ORONO — They changed their jerseys from dark blue to white.

They changed their starting line-up from veterans to youngsters.

Still, the University of Maine Black Bears could not change their inability to score with any consistency this season. They fell 5-1 Saturday night at Alfond Arena, losing big for the second time this homecoming weekend to St. Lawrence of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference, which has long played little brother to the more ballyhooed Hockey East.

“I saw a better effort,” said Maine Head Coach Tim Whitehead. “But I saw the same result.”

At least the Black Bears averted a third shutout of a season only five games old. A Mark Nemec slapshot from inside the blue line early in the third period ended a string of scoreless futility at Alfond stretching back more than seven periods, to early in the opening 2-1 loss to Quinnipiac.

Nemec’s goal made it 3-1 and sent a charge through that portion of the crowd of 4,689 that remained, but St. Lawrence quieted the building with two more goals.

Greg Cayer and Kyle Flanagan each scored twice and Kyle Essery once for St. Lawrence (3-1). Maine (1-4) has managed only two goals in three home games.

The Black Bears played better than they did in what captain Joey Diamond called an “embarrassing” 5-0 loss Friday night, but St. Lawrence goalie Matt Weninger once again turned away nearly every Maine shot. Or, on two occasions when Diamond and Stu Higgins seemed to be shooting at an empty net, a St. Lawrence defenseman slid in to deny the Black Bears.

Maine’s power-play woes continued. The Black Bears are 0-for-26 with a man advantage this season, having gone 0-for-14 against St. Lawrence and failing to put a shot on net Saturday during a 45-second 5-on-3 skater advantage.

Weninger finished with 36 saves. Matt Morris, who relieved Dan Sullivan after St. Lawrence took a 2-0 lead in the first period, made 10 saves for Maine.

The Black Bears open their Hockey East schedule with a two-game series next weekend at Providence.

 

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