ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine’s men’s hockey team, coming off an embarrassing 3-1 loss to Bentley University on Friday night, looked a lot more like the team that won six straight games earlier this season than the one that had gone 0-4-1 in its previous five entering Sunday’s matinee against Providence College.
But freshman goalie Alex Beaudry, who joined the Friars earlier this month, made 40 saves to steal a point in the 2-2 overtime tie. He made 13 Grade-A (high-percentage) stops.
Maine outshot Providence 42-23 and attempted 73 shots to PC’s 44.
Maine snapped its three-game losing streak and is now 10-9-3 overall and 5-6-2 in Hockey East.
Providence had its four-game winning streak ended. The Friars are 6-12-2 and 3-8-2, respectively.
Senior center Nick Mazzolini tied it for the Friars 2:35 into the third period with a low slap shot from the top of the left circle that slipped between the pads of Maine freshman goalie Scott Darling, who felt he should have made the save.
“We should have won 2-1. I made a mistake on the second goal,” said Darling. “I was thinking too much about the guy who was crashing the net. I didn’t think [Mazzolini] was going to shoot it. I glanced over to see where the other guy was and when I moved my eyes back, the puck was coming at me. I was too slow getting down.”
Mazzolini said he “stepped up on a soft pass from them” and knew he had a teammate going to the net.
“So I took a low shot and it managed to go through the wickets,” said Mazzolini.
Providence took a 1-0 lead in the first period on sophomore center Matt Germain’s goal with 1:42 remaining. It was PC’s only high-percentage shot on goal in the period.
Maine built a 2-1 lead in the second period on power-play goals by freshman right wing Spencer Abbott and senior center Chris Hahn.
Maine was much more physical than it has been recently with Matt Duffy, Tanner House and Nick Payson landing some thundering checks.
“We wanted to keep our discipline but pick up our intensity a little bit as well as the physical play. I thought we did that really well,” said sophomore center House. “We were able to control play down low [in the offensive zone] and we had extra time with the puck because of that.”
House added that the Bears “played a full 60 minutes and to be as consistent as we were is a big step for us.”
“Maine played very well,” said PC coach Tim Army. “They came at us really hard. They were physical and did the things they do really well. After losing to Bentley, we expected them to come out with a hard-hitting effort.
”Alex played great. He made some really good stops. He held us in there,” said Army who added that his team looked “leg-weary.”
The Friars were playing their fourth game in eight days including three on the road.
“I did my job the best I could,” said Beaudry. “The guys did a great job clearing the front of the net and clearing out the rebound opportunities.”
Germain opened the scoring by swatting a rolling puck over Darling’s blocker shoulder from the left circle.
Abbott tied it 1:27 into the second period when Jeff Dimmen’s shot came to him off the back boards and he wristed it between Beaudry’s pads.
Hahn gave Maine the lead 16:14 into the period when he one-timed a cross-ice pass from Gustav Nyquist over Beaudry’s glove into the short side.
Both goalies made important third-period saves.
Moments after Beaudry scrambled from post-to-post to stop Hahn’s point-blank one-timer off an Abbott feed, Darling came out to get a glove on Kyle MacKinnon’s shorthanded break-in.
Darling made seven Grade-A stops among his 21.
“I was very pleased with how we played and how we competed,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead.