Maine Hockey Journal

Northeastern grabs series lead with OT winner

Junior defenseman Matt Benning’s goal 4:41 into overtime capped a three-goal rally to give the sixth-seeded Northeastern University Huskies a 3-2 win over 11th seed University of Maine in the first game of their best-of-three Hockey East first-round series Friday night at Matthews Arena in Boston.

The teams will play again at 7 p.m. Saturday, and an if-necessary game will be 7 p.m. Sunday.

The Huskies capitalized on a turnover by Cam Brown at the Maine blue line to generate a quickly-orchestrated three-on-two that resulted in the game-winner.

The Huskies sped into the zone with Zach Aston-Reese leaving a drop pass in the middle of the slot for Benning, who blasted a low slap shot past the right skate of UMaine freshman goalie Rob McGovern.
“I tried to chip it off the wall out of the zone but they kept it in,” said Brown.

Northeastern improved its record to 17-13-5 by virtue of its eighth straight win and third in a row over UMaine.

The Black Bears fell to 8-23-6 in absorbing their eighth loss in nine games.

McGovern wound up with 29 saves while NU freshman Ryan Ruck stopped 19 shots.

“We played well but puck management issues cost us,” said Maine coach Red Gendron. “Each team had momentum swings. We need to manage the puck better more consistently. McGovern played very well.”

Late first-period goals 17 seconds apart by Brown and Andrew Tegeler staked UMaine to a 2-0 lead, but John Stevens’ second-period goal and Kevin Roy’s power-play goal scored in the third period tied it up.

McGovern was stellar in the first period as he stopped all 13 shots he faced including a point-blank stop off Adam Gaudette early in the period and two stops off Roy on the same shift.

“This was a tough pill to swallow,” said Brown. “But we have to turn around and play our best tomorrow.“

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