ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine’s men’s hockey team again failed to collect its first home win Friday night at the Alfond Arena.
But the Black Bears used late-game heroics from senior right wing Joey Diamond and junior goalie Martin Ouellette to erase a 2-0 deficit and salvage a 2-2 overtime tie.
Diamond’s shorthanded goal with 7:23 left set the stage for his tying goal on the power play 4:23 later.
Ouellette preserved the tie by making a blocker save on Noel Acciari’s clean break-in with two seconds left in overtime..
Maine is now 7-14-5 overall, 3-9-5 in Hockey East, while Providence is 10-10-5 and 8-6-4.
The Black Bears are 0-8-4 at Alfond Arena this season.
“It was a good comeback,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “I loved the way we played tonight. We earned a hard-fought point against a real good team. I was pleased with how hard we fought.”
“In the beginning of this season, we probably wouldn’t have scored a goal but we’re getting better every day in practice and we’ve just to to believe in each other and realize we can play with these teams,” said Diamond.
“It’s a lot better to tie a game [than be tied],” added freshman center Devin Shore who assisted on the tying goal.
Maine rallied despite losing senior center Kyle Beattie to what Whitehead termed a “severe concussion” in the second period when Beattie absorbed a hit against the boards. It is Beattie’s third concussion of the season. He also said Beattie wound up with multiple stitches in his chin.
Mark Jankowski’s first-period goal and Derek Army’s third-period scorel gave the Friars a 2-0 lead and the Friars went on the power play with 7:42 remaining.
But Diamond scored his second shorthanded goal in four games off a breakaway after stealing the puck at the offensive blue line.
“I read the play and poked the puck free,” said Diamond who beat Providence goalie Jon Gillies with a backhander.
“I put it over his pad and under his glove,” said Diamond.
“That was a huge turning point,” said Whitehead. “Joey just wills pucks into the net.”
Diamond tied it on the power play with three minutes remaining when he parked himself in front of the PC net and deflected Shore’s wrist shot from the high slot past Gillies.
“It bounced off my pants or my knee. It went in off my body.” said Diamond. “Devin made a nice play. He showed a lot of poise. It was great shot…he was able to get it through.”
“I never saw it,” said Gillies.
Maine had scored just one power-play goal in its previous 36 chances and snapped an 0-for-20 drought.
Army had provided the Friars with a two-goal cushion 6:55 into the third period when he drove to the net off a faceoff and flipped a loose puck past Ouellette after Shore’s attempted clear to the corner hit a skate and landed on Army’s stick.
The Friars nearly stole the win in overtime when Mike Cornell lost the puck to Brandon Tanev along the left side and he fed it to a wide open Acciari cruising the middle of the slot.
“I thought I had him. I tried to go blocker side and I put it where I wanted to. But I think he got his stick on it,” said redshirt freshman center Acciari.
“He shot it quick. I just tried to be patient. I got it with my blocker,” said Ouellette.
“That’s Marty. He’s been doing that since he became our number one,” said Diamond. “He’s been unbelievable. I could go on for days about how good he is.”
Providence coach and former Black Bear and Old Town High School coach Nate Leaman called it “a point lost.”
“It’s disappointing. But you’ve got to give credit to Maine. They’re much improved,” said Leaman.,
Providence outshot Maine 33-30.
Maine will host UMass Lowell at 2 p.m. Sunday.
UMass Lowell had its 11-game unbeaten streak snapped when Merrimack beat the River Hawks 1-0 on Friday night.
Scoring chances were few and far between in the first two periods as both teams did an efficient job on the defensive side of the puck.
Providence had the better of the chances in the first period and Jankowski opened the scoring 11:07 into the first period on an odd play.
A loose puck off the stick of PC’s Nick Sarcino was rolling in on Ouellette but Jankowski, who had just come off the bench on a line change, was able to lift the stick of Maine’s Ryan Lomberg, gain custody of the puck and pull it to the goalie’s left and tuck it in before Ouellette could extend his left skate.
The Friars nearly extended the lead on two occasions.
Tim Schaller was set up nicely by Jankowski in the right wing circle but Ouellette was able to kick out Schaller’s one-timer labeled for the far corner.
A few minutes later, a PC centering pass from the right wing boards glanced off the skate of Maine defenseman Kyle Williams and hit the far post.
An evenly played second period saw both teams generate a couple of promising opportunities but the two goalies were equal to the task.
Gillies made a solid stop on Shore’s in-tight opportunity to the goalie’s left on the power play and he made his best save of the night on Mark Anthoine, who redirected Diamond’s wrister back against the grain.
Diamond’s wrister headed toward the glove side and Anthoine’s redirection sent the puck to the blocker side but Gillies reacted quickly and was able to get his right pad on the shot.
Ouellette made 18 Grade-A (high-percentage) saves among his 31 and South Portland’s Gillies had 17 Grade-A stops among his 28 in his Alfond Arena debut.