The University of Maine men’s ice hockey team took on nationally ranked the University of Massachusetts Lowell, No. 14, on Friday, Nov. 8, resulting in a 1-1 draw.
Despite heavy offensive efforts from both squads throughout the first period, neither team could manage to find the back of the net. Maine’s third-year goaltender Jeremy Swayman made seven saves in the first period while the River Hawks’ third-year goaltender Tyler Wall made ten saves. The River Hawks scored the first goal of the game on a five-on-three power play, with Maine’s sitting second-year defenseman Simon Butala for holding and third-year defenseman JD Greenway for roughing. Following the initial faceoff, the River Hawks immediately pounced on the advantage, working the three Maine players around their zone until fourth-year forward Kenny Hausinger dished a pass out to first-year forward Carl Berglund. Berglund buried the puck behind Swayman to take the advantage for Lowell less than a minute into the second period.
Maine, similarly to the first period, proved they could shoot on goal by notching 13 shots at Wall, but seemingly couldn’t sneak one past the great Wall.
Fourth-year forward Mitchell Fossier, after fighting hard in the five-on-three that gave Lowell their lead, tied the game with nine minutes to go into the third period. Fourth-year forward Tim Doherty had his shot deflected by the River Hawks defenders, and the rebound found its way to Fossier who clapped the one time shot into the back of the net. The match ended in a 1-1 tie as the two teams played a scoreless five-minute overtime period. Swayman finished with 36 saves for Maine, and Wall stopped 30 for Lowell. The Black Bear defense blocked nine shots to help preserve the tie. The River Hawks went 1-2 on the powerplay while Maine went 0-1.
In their follow-up contest on Saturday night, the River Hawks defeated the Black Bears by a final score of 3-2. Maine dropped to 5-3-2 overall and 2-2-2 in Hockey East play. The River Hawks improved to 7-2-3 overall (4-0-2 in the Hockey East Association [HEA]) with the win.
Maine’s second-year forward Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup opened the scoring in the game just four minutes into the opening frame to give the Black Bears a 1-0 lead, corralling a deflected shot from Greenway and burying it over a recovering Wall just outside of the crease.
Lowell’s Berglund tied the game at one just two minutes into the second period, finding a crack in the Black Bears’ defense and firing a line drive past Swayman to give Lowell the advantage.
Four minutes later, with Lowell back on the attack in the Black Bears’ zone, a bevy of shots at Swayman, and his acrobatics to stop all of them left him confused as to where the puck was. As it floated up the ice, the River Hawks’ second-year defenseman Anthony Baxter lined up and ripped a beautiful wrist shot over Swayman’s stick-side shoulder.
Fossier and Doherty, showing their leadership as fourth-years, leveled the score at two on a beautiful feed and wrist shot, which went bar down over Wall’s head.
With 16 minutes remaining in the game, Lowell first-year forward Matt Brown buried an incredibly unlikely shot. As Swayman crowded the right side of the net, with Brown circling behind, Brown fired a wrist shot that went between Swayman’s helmet and the top right corner of the net, barely ricocheting into the goal. Swayman finished with 27 saves, while Wall tallied 38 for Lowell. This goaltender matchup is one of the finest you’ll see in the Hockey East, as Wall is the reigning conference defensive player of the month and Swayman, drafted by the Boston Bruins in 2017, continues to progress his skills towards NHL caliber play.
Maine will return to the ice next Friday, Nov. 15, when the next chapter of the Border Battle is written against New Hampshire. Puck drop for the match-up with the Wildcats is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.