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Wednesday, Dec. 17, 10:39 a.m.
Sports

UMaine, Merrimack skate to 1-1 draw

University of Maine forward Kyle Beattie and Merrimack College defenseman Dan Kolomatis both scored one goal a piece while UMaine goaltender Martin Ouellette and Merrimack goaltender Sam Marotta saved 26 and 32 shots, respectively, as the Black Bears and Warriors tied 1-1 on Friday night.

The first period was a quiet one, with Merrimack out-shooting the Black Bears eight to seven with only one penalty called.

“It was like the first couple rounds of a heavyweight fight. It was like they were feeling each other out and there wasn’t a lot going on,” said Merrimack Head Coach Mark Dennehy.

“We were a little tentative, we were a little nervous. I thought we played with a lot more poise starting in the second all the way into overtime,” said UMaine Head Coach Tim Whitehead.

Merrimack had control of the puck for the majority of the period, but UMaine forward Joey Diamond gave the Black Bears a couple of excellent scoring opportunities in from of the Warrior net.

With 8 minutes gone in the period, Diamond streaked down the right side and passed to the center but forward Ben Hutton could not control the pass. Diamond ended the period with three shots on goal to lead the Black Bears in the period.

Merrimack forward Kyle Singleton provided UMaine a 5-on-4 advantage when he was caught tripping 16:54 into the first period. However, UMaine’s nine percent power place efficiency didn’t fare well when the Warriors cleared the puck every time the Black Bears brought it over the blue line.

The action picked up in the second period, with UMaine freshman forward Devin Shore gaining a one-on-one right away. Shore started on the right side and moved over to the left side of the net, and Marotta stuck his leg pad out at the last second to prevent the Black Bears from taking a 1-0 lead.

The Warriors didn’t waste any time taking advantage of their own scoring opportunity when they went on the power play 1:16 into the period after UMaine freshman forward Jake Rutt was called for interference.

Just as the power play expired, Merrimack forward Shawn Bates assisted defenseman Dan Kolomatis 3:16 into the period to put the Warriors up 1-0.

“It all started with [Merrimack forward John Gustafsson], he passed it to me for an outlet, I skated up the ice and dished it off to [Merrimack forward Shawn Bates], it may have hit off his skate, came back through the defender’s legs and off my stick,” Kolomatis said.“I saw a little hole on the short side.  I didn’t see anyone coming up for a rebound so I thought I’d just shoot it.”

 

UMaine had their own power play opportunity to score on 11:39 into the period when Merrimack forward Josh Meyers went to the penalty box.

UMaine forward Adam Shemansky had the best shot on goal opportunity, with a wide open slapshot but hit the right post and the score remained at 1-0.

The Black Bears’ equalizer would come by way of a Beattie drive-in and shoot from the right side in the third period.

Midway through the period, Beattie skated past the Warrior defenders and slipped one past Marotta to tie the game at one goal apiece.

“I was trying to get [Diamond] on the far side, he was pretty open.  The goalie stuck his stick out and the puck hit it and it ended up going in,” Beattie said.

“It was a nice play, I think he meant to do it. He came in on the right side, hit it against my chest, it ping-ponged around myself and it ended up in the back of the net,” Marotta said.

With neither team able to score a game winner in regulation, the Black Bears and Warriors went into overtime.  Each team went on the power play in the extra period.

Just over a minute into overtime, Diamond was called for hitting from behind, but UMaine killed the penalty off with no harm done.

Diamond came back on the ice and provided the best chance for the Black Bears to get their first home win of the season.  With a 3-on-2 developing, Diamond took the puck from the right side of the net to the left and looked to have an opening to attempt a shot, but Diamond chose to keep possession and try a wrap-around which Marotta saved.

“Really hard fought game, I guess we’ll take any points we can get at this point.  We fought back, we were down one nothing, got the equalizer, I thought we were going to get that game winner a couple times, especially that one time in overtime,” Whitehead said.

Kolomatis went to the box for Merrimack with 45 seconds to play, but the Warriors successfully killed the penalty and preserved the 1-1 tie.

“There was a time where Merrimack getting a point at the Alfond Arena was worth dying for, so a point is a point,” Dennehy said.

“Any point in the Hockey East is a point won, but of course you’d like to have two points there,” Moratta said.

The Black Bears and Warriors meet for the third and final time this season Saturday night at the Alfond.