Black Bears skate to tie against BC

Posted Nov. 22, 2009, at 8:32 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — University of Maine junior center Robby Dee nearly tied Saturday night’s men’s hockey game with Boston College only to hit the inside of the post with a shot from the left circle.

A few seconds later, he did tie it.

Dee’s power-play goal with 13:12 remaining in the third period supplied the Bears with a 3-3 tie. It was Maine’s lone power-play goal of the weekend.

BC, which won 4-3 Friday night, is now 5-3-2 overall, 4-3-2 in Hockey East, while Maine is 4-7-1 and 3-4-1, respectively.

Maine had taken a 2-0 lead on second-period goals by Tanner House and Gustav Nyquist, but BC rallied to build a 3-2 lead on Pat Mullane’s score with 1:30 left in the second period and early third-period goals by Carl Sneep and Ben Smith.

Dee’s initial shot beat BC goalie John Muse but deflected off the far post and was eventually shot back in on Muse.

“It went to the point and I think [Will O’Neill] shot it. Tanner one-timed [the rebound] and [Nyquist] had another rebound. The puck was just lying there and I whacked it into the far corner,” said Dee, who was just outside the crease.

“The puck was in front of me and then it bounced to the side and one of their guys whacked it in,” said Muse. “There was a little scrum in front of the net. I’ve got to do a better job. I’ve got to find a way to stop that.”

Dee said he wanted to atone for a tripping penalty he took earlier in the period that resulted in Sneep’s tying goal.

“I owed Scotty one,” said Dee referring to Maine goalie Scott Darling.

Maine freshman left wing Adam Shemansky, their second-leading goal scorer, was sent in alone with 7:50 remaining by Brian Flynn, but the puck appeared to bounce on him at the last second and he shot it high.

“It might have [bounced], but I’m not going to make excuses. I should have buried that,” said Shemansky.

“He tried to go blocker side, but he got under it a little bit too much,” said Muse.

Both teams had golden opportunities to score the game-winner, but Muse and Darling came up with game-saving stops as each turned in a stellar performance.

Maine, which entered the series with the nation’s fifth-best power play, had a power-play opportunity in overtime but failed to convert to cap a 1-for-15 weekend with a one-man or two-man advantage.

“Our penalty-killing was huge. We’ve worked a lot on it recently. The penalty-killers did a great job,” said Muse, who robbed House with his left pad in OT as House took a Flynn pass and snapped a 25-foot backhander to the far corner.

“I didn’t get my shot up like I wanted to, and Muse made a good save on that,” said House.

BC had a flurry in the waning seconds of overtime, but Darling kicked out a screened one-timer from the midpoint Tommy Cross.

“That was a remarkable save,” said BC coach Jerry York. “Darling got his toe on it.”

“It was a good comeback for us,” said Nyquist. “We came out so strong tonight. We fell asleep for five to seven minutes and it cost us the win. You can’t fall asleep against BC. They’ll make you pay.”

“We’re happy with our effort,” said House. “We worked really hard. It would have been easy to get down after they took the lead, but we bounced back.”

After dominating the scoreless first period, outshooting BC 10-4, Maine finally took a deserved 1-0 lead in the second period when House came off the bench on a line change and directed in a smart diagonal pass from Spencer Abbott.

Nyquist made it 2-0 with a scintillating individual effort when be bounced off a center-ice check, passed the puck to himself off the boards to get around Philip Samuelsson and burst down the left side before roofing a short-side wrister over Muse’s blocker.

But Smith set up Mullane to give BC late-period momentum when he lifted the stick of Maine defenseman Mike Cornell and slipped the puck across to Mullane for a tap-in.

“That was definitely a turning point in the game. Maine had played really well in the second period,” said Smith.

Sneep tied it 2:11 into the third period with a screened blast from the midpoint over Darling’s glove, and Smith scored at the 4:32 mark with a shot from the right faceoff dot that deflected off O’Neill’s stick over Darling’s glove.

Darling finished with 13 Grade-A (high-percentage) saves among his 28 while Muse had 11 among his 26.

“It was a great effort by our guys. It was a really hard-fought series. It’s frustrating to get only one point out of it. But we were very proud how hard our guys competed,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead.

“One goal separated the two teams over six periods of hockey,” said York. “Not many teams come up here and take three out of four points, especially the way Maine has improved from last year.”

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