It took junior forward Matt Mangene just a second to decide which was better: a game-winning goal or a hat trick.
“[I’d] have to go with the game-winner — it got us the two points,” he said with a smirk.
It was a weekend to remember for Mangene, who finished the sweep of No. 3 Boston College with four goals, including the game-winner in Friday night’s 4-3 overtime win and a hat trick in the series finale, a 7-4 high-scoring affair that was closer than the score suggests.
With the two wins, the Black Bears improve to 12-8-3 and 9-7-2 in Hockey East, while BC falls to 14-10-1 and 10-7-1 in conference.
“[I give] full credit to Maine. They have a very sound hockey team,” said BC head coach Jerry York. “I thought the crowd was a real good factor for them. I thought we could have won both games.”
Friday: UMaine wins 7-3
The Black Bears battled back from two one-goal deficits Friday night, after the Eagles got on the board less than 5 minutes into the contest.
Both BC and UMaine brought the physical play early on, but things settled down after UMaine junior defender Mark Nemec and BC junior forward Chris Kreider were both sent to the penalty box for hitting after the whistle.
During the four-on-four session of play, UMaine was booked for a “too many men on the ice” call, which proved costly. Less than a minute into the four-on-three play, BC sophomore center Kevin Hayes found fellow sophomore center Bill Arnold for an easy one-timer past UMaine sophomore goalie Dan Sullivan.
Later, it looked as if the Eagles had capitalized on another scoring opportunity after Kreider redirected the puck into the net. But after a lengthy review, the goal was waved off.
“It was clearly the right call,” York said. “It went off Chris’ skate — he redirected it.”
The reversed call was the fulcrum of the first period, as the Black Bears turned around and tied the game up with 11 minutes remaining. Junior forward Adam Shemansky was skating along the left faceoff circle when he corralled the puck and fired it past sprawling senior goalie Chris Venti.
“I just saw the goalie wasn’t set and I just wanted to put it at the net, because you never know what’ll happen, and I was lucky to squeak it in,” Shemansky said.
The second period was similar to the first in that each side added a goal, but it was the Black Bears who struck first. After gaining possession of the puck in the neutral zone, junior forward Kyle Beattie maneuvered around a BC defender before beating Venti on his glove side.
The Black Bears were able to sustain the lead for most of the period, despite battling through a few penalties. Their luck ran thin in the last 5 minutes of the period, when BC tied the game with a power-play goal.
After stopping a barrage of shots, the puck leaked out where Eagles senior forward Barry Almeida was able to collect it and beat Sullivan, knotting up the score at two.
BC came out firing in the third period, eventually taking the lead for the second time that night with junior defender Brian Dumoulin’s fourth goal of the season.
The Eagles were able to control the play for most of the period until two back-to-back penalties proved costly. Fifteen seconds after junior forward Steven Whitney was booked for hitting from behind, junior defender Patrick Wey followed him to the penalty box for cross-checking.
“The two penalties weren’t necessary penalties,” York said. “That was certainly a turning point of the game.”
“It was definitely a game-changer,” Venti said of the five-on-three. “Things like that are going to happen in a game. It goes back to discipline.”
After a Black Bears timeout, Shemansky was able to even the score by putting in a rebound from senior center Brian Flynn’s shot. Senior defender Will O’Neill also assisted on the play.
After 60 minutes, a winner still hadn’t been determined, so the 5-minute overtime period was summoned.
Early in the extra period, Flynn rattled the post, just missing a chance to win the game.
However, with just over a minute remaining, Mangene gave the Black Bears the victory and two big Hockey East points. Sophomore forward Mark Anthoine brought the puck into the offensive zone and laid it off to the oncoming Mangene, who fired it past Venti for the win.
“It was just a counter play,” Mangene said. “Anthoine picked it up in the neutral zone and he laid it back to me and I had my head up and saw the goalie’s glove down and ripped it over his glove.”
“I intercepted the pass and just skated up the ice,” Anthoine said. “I faked a shot to freeze the D and I saw Matty out of the corner of my eye and dropped it toward him and he drove it toward net.”
Friday’s game was just the third time this season the Black Bears have won without anyone on their top line scoring.
“That was a big plus,” said UMaine head coach Tim Whitehead. “If you would have said our top line wasn’t going to score and we would win, I’d be like, ‘Really?’ I thought our top line played well — their chances just didn’t go in.”
Saturday: UMaine wins 4-3
In the series finale, the Eagles managed to strike first again, scoring 3 minutes into the contest after Almeida connected for his 12th of the season. Almeida passed to Hayes at the top of the slot, who fired a shot toward Sullivan. Sullivan was able to deflect the initial shot, but Almeida collected the rebound and found an opening past the goalie.
Less than 2 minutes later, the Eagles connected again on a beautiful one-timer by freshman forward Johnny Gaudreau. Senior defender Tommy Cross controlled the puck at the top of the offensive zone and spotted Gaudreau near the net and snapped the puck right to his stick for the easy redirection.
BC continued to dominate possession through the first half of the period until a holding call on sophomore defender Isaac MacLeod gave the Black Bears a power-play opportunity and UMaine took advantage.
Thirteen seconds into the power play, O’Neill fired a shot toward freshman goalie Brian Billett and junior forward Joey Diamond tipped the puck past Billett for his 16th goal of the season.
“They left me alone in front and Will noticed I was alone and made a great shot,” Diamond said.
The Black Bears scored on their second-consecutive power play of the period after senior forward Spencer Abbott found Flynn for an easy goal.
The play in the second period was even for the first 8 minutes until the Eagles gave the Black Bears another power-play opportunity. MacLeod was booked for hooking after Diamond weaved his way through the Eagles’ defense. Toward the end of the power play, Abbott made a great pass through the crease to Mangene, who one-timed it past Billett, giving UMaine the lead.
With less than 7 minutes remaining in the period, the Eagles caught a break after UMaine junior defender Mike Cornell was called for a 5-minute “hitting from behind” major and had to leave the contest after a game misconduct.
However, just 11 seconds into BC’s power play, Mangene broke free and beat Billett for the second time in the period. After firing a shot from beyond the faceoff circle, Mangene collected his rebound and scored his second goal of the game.
“It was five-on-four, the puck came to me and I was able to get around one guy and use my speed to take a shot, and I got my own rebound and popped it over his shoulder,” Mangene said. “It changed the momentum of that power play. It was a huge way to start out [the penalty kill].”
BC brought it back to within one after Almeida scored his second goal of the game.
The Black Bears had another chance on the power play 8 minutes into the period, but things didn’t go as planned this time for Whitehead’s squad.
After some excellent fore-checking by Whitney, he found Almeida in the slot for his third goal of the game to tie the score at four.
With just under 3 minutes remaining in the game, UMaine freshman forward Connor Leen scored his first collegiate goal after gathering his own rebound and flicking the puck past Billett.
“It’s the biggest one so far,” Leen said of his first collegiate goal. “We had an odd man rush and I just put it on net for a rebound and I got my own and put it in. I think I got it out of the air — it was pretty lucky.”
Diamond iced it for the Black Bears with an empty-net goal from 75 feet away. Diamond got the puck by his defensive faceoff circle and flipped it up and into the BC net after a couple of bounces.
“I was just trying to get it out of the zone and, I don’t know, I had a weird feeling it was going to go in and I just let it go,” Diamond said. “We expected they were going to come out hard. We weathered their storm and we were fortunate to bury two on the power play.”
Mangene completed the hat trick in the final minute to give the Black Bears their first sweep of BC in six years.
The Black Bears return to the ice this weekend to take on Hockey East foe Boston University. The puck drops at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Agganis Arena.