ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine has had a number of impressive freshmen over the years, but it’s difficult to recall any who had a hat trick in their debuts.
Right wing Mitchell Fossier did just that on Friday night with three goals as the Black Bears upended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Alfond Arena in a mutual season-opener.
Freshmen scored all five UMaine goals.
The two teams will play again at 7 p.m. Saturday.
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Fossier scored goals in the first, second and third period.
Center Patrick Shea and Fossier scored 1:26 apart early in the first period to give UMaine a lead it would never relinquish.
Fossier scored the lone goal in the second period and added a clinching goal after Chase Pearson scored his first goal in a Black Bear uniform and RPI’s Jared Wilson had sliced the lead to 4-1 early in the third period.
The Black Bears carried play to the tune of a 16-8 margin in shots on goal, but goalie Rob McGovern did have to come up with a pair of breakaway saves off Jesper Ohrvall and Drew Melanson to preserve the lead.
Shea opened the scoring at the 6:06 mark when he took pass from Ryan Smith, broke down the right wing, waited for an RPI defenseman to drop down to try to block the shot and snapped a wrister from the right circle deflecting into the short side off Chase Perry.
Fossier expanded the lead off a rebound.
Nolan Vesey slipped the puck to Pearson in the low slot, and Perry made a nice save on the point-blank attempt.
But the rebound spilled to the goalie’s left, and Fossier roofed it from a tight angle.
Midway through the period, Ohrvall impressively corralled a long pass behind the UMaine defense and broke in alone on McGovern. But McGovern held his ground and made a stick save.
A UMaine turnover led to the Melanson breakaway, and McGovern was able to get his chest on the shot.
The Black Bears got into some penalty problems in the second period but were able to kill off five RPI power plays, including a 39-second five-on-three.
The Black Bears also caught a couple breaks in the period when shots by Jacob Hayhurst and Melanson hit the crossbar.
Fossier expanded the lead at the 7:30 mark when he swatted home an Eric Schurhamer rebound and Blaine Byron had won a faceoff back to him.
Linemate Pearson made it 4-0 early in the third period by one-timing a Vesey pass past Perry from the right circle.
After Wilson’s one-timer from the right circle cut into the lead, Vesey and Fossier worked a nifty give-and-go with Fossier finishing it off with a 16-foot wrister into the far corner.
UMaine outshot RPI 36-30.