Maine hockey team battles to 3-3 tie vs. North Dakota

Posted Oct. 15, 2011, at 11:45 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 16, 2011, at 6:38 p.m.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Senior defenseman Ryan Hegarty, who is being used at the net front on the Maine power play for the first time this season, tipped home a Spencer Abbott shot from the point with 7:42 remaining in regulation to give the University of Maine men’s hockey team a 3-3 overtime tie with the University of North Dakota Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Maine, ranked 17th in the country, is now 1-2-1 while No. 6 North Dakota is 2-1-1.

North Dakota won Friday night’s game 3-1 to give it nine wins in its last 10 home games dating back to last season.

“I had my back to the goal and I was a little higher in the slot than usual,” said Hegarty. “The tip went between the (goalie Aaron Dell’s) legs.”

Abbott added, “I had been trying to find his stick all night. He presented his stick well and I finally found it.”

Brian Flynn’s power-play goal in the first period and Will O’Neill’s goal 46 seconds into the second period staked Maine to a 2-0 lead.

Flynn was set up in the circle and one-timed O’Neill’s pass past Dell and O’Neill scored with a one-timer off a Kyle Beattie feed.

But a high-sticking call on Mark Nemec and Beattie’s boarding penalty came on the same play at the 3:32 mark and gave the Fighting Sioux a full two-minute, five-on-three and Nick Mattson capitalized to cut the lead to 2-1.

Maine had 15 more seconds to kill off the one-man advantage when Hegarty’s hooking penalty gave the Fighting Sioux a brief two-man advantage and Danny Kristo equalized 10 seconds later with a blast from the point.

Kristo scored his second of the game on the power play with 2:35 left in the middle period when he beat Maine goalie Dan Sullivan with a screened drive from the left point off a Corban Knight pass.

Sullivan came up with some important saves in the third period to keep Maine within one and Hegarty got the tying goal 53 seconds after North Dakota’s Andrew MacWilliam was called for interference.

“It was a good comeback,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “I’d like to see the video on a couple of those calls (that led to the five-on-threes) but the good news is we fought through it.

“There were a lot of good things. Everyone contributed. The effort was fabulous. Guys were blocking shots and taking hits. Dan made a couple of big stops to give us every opportunity to win the game. (Hegarty) did a great in front on the power play.”

Whitehead was “very pleased” with the play of Jon Swavely, who replaced Joey Diamond in the lineup after Diamond was benched after taking three third-period penalties on Friday night including the one that led to the winning goal.

“Jon gave us some great minutes up front,” said Whitehead who also felt his four freshman forwards played well and the power play had a good series (3-for-8).

Abbott assisted on all three goals for the Black Bears and that extended his points streak to three games (3 goals, 4 assists).

“I thought we outplayed the both nights, to be honest,” said senior right wing and assistant captain Abbott. “To come from behind in their rink is pretty tough to do. They’re a real physical team and they’re tough to play against. I thought we did a helluva’ job.”

O’Neill and Flynn each had a goal and an assist and Sullivan finished with 24 saves.

Kristo assisted on Mattson’s goal to give him a three-point night and Mattson had an assist to go with his goal. Carter Rowney had two assists for the Fighting Sioux and Dell wound up with 25 saves.

Maine has next weekend off before hosting Providence College for a pair on Oct. 28-29.

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