Allston, Mass. — Amidst plenty of local collegiate players at Warrior Ice Arena this weekend, University of Maine goalie Robert McGovern got his chance to shine.

The Weymouth, Massachusetts native was one of four goalies at Boston Bruins development camp over the course of four days at the team’s practice facility.

Heading into his junior season with the Black Bears, McGovern’s 2016-2017 campaign led Maine to one of their best seasons since he has been a part of the squad.

“We had a better year this year than last, we want to keep putting some more wins on our record,” McGovern said. “Incoming class should help a lot. With some of the skill we have returning and coming in and our work ethic that will put us over the top.”

McGovern, who played his high school hockey at Thayer Academy in Massachusetts, established himself in the 2016-2017 season with Maine by putting up a 2.99 goals against average in his sophomore season. He went 9-15-3 as the Black Bears saw a season of improvement; his record was 2-14-3 in his freshman season where he played in 20 games to a 2.78 GAA.

After his second season campaign, however, it was good enough for the 22-year old to get a look from one of the NHL’s original six teams.

“It’s kind of a crazy feeling, a little surreal,” he said. “An honor to be around the organization and see some of the people. (It’s been) a lot of fun so far.”

McGovern, a free agent camp invite, wasn’t on the ice on Thursday after testing for something camp director Jamie Langenbrunner said was being checked by doctor. But by Friday morning, he was ready to take the ice.

McGovern has made his mark in Boston before, just 15 miles north of his hometown, when he led the Black Bears to a shutout over UConn at Frozen Fenway just five months ago, his first career shutout.

Contending in Hockey East, one of the strongest conferences in the nation, has prepared McGovern for some of the speed and pace from a camp ripe with future NHL talent.

“It’s one of the best leagues in college hockey,” McGovern said. “The top players around go there. (I’m getting) used to the speed and pace. It’s middle of the summer so you’re not completely up to speed but it’s not shocking to go out there and see guys skate and shoot like this.”

McGovern had to earn his role heading into the 2016-2017 season with two other goalies vying for playing time. Matt Morris, a redshirt senior last season, was usurped by McGovern for most of the season. Newcomer Stephen Mundinger didn’t see the ice much, and Sean Romero transferred to Ohio State before the season.

McGovern played over 1,600 minutes en route to establishing himself as the starting goalie while Morris played to a 4+ GAA. As one of the lower scoring teams in the conference, the Black Bears needed McGovern to play well in net.

Heading into next season, there is optimism in Orono,  and it is due in part to McGovern’s play. For the Bruins to take notice, something is going right for the Weymouth native.

Unlike some of the younger goalies in camp, such as USHL player and draft pick Jeremy Swayman, or Walpole, Mass. high school graduate James Corcoran, McGovern was used to facing the talent level he saw, facing up against Bruins prospect Anders Bjork of Notre Dame regularly.

“Just compete and work hard, that’s the type of game I like to play,” he said. “I’m not very technical, just stop the puck and good things usually happen. That’s my mindset.”

That mindset is looking to lead the Black Bears next season.

filed under: