ESTERO, Fla. — University of Maine sophomore Matt Mangene had one goal in 46 career games entering the consolation game at the Florida College Classic at German Arena Thursday afternoon. And it was into an empty net in a 3-1 win over Providence on Dec. 4, 2009.
But Mangene ended a 33-game goal-scoring drought in dramatic fashion, converting a pinpoint pass from Spencer Abbott 2:39 into overtime to give the Black Bears a much-needed 3-2 overtime win over Cornell University.
Maine is now 9-5-4 while Cornell fell to 4-8-1. St. Cloud State beat Miami 4-3 in the championship game.
Mangene, one of Maine's fastest skaters, had been centering the third line but he was moved back to defense for the Cornell game along with his linemates from Wednesday's 4-1 loss to Miami: Mike Cornell and Mike Banwell.
Mangene set the play in motion that led to his game-winner when he blocked a shot in the defensive zone and he moved the puck ahead to Gustav Nyquist, who passed it back to him.
Mangene then fed the puck to Spencer Abbott and trailed the play as Abbott went wide on a Cornell defenseman and began circling the net.
"I got halfway around the net and put the puck out the short side and Matt was right there," said Abbott. "A lot of goals are scored like that. You get the goalie moving side-to-side (and feed it out against the grain)."
"It was at the end of my shift and I was a little gassed so I knew I couldn't keep up with (Abbott)," said Mangene. "I slowed down and went to the net to give him an option and Spencer made a great pass. He put it right on my blade. I was right next to the (near) post. The goalie (Mike Garman) had slid to the other side."
Garman had to protect against a potential Abbott wraparound so Mangene had a half-empty net staring at him and he one-timed it home.
"It was a great feeling," added Mangene. "It is one of the biggest highlights of my career because it gave us a huge win. Hopefully, it will jump-start the second half of our season."
"I was happy for him," said senior center Robby Dee, whose power play goal 8:27 into the third period forced the overtime. "He has had so many chances. He's a good player and it was good to see him get the monkey off his back. Hopefully, he'll continue to score goals for us."
Dee's power-play goal, his second in as many games, was set up by Will O'Neill and Tanner House.
Abbott took a shot that glanced off a shin guard over to O'Neill.
"Will took a shot and it hit the post and glanced off Tanner's skate over to me for a tap-in," said Dee.
Freshman right wing Mark Anthoine's first college goal opened the scoring just 1:55 into the game with Theo Andersson and O'Neill picking up the assists.
Nick D'Agostino tied it 3:16 later with his fourth goal of the season as he one-timed a Greg Miller pass behind Maine freshman goalie Martin Ouellette.
Chris Moulson supplied the Big Red with the lead 1:01 into the second period with an unassisted wraparound goal. It was his first of the season.
"It was a hard-fought win," said Maine coach Tim Whitehead, whose Black Bears outshot Cornell 32-23 including a 23-10 advantage after the first period.
"We had a great effort which was the opposite of Wednesday night's effort," said Whitehead. "And we got stronger with each period. The most important thing is that you never want to leave anything on the ice. We didn't leave anything tonight. We did on Wednesday night. I was proud of how the guys played and how they competed, especially with the short turnaround after last night's game."
"(Wednesday) was one of the worst games I've ever been a part of," said Dee. "We didn't come ready to play and Miami beat us in every aspect of the game.
"It was huge to come out and get a win today. Hopefully, we'll get things rolling from here," added Dee.
Maine will play an exhibition game against the United States National Team Development Program's Under-18 squad on Sunday at 4 p.m. at Portland's Cumberland County Civic Center.