Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/11/14
Great special teams play has been an integral part of Maine’s success this season and it was the deciding factor in its decisive 7-3 victory over Boston University during Saturday’s Frozen Fenway doubleheader. The Black Bears entered the matchup as the only Hockey East squad ranked in the top five of power-play percentage and penalty killing success, and it wasn’t hard to see why against the Terriers. Maine opened up a huge lead in the first period with three power-play goals. Blackbears forward Ryan Lomberg and Ben Hutton scored the team’s first two goals, both of which were on the power play. After an even-strength goal by forward Andrew Cerretani, Maine scored another goal on the man advantage when Dallas Stars draftee Devin Shore gave his team a 4-0 cushion going into the first intermission. “It was the penalty kill that put us behind,” said Terriers head coach David Quinn. “I thought we had a good first seven or eight minutes. Unnecessary, needless penalties put us behind the eight ball.” “You give up three power-play goals and you’re down 4-0 before the first period ends, which hasn’t happened to us all year, said Quinn. “The penalty kill has been pretty good all year. Give their power play credit. They do a great job of getting to the net, they get pucks to their point and they just jet it to the net.” Maine ended the game with three power-play goals in six opportunities, and they also scored a short-handed tally when BU had the goalie pulled late in the third period. “Our players just did a great job delivering the puck to the net, we had some traffic,” said Maine head coach Red Gendron when assessing his team’s red-hot power play. Throughout the game, Maine did a tremendous job moving the puck to keep the Terriers penalty killers moving, and this opened up shooting lanes for Black Bears defenseman to fire shots on net. When the puck was loose in and around the crease, the Black Bears won the 50-50 battles and found a way to score. As a result, Maine now leads Hockey East with a plus-15 rating on special teams. As a team that lacks size and aims to beat opponents with its high level of skill, Saturday’s win was a perfect illustration of how Maine needs to play to be successful.Filed under: Boston University, Frozen Fenway, Hockey East, Nicholas Goss, Top Stories

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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