ORONO — University of Maine senior center and co-captain Brian Flynn made it two in a row.
Flynn, who scored the overtime game-winner in a win over Providence College at Alfond Arena on Jan. 14, did it again Friday night with 2:10 left in overtime to give the Black Bears a wild 5-4 victory over the Friars.
The Black Bears displayed resiliency as they managed to win despite squandering three one-goal leads and having a potential game-winning goal by Spencer Abbott waved off after a lengthy review with 6:00 left in regulation. It was ruled that Providence goalie Alex Beaudry wasn’t able to play his position because Maine’s Joey Diamond was tangled up with him in the crease after a Friar defenseman knocked him into the goalie.
But Flynn made it a moot point by scoring in a scramble off a shot from Matt Mangene that pinballed in front.
“Joey (Diamond) and I crashed the net. The puck deflected and landed in my skates,” said Flynn. “I was knocked down to my knees. I looked behind me and I saw the puck and I reached back and got it on my forehand and did a 180 (degree turn).”
Flynn’s shot from the low slot went between Beaudry’s left skate and the post.
“He made a great play and I was a fraction of a second late,” said Beaudry.
“Brian made an unbelievable play,” said Diamond, who picked up an assist on the goal along with Mangene as he got a piece of the puck.
“He willed that puck into the net,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead, who was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I loved the way we responded (to adversity),” said Whitehead. “We kept our cool and we kept pushing. We’re going to be in a lot of games like this. That’s the way this league is. We also learned some lessons defensively.”
Maine is now 2-2-1 overall and 2-1 in Hockey East. Providence fell to 2-2-1 and 2-1, also.
The teams will play again Saturday night at 7.
Maine had the edge in play in the first period but the game evened out in the second period and Providence had a slight advantage in the third period.
But Maine’s top line of Flynn (1 goal) between Diamond (2 goals, 1 assist) and Abbott (1 assist) along with the top defense tandem of Mangene (3 assists) and Will O’Neill (1 assist) gave the Friars problems.
“Those players were pretty effective,” said Providence coach and former Maine assistant Nate Leaman, who felt his team played better as the game went along.
“We missed an open net in overtime and they scored on theirs,” said Leaman referring to a near miss by Andy Balysky during a scramble early in overtime.
Steven Shamanski’s goal with 6:10 remaining, 36 seconds after Kyle Beattie had given Maine a 4-3 lead, forced the overtime.
Abbott’s waved-off goal came 10 seconds later.
Diamond’s responded to his one-game benching for taking costly penalties in the 3-1 loss to North Dakota on Oct. 14 with two second-period goals, which sandwiched one by Providence’s Rob Maloney to give Maine a 3-2 lead entering the third period.
“I was proud of Joey,” said Whitehead.
“It was nice to be back out there. I haven’t played in three weeks,” said Diamond.
Stefan Demopoulos tied it with 9:54 remaining as he tapped the puck into a wide-open net after Ross Mauermann’s wraparound deflected across the net front.
Beattie regained the lead when he tipped Ryan Hegarty’s wrister from the left point behind Beaudry.
But Shamanski answered with a snap shot from the point that hit Maine’s Mark Anthoine and sailed over the left shoulder of Maine goalie Martin Ouellette.
Providence’s Chris Rooney and Maine’s Mike Cornell swapped first-period goals.
Diamond broke a 1-1 tie 8:07 into the second period after being set up by Mangene.
Mangene avoided a stick check and circled the net before having Beaudry stop his wraparound attempt.
The rebound came back to Mangene’s stick and his backhanded pass went to Diamond at the top of the crease and Diamond jammed it home.
The play was reviewed to see if Diamond was in the crease and referee Jeff Bunyon ruled it a goal.
Maloney equalized five minutes later when Hegarty lost the puck at the defensive blue line and Rooney pushed the puck ahead to him.
Maloney sprinted down the slot to Ouellette’s left, pulled it across to his backhand and roofed the puck over Ouellette.
Diamond re-established the lead 2:59 later, and again it was Mangene setting him up.
This time the speedy Mangene burst down the middle of the high slot before sliding it to his right where Diamond one-timed it past Beaudry.
Maine had the better of play in the first period and generated several good scoring chances in the first five minutes only to be stymied by Beaudry.
But the Friars scored against the run of play 3:08 into the game when Rooney, playing in his first game of the season due to a lower body injury, finished off a David Brown rebound.
Cornell equalized with 3:10 remaining directly off an Adam Shemansky faceoff win during a four-on-four situation.
Maine outshot PC 29-28.