The University of Maine men’s hockey looked to pick up their first home win of the year Friday night against the University of Massachusetts.
UMass defenseman Conor Allen tied the game after the Black Bears led the first 59 minutes, and the Black Bears and Minutemen tied 2-2.
UMaine was ranked last in Hockey East in goals scored, goals allowed, penalty minutes and power play efficiency coming into the game, while UMass, who has lost to Boston College in a pair of one-goal games and defeated the University of New Hampshire, was ranked fifth or better in all of those categories.
After going 1-1 during the University of Massachusetts-Lowell series, UMaine junior goaltender Martin Ouellette was tabbed as the starter by head coach Tim Whitehead.
UMass took control of the puck in the early goings, out-shooting the Black Bears 5-0 in shots on goal in the first 5 minutes.
After what looked to be a missed opportunity for the Black Bears after junior forward Mark Anthoine was called offside on a 2-on-1, fortunes changed for UMaine later in the period after a double penalty was called on UMaine senior forward Joey Diamond and UMass defenseman Oleg Yevenko.
With 7:39 gone by in the first period, UMaine freshman Devin Shore assisted senior defenseman Mark Nemec in scoring his second goal of the year during the 4-on-4 to put the Black Bears up 1-0.
UMass forward Steven Guzzo was called for high-sticking 8:20 into the first period, giving UMaine a 4-on-3 advantage, putting them on the power play.
UMaine was able to score only their third power-play goal of the season out of 52 tries 9:21 into the first period when sophomore defender Jake Rutt blasted a slap-shot by UMass goaltender Kevin Boyle after being assisted by frehsman defenseman Ben Hutton and senior center Kyle Beattie.
“When we get [a power play goal] this season it’s kind of an event,” Whitehead said.
Ouellette was able to shutout the Minutemen in the first period stopping all 11 UMass shots on goal.
The Minutemen were able to cut the lead in half in the second period as UMass was able to take advantage of their own power play opportunity. The physical play picked up towards the end of the period as a couple of scuffles broke out and hitting after the whistle penalties were called.
The penalty that enabled UMass to score on the power play was Diamond’s goaltender interference penalty that occurred 13:08 into the second period. Guzzo was assisted by forwards Patrick Kiley and Troy Power 14:54 into the second period to make the score 2-1 in favor of UMaine.
Diamond, who broke the UMaine record for career penalty minutes in the game, disagreed with the call.
“It’s what he saw, and obviously I don’t agree with the call. They kind of have it out for me a little bit, but that’s fine. It’s just something I have to play through,” Diamond said.
UMaine held the lead and kept the Minutemen at bay for the entire third period until UMass pulled their goaltender out with just over one minute to play in the game. Going 6-on-5, Allen scored for UMass unassisted to tie the game at two.
“We had six guys out there, I knew someone would be in the slot,” said UMass forward Rocco Carzo about the deflection before Allen’s goal.
“They were able to score first and then they were able to score second. I wanted to stress to my guess at the end of the game you can’t play the scoreboard. Whether you’re up a goal, down a goal, down two, it doesn’t matter,” said UMass head coach John Micheletto. “Honestly, we wanted the two points, but we were down, second period we weren’t playing well, but we battled back.”
Neither UMaine nor UMass was able to make any serious moves in the extra period until the Minutemen went on the power play after Rutt was called for slashing 3:52 into overtime. Ouellette was able to stop all of the UMass shots on goal before UMaine went on their final offensive. Boyle was able to stop the Black Bears, and the game ended with a 2-2 tie.
“[That penalty kill] was big, it was very big, very important, a tough situation to be in, these guys handed it well, it was a tough series to be in, that penalty kill series but it turned out to be a big positive,” Whitehead said. “I thought Martin was the biggest positive, he established himself, and I was very impressed with his performance. “It feels like a loss after you have a lead and the other team ties it but it was hard fought, it could have gone either way. Unfortunately we only got one point out of it.”
“It was a point lost. We had a two nothing lead, and at the Alfond that should be a win. The third period I thought we played pretty well but we couldn’t generate enough offense,” Rutt said. “Marty played a hell of a game. They outplayed us, you [have to] give credit to them.”
Ouellette saved 30 shots for the Black Bears while Boyle saved 27 on the night, as UMaine’s record goes to 2-9-1 (1-5-1 Hockey East) and UMass goes to 3-4-1 (2-4-1 Hockey East).