ORONO, Maine — University of Maine sophomore center Devin Shore showed Saturday night why he was a second-round draft choice of the Dallas Stars.
Shore scored a goal and set up the other three to lead Maine to a come-from-behind 4-2 win over the University of New Hampshire at Alfond Arena.
“Devin is among the elite players who have played here. He’s special,” said Maine coach Red Gendron.
Maine, 12-9-3 overall and 6-4-2 in Hockey East, is now 10-1 at Alfond Arena, which was sold out (5,125).
UNH fell to 14-13-1 and 6-6-0, respectively, and suffered its first loss in 13 games when leading after two periods. The Wildcats, who led 2-1 after the first 40 minutes, had been 12-0.
Maine had been 0-6-1 when trailing after two, including Friday night’s 3-2 loss at UNH.
“When you look at the stats of every team in Hockey East, there have been only a few games where teams have come back to win games when they were down after two periods. That’s a testament to the kids,” Gendron said. “They never stopped believing in themselves and they got it done.”
Brett Pesce’s first-period power-play goal staked UNH to a 1-0 lead but Shore answered 2:12 later.
Nick Sorkin scored against the run of play to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead in the second period before freshman defenseman Eric Schurhamer tied it up 2:29 into the third period and Ryan Lomberg scored what proved to be the game-winner 6:39 later. Brian Morgan added an empty net goal with 46 seconds left. Shore passes led to all three goals.
“I just tried to elevate my game and do my part, however big or small, to make sure we didn’t lose,” said Shore. “It was a huge test for us emotionally and physically to be down going into the third period against a really good team that knows how to hold a lead. We take a lot of pride in this rivalry and we didn’t want to lose to them in our building. We wanted to hold up our end of the rivalry at home. It means a ton to be able to pull it out.”
Shore set up Schurhamer’s tying goal as he wheeled out of right corner and put a pass on the stick of the wide open freshman defenseman at the left point.
“What can I say? Devin has great vision. He’s a great player,” said Schurhamer. “I had watched the play develop and was looking for a hole I could jump into to get a pass and take a shot. Devin and I made eye contact. He made a beautiful pass and I saw the far side open because the goalie [Casey DeSmith] was coming across.”
Shore made the play that led to Lomberg’s goal by lifting the stick of Sorkin and feeding the puck across to the right faceoff circle where Lomberg one-timed it into the short-side corner past the glove of the scrambling DeSmith.
“I had the initial shot but [Sorkin] picked up the puck on the other side of the net and was looking up ice [to make a pass]. Fortunately, he didn’t expect me to come up on him from behind. I caught him off guard and Ryan made an unbelievable shot,” said Shore.
“That goal was a killer. That was a bad turnover and [Lomberg] put it away,” said UNH coach Dick Umile.
“Coming into the third period, I thought we were in good position. But Maine came back,” added Umile.
Shore capped his night by fighting through a series of checks and pushing the puck ahead to Morgan for the empty-netter.
Pesce scored 4:16 into the game with a one-timer from the midpoint off an Eric Knodel feed. Kevin Goumas also assisted..
Shore responded by gathering his own rebound after his initial shot was blocked, taking a few strides to his left and beating DeSmith with a wrister into the far corner from the left faceoff circle.
Maine had the better of the play throughout the game, having a sizeable edge in offensive zone pressure.
But Sorkin was able to sneak free down the right wing, corral a Justin Agosta pass and rip a 30-foot wrist shot between Martin Ouellette’s pads.
“The guys played real well defensively in front of me and when I had to step up, I did OK but I obviously want that second goal back,” said Ouellette.
Ouellette finished with 23 saves of which six were of the Grade-A (high-percentage) variety including four in the third period when the Wildcats tried to rally.
DeSmith made 33 saves of which 16 were of the Grade-A variety.
Lomberg, Bear defenseman Ben Hutton and UNH’s Goumas each had two assists.