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Men’s Ice Hockey falls in first round of NCAA Tournament

Black Bears fall 3-1 against Cornell in the first round of the NCAA tournament 

On Thursday, March 28, the University of Maine Men’s Ice Hockey team took on Cornell University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Black Bears lost to the Big Red 3-1. 

It has been 12 years since the Black Bears were in the NCAA tournament. As their last NCAA appearance was in 2012. The Black Bears last met the Big Red in 2013; the result of that game was a tie. This meeting was the first for the two teams in the NCAA tournament. 

The Black Bears’ starting lineup was second-year Thomas Freel, third-year Harrison Scott and fourth-year Donavan Villeneuve-Houle. On defense to start the game was second-year Luke Antonacci and third-year David Brezeale. Beginning in the net for the Black Bears was fourth-year Victor Ostman. This was Ostman’s first start since the 5-2 loss against the University of New Hampshire last month.

In the first period, the Black Bears came out strong, matching every move the Big Red made. Five minutes into the period, Scott scored his 15th goal of the season, assisted by Villeneuve-Houle. 

Cornell’s first-year Ryan Walsh got a penalty for a hit from behind a minute after the goal. The call was originally a minor. The Black Bears challenged the penalty for contact to the head and to review the play for a potential major. The challenge was accepted, putting the Black Bears on a five-minute advantage. The power play lasted for five minutes, but the Black Bears could not score. 

 About fourteen minutes into the period, Cornell’s third-year Kyle Penny scored with an assist by fourth-year Gabriel Seger. The period ended tied at one. 

The Black Bears came out on top in the second period with multiple opportunities. Six minutes into the period, second-year Parker Lindauer went into the box for holding. Ostman made two  saves, keeping the game tied. The Black Bears had many opportunities to score but could not get past Cornell goaltender third-year Ian Shane. 

Big Red took the lead with about eight minutes left in the period. Third-year Sullivan Mack scored this goal, which was his sixth of the season. Mack’s goal was unassisted. Seconds after the goal, Josh Nadeau had a scoring opportunity but could not get past Shane. The period ended 2-1 with The Big Red in the lead.     

In the third period, the Black Bears came out strong, keeping up with the Big Red. As the period went on, the Black Bears started to lose momentum. Cornell scored with nine minutes left in the game. Mack scored for the second time this game. Cornell led the Black Bears 3-1. Ostman was pulled towards the end of the game as an attempt to score another goal. Unfortunately, the Black Bears were unsuccessful and lost 3-1. 

The Black Bears have exceeded all expectations this season. They were voted to end 9th in Hockey East and not make it to the NCAA tournament. The team entered the tournament ranked fifth nationally and third in Hockey East. The Black Bears ended the season 23-12-2 for the season overall. The buzz is back about Maine Hockey under Head Coach Ben Barr. Even though the loss in the first round was tough, it’s a great time to be a Black Bear; UMaine Men’s Hockey is back.

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