By: Cullen McIntyre, Staff Writer
On Friday, Nov. 30, the Maine Mariners hosted “Rivalry Night” as they took on the Worcester Railers at the Cross Insurance Arena. Students and staff from both universities filled their sections and embraced their school spirit throughout the game. The newly formed hockey team in Portland drew in a large crowd, as fans embraced the return of the beloved sport in Maine.
The game events began with a ceremonial puck drop done by USM Provost Jeannine Uzzi and UNE President James Herbert, along with the National Anthem sung by Yarmouth Elementary School.
The Mariners came out swinging in the first seconds of the game, and quite literally as the moment the puck dropped players dropped their gloves and the crowds roared as they pulled each other down to the ice.
The game would continue to be filled with excitement, as each team would trade chance after chance at a goal, but it would be the Worcester Railers to strike first with a goal that gave them a 1-0 lead with five minutes left in the first period. The Mariners would be able to even the score shortly after following a goal from forward Morgan Adams-Moisan, and the first period would end 1-1.
USM students continued to be in the spotlight throughout the game, appearing on the Jumbotron for the “Floss Cam,” playing trivia between during intermission, and student Brandon Hallee and friends winning upgraded seats. During the first intermission, student Ben Carey faced off with a UNE student to make their way down the ice, adding hockey gear on until reaching the end where they would pick up a hockey stick and attempt to score. The first student to score would be crowned winner and take home two tickets to a future Mariners game. Ben took a quick lead, getting his gloves and hockey pants on with ease, but as he reached the jersey, his struggles lead to the UNE student catching up and eventually scoring before he could get the jersey on.
Following the event, the Mariners named USM Lacrosse Coach Ashley Durepo as the “Leader of the Night,” and the second period got underway. The Railers would get their second goal of the game a minute into the period, giving them a 2-1 lead. It wouldn’t take them long to add another, as the Mariners would fall into a 3-1 deficit with 11:54 left in the period. The arena grew quiet as things weren’t looking up for the Mariners, until seconds later when gloves were dropped for a second time in the game and another brawl took place. With 10:39 left in the second period, the Mariners had a chance to get back into the game with a penalty shot, and as it was taken the puck struck the goalpost as many fans had believed it had gone into the net, with the score remaining 3-1.
The Mariners had plenty of chances to get back into the game, and they would finally take their chance with a long range shot from defender Sean Day that struck the crossbar and made it 3-2 with 6:07 remaining in the second period.
The second period would end with the Mariners down a goal, but it didn’t stop the USM students from showing their school spirit. Fans continued to cheer on the New York Rangers affiliate, as they continued to push for a goal to even the score. As the Mariners continued to have chance after chance, they weren’t able to make them count, but the Railers would make their chance count in with 3:14 left to go in the game, splitting apart the Mariners defense and netting an easy goal to secure the 4-2 victory.
Though the Mariners suffered a disappointing 4-2 loss at home, students and staff from USM and UNE enjoyed an eventful night full of events and excitement for each school. The Mariners record following the game is 9-7-1 and are 5th in the East Coast Hockey League having played 17 games this season. The Mariners next home game is on Friday, Dec. 7, against the second place Adirondack Thunder with the puck dropping at 7:15 p.m.