Maine Hockey Journal

Maine holds on to defeat UNH; 3-2

Orono, ME – The University of Maine Black Bears had to fend off a University of New Hampshire Wildcats 5-on-3 power play to hold on to the 3-2 victory in front of 4,951 fans at Alfond Arena.

With 2:24 remaining in the game, Mike Cornell went to the penalty box for cross-checking to put Maine down by two men, but the Black Bears held their ground to hold onto the victory.

“If you can kill those off, they are big momentum boosters,” Maine’s Captain Tanner House said. “If you don’t capitalize on a 5-on-3, it could come back and cost you. Fortunately we were able to kill that one off.”

For Maine goaltender Scott Darling it was an ordinary 5-on-3.

“We’ve killed 5-on-3’s before, what’s different now?” he said.

New Hampshire ended the game 0-for-3 on the man advantage.

The 16th ranked Black Bears improve to 13-9-3 overall and 10-6-2 in Hockey East. The 13th ranked Wildcats fall to 13-9-4 and 12-4-3 in league play.

“As for the game,” I thought (New Hampshire) deserved a better fate,” said Maine Head Coach Tim Whitehead. “They got a couple nice goals and it was a hard fought game. We certainly didn’t back down when we were down.”

New Hampshire goaltender Brian Foster weathered the storm in the first period, stopping 10 recorded shots and several chances that missed the net.

“Foster was on his game tonight,” Darling said. “That got me going on how good he was playing because we have a history together.”

Foster made 31 saves on the night.

The Wildcats took advantage of a Black Bear powerplay when Mike Silso beat Maine goalie Scott Darling on the short side. The shorthanded goal came five minutes into the game and forty seconds into Maine’s powerplay.

“We kept battling and didn’t change the way we were playing,” said House.

Phil DeSimmone recorded his sixth goal of the year at the 8:55 mark of the second period with a wrist shot from the high slot.

New Hampshire applied sustained pressure for the first half of the second period and almost converted another shorthanded tally. Scott Darling stacked the pads to make the save.

“I kind of saw it developing early before it happened because the puck was jumping,” added Darling.

“That was big, no doubt,” said Whitehead on the key save. “I think there were several, in the game of hockey, it seems there are always swings of momentum – both ways.”

Darling turned aside 28 shots in the victory.

The Black Bears turned the momentum around when Gustav Nyquist found Tanner House for a one-timer from the high slot. The powerplay marker came 22 seconds after Scott Pavelski went to the penalty box for slashing.

“I saw Tanner (House),” Gustav Nyquist said. “Tanner knows I will try to pass every time I have the puck He was ready for it I think.”

Maine was 1-for-5 on the powerplay.

New Hampshire’s Head Coach, Dick Umile thought the game went in Maine’s direction from that point on.

“I think we lost it, especially in the second period,” Umile added. “We had it 2-0 and we took control of the second period and we took an unnecessary penalty and they scored the powerplay on it.”

Jeff Dimmen made sure both teams went to the dressing room tied as he jumped on a rebound in the slot and slapped it home with 21.3 seconds remaining in the second period. Gustav Nyquist released the initial shot and Brian Flynn recorded the secondary assist.

“I think it bounced off the boards and landed awkwardly on my stick,” Nyquist added. “I took the shot and the rebound went to (Dimmens)- he buried it.”

Maine carried the play into the third period when Robby Dee released a wrist shot that evaded Foster just 46 seconds into the stanza.

“David de Kastrozza won the draw perfectly and let a wrister go,” Robby Dee said.

“I am happy the team won tonight and hopefully we can take it into tomorrow night.”

UMaine and UNH face-off again on Saturday night at 7pm.

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