University of Maine senior forward and co-captain Joey Diamond scored four goals over the weekend to help UMaine rise in the standings from last place to playoff position in Hockey East. His two goals Friday night gave UMaine a tie with Providence College while his other two Sunday afternoon gave UMaine a victory over the No. 13 University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks. With UMaine picking up three points in the standings over the weekend, they jumped over the University of Vermont and Northeastern University with just over a month left in the regular season.
Diamond scores 2 goals in the third period to help UMaine tie Providence
University of UMaine senior forward Joey Diamond scored two goals in the third period and Black Bear junior goaltender Martin Ouellette stopped Providence College freshman forward Noel Acciari’s last second shot in overtime to secure a 2-2 tie at the Alfond Arena on Friday night.
“It was a good comeback — good to fight back and tie it up,” said UMaine head coach Tim Whitehead. “We had some chances to win it, and so did they. It was a hard-fought point. We’re pleased with how hard the guys fought for each other.”
“I thought even when we scored the second goal we had settled down a little bit and had a couple good chances to extend the lead,” said Providence head coach Nate Leaman. “We were rattled a lot the first period, this is a tough environment. We took two bad penalties by upperclassmen, and we let them back in the game. It’s a process to learn how to win, and I’m really disappointed we only got one point because we had control of that game. The environment got to a couple of our upperclassmen. We need better leadership.”
First period action picked up 11:07 after the puck dropped when UMaine attempted to clear a puck out of their defensive zone. Two UMaine defenders were facing their own goal trying to hit the loose puck out of the path to the net, not noticing Providence freshman forward Mark Jankowski trailing behind.
Jankowski squeaked between the defenders to get control of the loose puck and shot one past Ouellette to give the Friars a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Diamond started the Black Bears’ best chance to answer back when he had an open path to the net, but Providence freshman goaltender Jon Gillies blocked Diamond’s shot and stopped an onslaught of rebound attempts before finally smothering the puck.
With 15:00 gone in the first period, Providence came close to taking a 2-0 lead over UMaine when a Providence pass attempt deflected off a Black Bear defender’s skate. The puck took an unusual bounce backwards and hit off the left post before being cleared.
UMaine went on the only power play of the period 17:43 into the first period when Providence senior forward Chris Rooney was penalized for interference. The Black Bear’s season-long struggles on the power play continued as the Friars kept the puck in the UMaine zone for most of the power play.
The start of the second period brought another unusual play that almost tied the game for the Black Bears. A deflection of an attempted puck clearing hit a Providence player on the way out of the zone, making the puck slide backward. Gillies noticed just in time, smothering the puck before the goal line to keep the score at 1-0.
Neither team produced much offense in the second period, but both teams took the physical play up a notch.
UMaine senior forward Kyle Beattie was knocked out of the game after being slammed into the boards. Beattie did leave the ice under his own power, but he was bleeding. A few small fights broke out in the period as well, and three penalties were called after only one in the first period.
The third period proved to be a pivotal turning point for the Black Bears in the game, with the Friars appearing to be more and more rattled as the period wore on.
Providence did extend their 1-0 lead 6:55 into the third period, when junior forward Derek Army took the puck from a faceoff on the right side of the net and scooped it past Ouellette to put the Friars up 2-0.
“It got stuck under my feet, and it got poked forward. I just went in towards the net, and it was laying there and nobody was grabbing me, so I just shot it towards the net,” Army said.
“A lot of people probably thought the game was over after they scored that second goal, but we kept working hard,” Ouellette said.
Diamond did not give up on the game, even when it appeared UMaine was in trouble being down a man after sophomore forward Andrew Cerretani was sent to the box for interference 12:18 into the third period.
Shorthanded, Diamond stole the puck and streaked down the left side of the rink with one defender to beat. Diamond crossed over to the right side and scooped the puck underneath the glove of Gillies to score a short-handed goal for the Black Bears that cut the lead to 2-1.
“We thought we were playing a pretty good game going into the third, we had the momentum going into the third,” Diamond said. “We believed in each other and that’s where we knew that if we did believe in each other and were fortunate enough we’d be able to get two goals, and we did. I just read the play, poked the pass, and just went into the breakaway and scored. I put it over his pad and under his glove. It gave us a big boost [of momentum] and then we were able to get on the power play and score another.”
With Providence senior forward Tim Schaller sitting in the box for Providence, Diamond struck again with a special teams goal, this time with UMaine having the one man advantage. With 17 minutes gone in the third, UMaine freshman forward Devin Shore and Cerretani assisted Diamond with the game-tying goal, giving UMaine a momentum advantage going into overtime.
UMaine appeared to still have momentum on its side during the opening minutes of overtime, but Providence had come back in the final minute with an opportunity of their own.
In the closing seconds, Acciari stole the puck and raced down the ice in a race with the clock. Acciari fired a shot with 2 seconds left as Ouellette made the save to preserve the 2-2 tie.
“I went into the net hard. Unfortunately I couldn’t put it in for the team,” Acciari said.
“He kind of surprised me,” Ouellette said. “He shot it pretty quickly. I was able to be patient and make the save.”
“I think in the beginning of the season we wouldn’t have scored a goal or would have come back, but we’re getting better every day in practice and we just have to believe in each other that we can play with these teams,” Diamond said.
“I love the way we played tonight, no qualms with the effort or execution,” Whitehead said. “I thought we were a little tentative in the first [period], a little nervous, but I thought as the game went on we played with more poise and the hard work was there from the beginning. But the first period, offensively we played a little tentative.”
Diamond nets the game winner in OT as UMaine wins first home game
UMaine picked up their first home win of the season against the No. 13 University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks Sunday afternoon as Diamond scored his fourth goal of the weekend 3:59 into overtime and Ouellette saved 35 shots — seven in overtime — to give UMaine a 4-3 victory. The win also moves UMaine into eighth place in Hockey East, putting them in playoff position.
“We’ve been building slowly but surely, last weekend was a huge jump for us, especially on the road at [Boston College], but this weekend was more important because we hadn’t won at home, I’m just happy we could get that monkey off of our back,” Whitehead said.
“It felt great, almost like a playoff game,” Diamond said. “The fans are unbelievable; they’ve been sticking by us all year. I knew we weren’t going to go winless at the Alfond this year. The way we did it in overtime, battling back, it’s definitely a memorable night in the Alfond.”
The Black Bears looked to take the lead just over 2 minutes into the game when senior forward Adam Shemansky and Shore had a breakaway after Shemansky stole the puck. Shemansky hit a high shot and Shore hit the rebound in, and it appeared UMaine took a 1-0 lead.
After review, the referees determined Shore was high sticking when he hit the puck past UMass-Lowell junior goaltender Doug Carr and the score remained 0-0.
Diamond did give the Black Bears the lead 9:50 into the first period after weaving through the River Hawk defense. But the lead did not last long, as UMass-Lowell sophomore forward Terrence Wallin and sophomore defenseman Zack Kamrass assisted freshman forward Micheal Fallon 14 seconds later in scoring the game tying goal.
The penalties stacked up in the second period, with six being called between the Black Bears and River Hawks. Four of the penalties resulted in power-play goals.
UMaine junior defenseman Brice O’Connor was called for boarding 6:14 into the second period, giving the River Hawks a 5-on-4 advantage. During the power play, UMass-Lowell freshman forward Ryan McGrath and junior forward Derek Arnold assisted senior forward Riley Wetmore in giving the River Hawks a 2-1 lead.
The Black Bears answered back with their own power-play goal after UMass-Lowell freshman defenseman Christian Folin was called for hooking. UMaine sophomore defenseman Jake Rutt and Shore assisted freshman forward Ryan Lomberg 13:23 into the second period to tie the game at 2-2.
With two goals already scored by way of power play in the period, the Black Bears looked to be in trouble when they faced a five-on-three situation after Rutt and freshman defenseman Conor Riley were sent to the box 25 seconds apart.
Rutt’s penalty expired with no harm done to UMaine, but with 5 seconds remaining on Riley’s penalty, Kamrass and Folin assisted McGrath 16:08 into the second period to put the River Hawks up 3-2.
Only 20 seconds after the goal, Wetmore gave UMaine a power-play opportunity after committing an interference penalty. Twenty seconds after the penalty was called, Rutt made amends for his earlier penalty by tying the game at 3 16:48 into the second period.
“Coach [Whitehead] knows the UMass-Lowell system pretty well because they have an old assistant, so we kind of knew what we were going against. We just exploited what they did, took what they gave us and we got a couple that went in,” said Rutt of the second period power-play goals.
The third period was calm, with no penalties being called. It was an evenly matched period as well, with both Ouellette and Carr saving nine shots a piece during the period.
Shore had a chance to win the game for UMaine when he had a one-on-one opportunity to the net in the final seconds, but his backhand went just wide left of the net as time expired.
The River Hawks came out firing in the beginning of overtime. UMass-Lowell developed multiple two- and three-on-one chances, but Ouellette stopped all seven attempts he saw during the extra period.
“I thought both goaltenders were equally good tonight. It seems like every game in the Hockey East you run into a hot goalie,” said UMass-Lowell head coach Norm Bazin.
With 3:59 played in overtime, Diamond came off the bench during a line change and stole the puck as the River Hawks were racing towards their offensive zone. With all of the UMass-Lowell players on the other side of the rink, Diamond had a wide open path to the net and got a shot off that went past Carr to give the Black Bears the 4-3 victory.
“I came off the bench and was able to pick off the pass, come in alone, and beat the goalie,” Diamond said. “I tried to get him sliding over, I was headed to the far post and was able to just stop short and he kept going. You want the win. Any goal in overtime to get the win is good. It was special, it was my first overtime goal here at UMaine, and it’s definitely something I’m going to remember.”
“I thought it was a well-played hockey game, both teams had their chances to win,” Bazin said. “We didn’t close the hockey game out: We had two leads and couldn’t score another one to make it a two-goal lead, but credit to them. I quite frankly was encouraged. We played better than we did on Friday. This is a good college atmosphere, a hard-fought game on both sides, and tonight, frankly, we fell short.”
With the win, UMaine improves to 8-14-5 on the year while UMass-Lowell falls to 14-9-2. Next weekend, UMaine heads to the 7-14-4 University of Vermont Catamounts on Saturday, Feb. 9, for their lone game of the weekend.