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Black Bears go 1-0-1 versus the Catamounts in huge Hockey East Series

The University of Maine men’s ice hockey team emerged victorious against the University of Vermont Catamounts in overtime, 2-1, on Friday Nov. 30 in Vermont.

The Black Bears started out the game strong. Just four minutes into the first period, second-year defenseman Alexis Binner played the puck up the far side boards to fourth-year forward Brendan Robbins. Robbins corralled the puck and sprinted towards the Vermont net, firing a shot off the crossbar and into the goal, giving the Black Bears a 1-0 lead. Third-year forward Tim Doherty was also credited with an assist on the goal.

With three minutes left in the first period the Catamounts answered with their own goal, scored by fourth-year Conor O’Neil on the doorstep of Maine’s net. Fourth-year defensemen Keith Muehlbauer and Sam Becker stopped the initial Vermont attack, but second-year forward Vlad Dzhioshvili picked up the loose puck. Dzhioshvili threw a shot towards second-year goaltender Jeremy Swayman. The shot cleared the Maine defense, finding O’Neil, who was waiting on the weak side. O’Neil buried the puck into the open net, tying the Hockey East contest, 1-1. This score remained going into the first intermission.

The second and third periods were dictated by penalties. Maine was called for three consecutive penalties to open up the second period. Vermont also received a penalty towards the conclusion of the second period. Despite the power plays granted to both sides neither time was able to benefit from 5-on-4 hockey, while each goalie posted two perfect frames.

Third-year forward Ryan Smith scored the game winning goal in the five-minute overtime period. Third-year forward Mitchell Fossier fought for and carried the puck behind the net until he was able to pass it off to third-year forward Chase Pearson. Pearson, with an immense amount of patience, let the play develop in front of the net. As soon as Smith found space, Pearson put the puck on his stick. Smith’s one-timer found its way over Vermont’s goaltender’s shoulder and into the net. The Black Bears won their third hockey east game of the 2018-2019 season on their overtime goal. Second-year goaltender Jeremy Swayman finished the game with 34 saves out of 35 shots.

On Saturday, Dec. 1 the University of Maine Men’s hockey team skated to a tie with the Catamounts, leaving the weekend with a 1-0-1 record.

The two goaltenders dominated the first period with second-year goaltender Swayman saving 13 shots and Stefanos Lekkas turning away 10 Maine shots. The Black Bears took the lone penalty of the period.

The Catamounts started off the second period strong. One minute into the second period, Liam Coughlin scored on an odd-man rush and gave his team a 1-0 lead in the opening minutes. Catamounts’ second-year forward Max Kaufman started the rush with a pass along the fair sideboards. Second-year forward Alex Esposito grabbed the puck and fed it to an unmarked Coughlin, who scored on Maine’s open net. Vermont held a 1-0 lead only one minute into the second period.

The Black Bears answered with a goal of their own seven minutes later. As third-year forward Pearson’s shift was ending, he intercepted a Catamounts’ pass. The junior led an attack accompanied by third-year forward Patrick Shea and second-year defenseman Brady Keeper, but his resulting shot was blocked by a Vermont defender. The rebounding shot found its way to Shea, who waited behind the net for the play to develop. Keeper crashed the net and was rewarded with a pass. The defenseman did not waste this opportunity, tying the game at one goal a piece. Going into the second intermission the game was tied at 1-1.

The third period started out with a lot of defensive back-and-forth play between both teams. The Black Bears broke the 1-1 tie, with 10 minutes left in the game as second-year forward Eduards Tralmaks punched home Maine’s second goal of the contest. Third-year forward Tim Doherty grabbed the loose puck and looked to attack the net, throwing the puck towards the crease. Vermont’s goaltender defended the original shot, but Tralmaks was there for the rebound. With traffic all around him, the second-year managed to find the back of the net, putting Maine up 2-1 with ten minutes left in the game.

Vermont quickly scored just 30 seconds after Maine grabbed a one goal lead. Joey Cipollone was left alone next to the Black Bears’ net. Kaufman found his linemate who tied the game for the Catamounts.

Less than two minutes of game play later, third-year forward Fossier and Becker started a rush for Maine. The forward went between the Catamounts’ goaltender’s legs for his second goal of the Hockey East contest.

Owen Grant tied the contest for Vermont with the last goal of the game. The forward wired a shot from the top of the far side face-off circle. With all of the traffic in front of Maine’s net, Swayman was not able to pick up the puck and Kaufman tipped the shot. Due to the deflection, Vermont tied the score with only three minutes left in the game.

The two Hockey East foes failed to break the 3-3 tie in the five minute overtime period. Maine used their timeout with eight seconds left in the game but was unable to get a shot in, resulting in the Black Bears second tie of the 2018-19 season. The Black Bears’ record on the 2018-2019 season improved to 5-7-2 and 3-3-2 in Hockey East play.

The Black Bears will travel to Plymouth, Michigan to take on the U.S. National Development team on Dec. 8. Puck drop for the exhibition is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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