The University of Maine men’s ice hockey team didn’t provide the start to homecoming weekend 4,636 fans at Alfond Arena hoped to see.

St. Lawrence dominated the Black Bears from the opening faceoff as the Saints defeated Maine, 5-0.

“It was a disappointing game for us from start to finish,” Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. “I thought we got off to a good start the first five minutes but after the first goal it seemed like the balloon deflated quickly. They outplayed us in every facet of the game.”

The Black Bears finished the night 0-for-9 on the power play and committed seven penalties for 14 minutes of penalty time. St. Lawrence went 2-for-8 with the extra skater and committed 9 penalties.

“We know that’s how we’re going to win games this year,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “We’re going to live and die by our special teams.”

The Saints played quickly and attacked on high-quality scoring chances through out the game, mustering a majority of their shots from below the hash marks and in the slot.

St. Lawrence goaltender Matt Weninger looked sharp and carried the defensive effort for the Saints as he earned the shutout.

“There’s not much that can be said about that performance,” captain Joey Diamond said. “They outplayed us. We need to come back (Saturday) night and check ourselves the minute we walk through the door for pregame meetings.”

St. Lawrence tallied the first goal at the 6:59 mark in the first period as Riley Austin’s slap shot from the point found its way through traffic into the back of the net.

Forward Greg Carey carried the puck from lower left corner to the hash mark where he dished a pass to Austin who faked a slap shot once and then fired into traffic. Austin’s shot tipped off of Maine defender Mike Cornell’s leg and through Sullivan’s five-hole.

The Saints carried their one goal lead into the first intermission.

St. Lawrence didn’t wait long into the second period to extend their lead as forward Chris Martin tallied a power play goal 1:08 in to give the Saints a 2-0 lead.

Justin Baker moved the puck below the left inner hash mark to Kyle Flanagan who touched a quick pass to Martin on the upper post. Martin roofed the one-time attempt over Sullivan’s shoulder for the power play goal.

The Saints special teams would strike again at the 10:13 point of the period as Patrick Doherty scored a short-handed goal pushing St. Lawrence’s lead to 3-0.

Flanagan fired a crisp pass across the ice to Doherty as he streaked up the right boards into the Black Bears defensive zone and fired a low shot past Sullivan’s right leg.

Maine outshot the Saints 12-6, but could not score on Weninger as St. Lawrence carried the 3-0 lead into the second intermission and wouldn’t look back at any point in the third period.

Gunner Hughes added a goal for the Saints on assists from Pat Raley and George Hughes 3:45 into the final period to extend the Saints lead to 4-0.

St. Lawrence added one more goal with 12:20 left in the game as Justin Baker tallied a power play goal on assists from Jordan Dewey and Flanagan to make the lead 5-0 as the score held.

Maine pulled Sullivan after the fifth goal as Matt Morris entered the game in relief.

“Weninger had a great game, I mean he picked up the shut out, so kudos to him,” said Sullivan. “I think tonight was a matter of being out willed, not out skilled.”

The Black Bears outshot St. Lawrence 30-23 .

Weninger stopped all 30 shots he faced as he improves to 2-1 on the season. Sullivan made 17 saves on 22 shots as he falls to 0-3.

Black Bears forward Kyle Beattie left the ice in the first period with an apparent injury and did not return to the game. Whitehead said it is doubtful he will play Saturday.

Maine and St. Lawrence will square off for Game 2 of the series Saturday at Alfond Arena at 7 p.m.

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