ORONO, Maine — It’s usually disappointing when you squander a 2-0 lead at home and wind up with a 2-2 overtime tie.
But there are exceptions.
After suffering a 7-2 drubbing at the hands of the nation’s top-ranked Boston University Terriers on Friday night, the University of Maine men’s hockey team responded with a much better performance on Saturday night to earn a 2-2 tie at Alfond Arena that snapped BU’s nine-game winning streak.
It also ended a string of seven straight losses to the Terriers.
Maine junior goalie Dave Wilson, who stopped 12 of 15 shots after replacing freshman Scott Darling (6 shots-2 saves) on Friday night, came up with an impressive 34-save performance that included 12 Grade-A (high-percentage) stops. Ten of those Grade-A saves came in the third period and overtime.
Maine (12-14-4, 7-11-3 HE) took a 2-0 lead on goals 1:02 apart in the second period by senior right wing and co-captain Jeff Marshall and freshman right wing Gustav Nyquist. Marshall had gone 24 games without a goal and Nyquist ended a 12-game drought.
BU senior left wing John McCarthy cut the lead in half at the 15:27 mark of the middle period, 1:10 after Nyquist’s goal, and his linemate, sophomore center Nick Bonino, tied it up by scoring from behind the net with 4:09 left in regulation.
Maine went on the power play 18 seconds after Bonino’s equalizer and BU (23-5-2, 14-5-2 HE) had a power play that extended from the third period into overtime, but neither team could capitalize.
“When you consider that we were playing a high-powered team with all kinds of offense, we played really well,” said Marshall.
“The thing I was most pleased about is we improved in just about every aspect of our game from [Friday] night,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead, whose Bears fell behind 3-0 when BU scored on its first three shots in that game.
“We got off to a better start. BU didn’t generate as many chances right away in the first period,” said Whitehead. “We defended a lot better. We were a lot tighter in our gaps. We took away a little more time and space [from BU].”
Wilson was forced to make just two Grade-A saves over the first two periods and BU was limited to four total Grade-A chances compared to Maine’s 10.
“We got outworked badly until the last five minutes of the second period,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “We were fortunate to get a point. We dodged a bullet.”
“McCarthy’s goal was a huge goal. Once we made it 2-1, we came out and played pretty well in the third period,” added Parker.
“We knew they were going to come out hard,” said Bonino. “We didn’t match their intensity until the third period, and then it was a little too late to get the win. But getting a point is a lot better than taking a loss.
“Wilson had a great night,” added Bonino, whose tying goal came on a pass from behind the net that deflected in off Wilson.
Bonino had circled the net with his own rebound.
“[Brandon] Yip left his defenseman and I was trying to saucer a pass to him on the back door. Wilson came over and he led with his blocker hand and the puck caught under his blocker and went in.”
“I spread out along the goal line. I’m not exactly sure what happened,” said Wilson.
Wilson credited his defense for “doing a great job keeping their guys to the outside and not allowing them to make those seam passes and back-door plays.”
Marshall opened the scoring by squeezing past BU defenseman Colby Cohen along the right-wing boards and beating him down the ice before the rebound of his short wrister was knocked into the net by freshman goalie Grant Rollheiser, who was making his first start since Jan. 13.
Nyquist made it 2-0 when he roofed the rebound of a Simon Danis-Pepin wrister that came to him off the back boards.
McCarthy answered when he fought his way to a Yip rebound and jammed it home from just outside the crease.
Rollheiser finished with 19 saves, including six Grade-A’s.