Despite leading 3-2 with less than five minutes remaining in regulation, the Maine Black Bears (3-2-1, 0-0-0 HEA) relinquished their lead in the final period, finishing in a 3-3 tie with the Miami University Ohio (2-1-2, 0-0-0 NCHC) Red Hawks. The Red Hawks leaned on fourth-year forward Anthony Louis in the final moments, beating Black Bears second-year netminder Rob McGovern on the power play with 4:30 remaining in the contest to knot the score.
While Maine failed maintain its late advantage, the Black Bears’ performance was just as impressive. Maine was led by McGovern, who stopped 39 shots in the contest. First-year forward Mitchell Fossier continued his hot streak for Maine, scoring his sixth goal of the season in just five games. Louis notched two goals in the contest for Miami.
Each time Maine scored in the contest, Miami had an answer. Third-year forward Cedric Lacroix gave Maine their third lead of the contest, a 3-2 advantage, with 6:26 remaining in the third period. Second-year forward Dane Gibson stole the puck on an aggressive forecheck and found Lacroix near the half wall. Lacroix skated to the faceoff dot, ripping a wrist shot short side over the shoulder of Red Hawks first-year goaltender Ryan Larkin. Gibson’s assist was his second on the night.
A Black Bears penalty with 4:47 remaining gave Miami a new life and Louis would score on the power play to bring his team even with Maine. With the man advantage, third-year defender Louie Belpedio caught a puck that deflected off a Maine stick on a feed to the point. Belpedio threw the puck to the ice and found Louis along the right wall, skating into the slot and firing a shot that beat McGovern on his glove side.
Maine took their first lead of the contest at the 14:24 mark of the opening period. First-year forward Peter Housakos stole a breakout pass in Miami’s end of the ice and hustled to the far post, tucking the puck just inside the iron behind Larkin to secure a 1-0 lead.
The River Hawks responded just over five minutes into the middle period when second-year defender Grant Hutton notched his second goal of the season. Winning a puck battle along the boards behind the Maine net, second-year forward Kiefer Sherwood snuck a backdoor pass to Hutton who clapped a shot into the back of the net to even the score at 1-1.
Fossier notched his sixth goal of the season later in the middle period on a redirection, capitalizing on a wrist shot from the point by third-year defender Mark Hamilton that was on target at the front of the net. Gibson earned his first helper of the contest by feeding Hamilton, who settled the puck and fired a wrist shot through traffic at the goalmouth. Fossier was able to get his stick on the shot in midair, redirecting the puck out of Larkin’s reach to take a 2-1 advantage.
Louis notched his first goal of the contest on a one timer with an assist from second-year forward Josh Melnick. Melnick maintained possession of the puck during a battle along the corner board, finding Louis as he made a cut into scoring position. Louis ripped a one-timer shot that McGovern got a piece of, but the puck trickled over the line to tie the contest at 2-2.
Due to home ice conference rules, the game went into a 3-on-3 OT period and then a shootout, where Maine was declared the winner on a forehand to backhand deke that led to a goal by third-year forward Nolan Vesey.
McGovern was much busier than Larkin between the pipes, stopping 39 of the 42 shots he faced, while Larkin stopped 18 of 21. With the tie, McGovern moves to 3-1-1 in net for Maine on the season, while Larkin moves to 1-1-1.
Maine failed to score on all of its power play opportunities, tallying just one shot on three man advantage opportunities. Miami went 1-of-8 in the contest on the power play.
Red Hawks dominate game two with 5-0 victory
Undisciplined play and costly penalties opened the door for the River Hawks in game two of the weekend series, shutting out the Black Bears by a 5-0 score. After a scoreless opening period of play, Miami’s Louis opened up the scoring in the middle stanza and Belpedio tallied two goals of his own in the period going into the third.
In the final period, Miami would add two more goals to its total and Larkin would earn the shutout.
Louis opened up the scoring in the second period by converting on a transition rush where Melnick found Louis in the slot, ripping a wrist shot that beat McGovern to take a 1-0 lead.
Miami would then add two power play goals, both scored by Belpedio to close out the period. The first goal was tallied at the 4:07 mark of the period, just 25 seconds after Louis’ score. Sherwood found Belpedio at the point who sent a wrist shot through traffic that found its way into the net, doubling the Red Hawks lead.
Belpedio would score again on the power play at the 9:18 mark of the period, this time skating into the slot with his point pass and wristed a shot by McGovern to take a commanding 3-0 lead.
In the final period, third-year defender Scott Dornbrock notched his second goal of the season, converting with Sherwood on a 2-on-0 opportunity. Sherwood sent a perfect pass across the slot to Dornbrock, who scored easily with McGovern out of position to make the save.
McGovern was replaced by first-year goaltender Stephen Mundinger, who made seven of eight stops in his collegiate debut in the final period of the contest.
Mundinger gave up his first collegiate goal at the 9:14 mark of the third period, this time at the hands of Sherwood on another odd man rush. Sherwood and first-year forward Karch Bachman approached the Black Bears net on a 2-on-1 chance and converted, with Sherwood slipping the puck past Mundinger to enhance the Red Hawks’ lead to 5-0.
Maine struggled to find any offense during the outing, failing to convert on any of its six power play opportunities, while the Red Hawks found the back of the net twice on the power play in eight tries.
Maine returns to action next weekend when they face off against Colgate at their brand new Class of 1965 Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m on Friday, Oct. 28 for the first game of the weekend series. The Red Hawks will return to the ice to play Bowling Green also on Friday, Oct. 28 with a puck drop scheduled for 7:35 p.m.