The University of Maine men’s ice hockey team faced off against the Boston College Eagles in game one of the two-game weekend series on Friday, Feb. 22 at the Alfond Arena.
The Black Bears took game one of the series winning 2-1, holding off the Eagles in the final minutes.
The first period started out with Maine putting pressure on the Eagles, taking six shots before the Eagles could even register a shot on Maine’s goal. Second-year goaltender Jeremy Swayman stopped every shot the Eagles took at him. With half of the first period expired, the Black Bears took advantage of a 4-on-4 opportunity and capitalized on it. Third-year forward Mitchell Fossier snagged the puck between faceoff circles, thanks to a deflection by third-year forward Chase Pearson. Fossier handled the puck and cut into open ice, taking off past the faceoff circle and beating Eagles’ third-year goaltender Joseph Woll by firing a slap shot over his blocker. Maine kept the 1-0 lead into the intermission in front of a roaring home crowd.
The Black Bears came out strong in the second period. Seven minutes in, Pearson stole the puck while behind the net, sending it up the boards to fourth-year defenseman Keith Muehlbauer. His shot was blocked in traffic, stopping in the high slot where second-year forward Eduards Tralmaks skated in and fired a quick shot to beat Woll’s outstretched pad, extending Maine’s lead to 2-0. The Eagles did not give up, as they outshot the Black Bears 15-6 in the second period, but Swayman held strong and stopped every shot that came his way.
Maine kept the Eagles off of the board for most of the third period before taking a tripping penalty with two minutes left on the clock. The Eagles called a timeout and pulled Woll for the extra attacker to create a 6-on-4 power play. Less than 30 seconds into the two-man advantage, Eagles’ second-year forward Logan Hutsko snuck a pass in front of the net for second-year forward Aapeli Räsänen, who quickly beat Swayman with a one-timer inside the left post, leading to The Eagle’s first point of the night. The Eagles kept Woll on the bench in an effort to try and tie the game with six attackers, but the Black Bears held them off and beat the Eagles for the second time this year. Swayman stopped 31 of 32 shots and help the Black Bears picked up a huge Hockey East win.
On Saturday, Feb. 23, the Maine men’s ice hockey team collected their third win against the Eagles, sweeping Boston College for the season, with a final score of 2-1.
12 minutes into a relatively quiet first period the Eagles jumped on the board. First-year forward Oliver Wahlstrom took a pass at the half boards from the point by third-year forward Ben Finkelstein and cut across the rink to fire from the faceoff circle. After a strong save by Swayman, third-year forward David Cotton scooped up the deflected puck and snuck it past the Black Bears’ tender for his 18th goal of the season. The Eagles led the first period, outshooting Maine 15-2 and keeping the Black Bears on the defensive.
The Black Bears came roaring out in the second period, firing 23 shots at Woll. Swayman denied some strong attempts from the Eagles, helping the Black Bears stay in the game. With under a minute left in the second period, fourth-year forward Brendan Robbins deflected a hard shot from first-year forward Jakub Sirota and it found the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
The third period was a back and forth battle between the two teams but neither could find the back of the net. Both goaltenders were stalwarts, letting nothing past them. This forced the game into an electric overtime, and with a minute left in the extra period the Black Bears found their way past Woll. Tralmaks took a puck from the corner and chipped it up the boards. Pearson collected Tralmaks’ pass and dished the puck to Fossier, who clapped the shot that went right through Woll’s five hole. Swayman rounded off his fantastic weekend with 36 saves on 37 shots. Maine picked up two crucial hockey east points from the weekend series, putting the Black Bears on the bubble and tied for fifth in the conference.
The Black Bears will make the trip down to play UMass Amherst on Saturday, March 2.