ESTERO, Fla. — After suffering a heart-breaking 3-2 loss to Colgate on Saturday night with one second left in the overtime, the University of Maine men’s hockey team bounced back Sunday to earn a 3-3 tie and subsequent shootout win (1-0) against St. Cloud State for third place in the Florida College Classic.
The Black Bears erased a pair of two-goal deficits on Sunday and sophomore defenseman Josh Van Dyk scored the only goal in the shootout, which involved five shooters for each team.
Shootouts are not recognized by the NCAA, so Maine is now 10-6-2 with the tie while St. Cloud State is 10-9-1.
St. Cloud stunned the Bears by jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the game’s first 4:17 on goals by Aaron Marvin and Sam Zabkowicz. Matt Duffy got one back for Maine later in the first period but Ryan Lasch’s power-play goal 4:41 into the second period re-established the two-goal advantage.
Sophomore defenseman Jeff Dimmen’s shorthanded goal with 7:29 left in the middle period and freshman left wing Brian Flynn’s power-play goal 4:35 later drew the Bears level.
“[Saturday] night was a very tough loss so I was anxious to see how the guys would play today,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “I was proud of how they competed. They fell behind but never quit. They found a way to tie it up. It says a lot for their determination and desire to play hard for each other. And winning the shoot-out is a nice little boost.”
“We had a sour taste in our mouths after [Saturday] night,” said Flynn. “Coming back tonight [Sunday] was huge for team morale. This is the first time this season we came back from a two-goal deficit to earn a point. And we did it twice.”
Dimmen said although a shootout win doesn’t count on their record, “we definitely feel like won the game. It’s always nice to come out on top.”
Ironically, Maine and St. Cloud State went to a shootout in the 2004 Florida College Classic and St. Cloud triumphed 2-1.
Flynn said Dimmen’s shorthanded goal “was the turning point in the game.”
Maine generated a three-on-two and Glenn Belmore fed the puck to Will O’Neill, whose shot was saved by Dan Dunn.
However, the rebound spit out to Dimmen, who swept it home.
“I was in front of the net, I spun around and shot it far side,” said Dimmen.
Flynn tied it off the rebound of a Lem Randall shot after he went in on a partial breakaway off an O’Neill pass.
“O’Neill made a nice pass to Randall, who had just come off the bench. He shielded a guy off and got a weak shot on net,” said Flynn. “The shot popped out to the low slot and there were two guys for each team [in front]. It came to me and I put it five-hole. I had a pretty big hole to put it in.”
Lasch, a Hobey Baker Award finalist last year, hit the post in the opening stages of the third period and each team had some good chances.
However, neither was able to score and the same went for the five-minute overtime.
In the shootout, Maine goalie Scott Darling made three saves, another Husky hit the post and one failed to get off a shot.
Maine’s four forwards failed to score but Van Dyk, who had won a team shootout competition in Friday’s practice, thus earning his spot as the fifth shooter, converted.
“I circled the puck with the stick [faking a shot] and that froze him a bit. I put it low blocker,” said Van Dyk who hadn’t been involved in a shoot-out since minor hockey and admitted, “I was hoping it wouldn’t come down to me.”
Van Dyk said the Bears were confident in the shootout because Darling “stops everyone in practice [shootouts].
“We have all the confidence in him,” said Van Dyk.
Darling was involved in 12 shootouts in the United States Hockey League last season and won 10 of them.
“I feel comfortable on breakaways,” said Darling, who figures shooters aren’t going to make any fancy moves on him “because I have such long legs, it’s hard for them to lift the puck [in close]. If I was a forward, I would just shoot on me [without making any fakes].”
Maine outshot St. Cloud 43-31.
On Saturday, Darling made two saves off breakaways, one in the third period and one in overtime, to keep the score tied 2-2.
His second breakaway save came off Justin Smith with 11 seconds left in OT.
But on the ensuing faceoff, the puck went from Ethan Cox to Nick St. Pierre at the point.
St. Pierre’s shot deflected off a Maine skate over to McIntyre, who one-timed it past Darling.
“I didn’t see the [St. Pierre] shot. I dove to the glove side but [McIntyre’s shot] went in,” said Darling.
Maine took a 2-0 lead with goals 2:20 apart in the first period.
Orsini took a pass from Spencer Abbott and snapped a shot that trickled over the line off Colgate goalie Charles Long.
Randall expanded the lead when he tipped Ryan Hegarty’s shot behind Long.
But, in the second period, Smith’s one-timer on a five-on-three cut the lead in half and he also tied it with a tap-in after McIntyre won a faceoff in the Maine zone and took the puck to the net.
Maine outshot Colgate 36-27.