ORONO -- Sometimes when a team is struggling, any wins can change the momentum of the season and bring about positive energy. That could be the case with the University of Maine hockey team after this weekend. The Black Bears improved to 6-13-1 with a weekend sweep of Canisius College.
Maine won, 4-1 on Friday and finished off the series sweep with a 3-1 decision on Saturday. It was more than just the two wins against a nonconference opponent from Atlantic Hockey that is not having the best of seasons. Some key players on this Maine team had potentially breakout weekends.
Junior captain Devin Shore, a returning All-American, was expected to lead the Black Bears, but he struggled in the first half. Other teams honed in on the Dallas Stars prospect, but he didn't seem to have the same step to his game that he did his first two years. The Ajax, Ontario native had a goal Friday and two assists Saturday. He now carries a four-game point streak, with seven points during that stretch.
Freshman Nolan Vesey, a 2014 Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, had a goal and an assist Saturday after lighting the lamp on Friday night. The North Reading, Mass. native now has scored a goal in four of five games and has at least a point in five of six. That comes following the first 13 games in which he had just three points total.
Freshman goaltender Sean Romeo stopped 53 of 55 shots on the weekend, giving up just two goals. His continued confidence and improvement between the pipes will be vital for any sustained success the Black Bears are to potentially have in the second semester.
Maine returns to action next weekend with a pair of nonconference games against Hockey East foe UMass at the Mullins Center. The games are a good chance for Red Gendron's team to continue picking up momentum. Against Hockey East opponents at the Mullins Center this season, the Minutemen have been outscored 39-13.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.