one of the best to ever play college hockey,” Irwin said.”We’re very fortunate to have him between the pipes for us,” Irwin said. The weekend proved to be bittersweet for Fallon and his fellow seniors though, as a hungry Maine squad spoiled the last regular season home game for the senior class on Saturday night. Sneddon started seniors Slavomir Tomko, Mark Lutz, Reese Wisnowski and Fallon on the night.Maine first jumped on the scoreboard with 5:20 remaining in the first period on a goal from senior Wes Clark, assisted by freshman Andrew Sweetland and Bellamy.Maine struck again four minutes into the second period on a goal from senior assistant captain Billy Ryan, assisted by senior Keenan Hopson and freshman Josh Van Dyk.UVM’s scoring chances in the game were few and far between, but when they did get the puck near the Maine net, junior goalie Ben Bishop was outstanding, recording 30 saves en route to a shutout.Even with the loss on Saturday, Vermont remains tied for second in Hockey East with Boston University, and the Cats stand a good chance of having a home playoff game.Following Saturday’s contest, the senior class was honored, which included Tomko, Lutz, Wisnowski, Fallon, backup goalie Jeff Hill, and Director of Hockey Operations Jonathan Bates. Hill also received a huge cheer from the crowd as the sparsely used goalie was inserted by Sneddon with 30 seconds left in the game.With their winning streak now broken, the Catamounts will look to begin another one as they head to New Hampshire next weekend to face the Hockey East regular season champion Wildcats in what should be a tough final regular season series.