ORONO, Maine — University of Maine junior right wing Matt Mangene said assistant coach Bob Corkum told the team a neutral-zone counter would decide Friday night’s game against nationally-ranked Boston College.
Corkum proved to be prophetic and Mangene was the beneficiary.
Mangene’s goal off a neutral-zone counter with 1:18 left in overtime gave the Black Bears a 4-3 men’s hockey win over nationally ranked Boston College in a scintillating affair at Alfond Arena. A neutral-zone counter is created when the defending team wins the puck at center ice and creates a scoring chance from it.
Maine improved to 11-8-3 overall in winning for the fifth time in seven games. Maine is 5-1-1 in those seven games and is now 8-2-1 in its last 11. The Black Bears are 8-7-2 in Hockey East.
BC, ranked third in one poll and fourth in another, fell to 14-9-1 and 10-6-1. BC is 2-4-1 in its last seven.
“This was a huge win for us,” said Mangene. “These were two points we desperately needed.”
The teams will play again on Saturday at 4.
Mark Nemec and Mark Anthoine set up the game-winner as Nemec tipped Edwin Shea’s pass to Anthoine at center ice.
“I was just holding the red line when the puck came to me,” said Anthoine. “I went in one-on-two, faked a shot and left it for Matty. Then I went to the net and tried to set a pick (to screen goalie Chris Venti).”
Mangene added, “Mark made the play. He dropped it back to me and I had a little time. I saw the goalie’s glove was down.”
Mangene rifled a slap shot from the inside half of the left circle and it cleanly beat Venti to the glove side.
“I saw it late,” said Venti who added that because Mangene had a lane to the net he had to move back into his net.
BC coach Jerry York said it was an ill-advised pass and it should have gone up the boards not to the middle of the ice.
“They wound up with a four-on-two,” said York.
Adam Shemanky’s five-on-three goal with 5:11 left in regulation tied it after Brian Dumoulin had staked BC to a 3-2 lead earlier in the period.
Will O’Neill had the puck in the middle of the slot and he made a diagonal pass to Brian Flynn positioned a few feet outside the crease to the right of Venti.
Venti said Flynn’s quick pass across hit him and then bounced off one of his defensemen before landing in the crease.
“Joey (Diamond) tipped it over to me and I put it in,” said Shemansky, who simply tapped it home from two feet out.
Flynn had hit the post earlier in OT for Maine after Mangene threaded the needle with a cross-ice pass.
Dumoulin gave BC a 3-2 lead 4:04 into the third period when he poked a loose puck behind
Maine goalie Dan Sullivan during a scramble created by a Bill Arnold shot.
The Bears entered the game with the nation’s third-best power play but the disciplined Eagles gave them just once chance to go on the power play until Steven Whitney’s hitting-from-behind penalty and Patrick Wey’s cross-checking penalty 15 seconds later gave Maine its chance to draw level and the Bears did.
“One of our missions was to keep Maine off the power play and we failed late,” said York. “The penalties weren’t necessary and that was the turning point in the game.”
The teams were tied up 2-2 after two periods.
BC’s Arnold and Maine’s Shemansky swapped first-period goals before Kyle Beattie’s second-period score was answered by BC’s Barry Almeida.
Arnold opened the scoring for Boston College by capitalizing on a four-on-three power play 3:20 into the game.
The Eagles appeared to extend the lead on a Chris Kreider goal at the 6:35 mark, but the goal was reviewed by referee John Gravallese, and after an extended look, it was waved off because Kreider was ruled to have directed the puck into the net with his skate.
“It was the right call,” said York.
Shemansky tied it when Beattie bumped a BC defenseman to create a turnover and Shemansky, positioned along the left-wing boards, wheeled around and fired a low wrister that slipped through the legs of the surprised Venti.
Beattie gave Maine the lead at the 2:19 mark of the second period when he fought through a check to carry the puck down the right wing in a two-on-one with Connor Leen. Beattie looked over at Leen and then snapped a 25-footer past Venti into the short-side corner.
The goal snapped a 16-game goal-less drought for Beattie.
Almeida tied it off a feed from Dumoulin of Biddeford while the Eagles were on the power play.
All-American Dumoulin had an initial pass blocked but it came right back to him at the top of the left circle and he slid a short pass across to Almeida, whose one-timer from between the faceoff circles beat Sullivan to the glove side.
Maine’s top line of Flynn between Diamond and Spencer Abbott was held without a goal for the first time in seven games but Shemansky said it is “important for the rest of us to chip in” and take the pressure off the top line.
Diamond and Flynn had assists.
“That was a big plus,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “If you had told me our top line wouldn’t score and we’d win I would have said ‘Really?”
Sullivan finished with 33 saves including 22 Grade A (high-percentage) stops. Venti finished
with 29 of which 20 were Grade-A’s.
“(Sullivan) was tremendous in the second period. We were lucky to be tied 2-2 after the period,” said Whitehead. “It was an exciting game. There were a lot of swings in momentum.”